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Thursday, September 24, 2009


Wild Truffle Pizzeria: Great Pizza and Pasta

My wife and I stopped at Wild Truffle Wood-Fired Pizzeria and Italian Bistro last Friday night. Since it's a new place in a remote east-side location, we figured it wouldn't be very crowded. Wrong! The word is out that this place has terrific food. At 7 pm, already on the late side for Appleton dining, we were told the wait would be 45 minutes. Was packed inside with a healthy group seated or standing outside. Nice! But we didn't have that kind of time, so we went to the fast and inexpensive Q'Doba instead just north of the Fox River Mall, near Noodles. Yes, I am not ashamed to say I like Q'Doba (love their pesto sauce in burritos).

I got back to Wild Truffle yesterday when I went to lunch with a local education guru. I was hoping for some kind of lunch menu, but it's the same menu as dinner, which means lunch was a but pricey - but really delicious. We tried a pizza and a pasta dish. The pizza turned out to be large enough that two could share and be OK, if not really hungry. I ordered the Wild Truffle pizza which has crimini mushrooms (wonderfully sauteed in butter), great cheese, and a little truffle oil. Very nice flavor. The crust is spectacular - something they spent weeks developing, using a mix of imported Italian flours. Very flavorful and bubbly, not thin but not too thick. Baked to perfection. They've really got the pizza making done to an art.

As for those crimini mushrooms, these might be brown Italian mushrooms or baby portobellos, but "crimini" is one of many names for common mushrooms. Wherever they came from, they were terrific. If you find out more, let me know!

The pasta was excellent. We ordered the Sweet Italian Sausage Penne, a rich, flavorful dish with finely diced tomatoes, herbs, and Italian sausage over penne (penne rigati, as I recall). Done well, but not as delightful as the pizza.

Service was excellent. The decor is very pleasant and open. Not overloaded with noise. Great place for most any occasion. But for lunch, it was a bit pricey. Just the pizza and paste (no drinks or desert) with tax and tip came to $36 and change. No problem when it's evening--I just hope they'll add some lunch specials.

Is it the best pizza in the Valley? I've heard some enthusiastic comments about this place. It just may be. What do you think?

Wild Truffle Pizzeria appears to be one of a kind - not part of a standardized chain. That may increase the risks and the learning curve, but they appear to be pretty far advanced. I wish them success!

Wild Truffle is at 5120 W. Michaels Drive, Appleton. A map is at the bottom of their home page, but it's off of McCarthy Road, which is the first street west of Casoloma if you're on College Avenue. Head north on McCarthy from College (or south from Wisconsin) and you'll see Wild Truffle in a little strip mall on the east side of the road. Turn onto Michaels Drive and you're there.

Phone: 920.733.3330. You can call to make reservations--an especially good idea if you're going on a Friday evening.
I noticed the place last weekend and went by it today and was shocked at the amount of cars parked there -- got me to thinking they are allowing a local car dealer to park extra inventory on their lot to make them appear more successful than they are. However, your testimony makes it clear this place is for real (at least for individual dining).

We'll have to check it out.
Went last night with 2 other people so a party of 3 at 7:30 on a Monday night and was greeted by a gay host with the most pissy attitude ever. Had to wait over 30 minutes to just get seated. From there it took over an hour and a half to get food and the check. Worst service I have had in years! No bar to sit and wait. No real waiting area. Wont be around long after the buzz is gone of a new place. Food was very good however.
Then we must have crossed paths because my party and I only waited about 5 minuts before being seated. We had a really good time and the staff was as wonderful as ever. My friends and I have eaten at the Wild Truffle on a number of occasions and have never had an issue with any of the staff.
I went there with a party of 4 a few weeks ago.
The service was the worst of ANY place I have been to.

We had no reservations, and were told a 40 minute wait-to sit at he counter -fine.
We got drinks and waited in the small entry by the front door.
We waited 45 minutes, and during that time, groups of 2 came in WITH NO RESERVATIONS and were seated at the counter.
after 3 groups of 2 came in with no reservations and were seated ahead of us (we were waiting an hour by then, I told the gay hostess there is no way we are waiting any longer, cancel the wait for us.

They apologized, but still made us pay for the drinks! They had no clue as to how long we were waiting even though we were right in front of the hostess at the door.
That place sucks! Service and attitude was the worst. I will never go back there and have been telling everyone I know to avoid that place.
I went to Wild Truffle last week and was very delighted with my experience. I am not sure about the other posts on here, and don't know if they were just having a bad day, but my husband and I enjoyed every bit of our meal. It was rather busy, we did not make reservations, and had to wait with a glass of wine up front, but the service was great and the food was great. I think they are just working the bumps out of the road. When I talked to the owner he indicated that they were at one point to put in a waiting area and a bar, but they cant rent the extra space. I have to give this place props due to the fact that they are giving our area a more cultured dining experience and making sure that guests are taken care of, even though they don't have the room to wait. I will make reservations next time. We will be visiting again!
I've talked to several people who have been there who say the service is not what it needs to be. Reservations are bumped. A group of friends (women) had their reservation bumped 3 times for "friends of the owner", who treated them rudely. They may have the best pizza in the world, but until they get their reservations, seating and attitude straightened out, they won't be a success.
Been there twice and had good experiences on both visits. However, our 2nd visit we purchased a bottle of wine. The waitress messed up the cork and it broke half in the bottle. Supposedly, if it's a true customer-oriented restaurant, we would have given a new bottle of wine without us even asking. But that offer was not given and the waitress just continued her service without missing a beat - as if it didn't exist. I enjoy the food and think the price was reason IF you don't order the drink. I read your recent post and thought that it's ridiculous to ask every guest to have a minion $20 order. It is disturbing and I will have a 2nd thought next time when we have a group gathering over there.
They are popular now, but I'm afraid people will soon quit going. Predict closure within 1 year.
Went to Wild Truffle last night with a group of friends and had the time of my life! one of the best meals and the best service I have had in the Fox Valley area in a long time. I disagree with a few of the posts in regards to poor service and additude. In my opinion it is a very well run establishment with very well trained staff and the management is on top of their game! Nice job!! Well done!!!
Took my parents there tonight for dinner, and I absolutely have to disagree about complaints about the food, seating, and service. This is one of the best dining experiences I have ever had in the Fox Valley, one that I could have had previously only in Milwaukee or Chicago. These people know what they are doing both in the kitchen and in the restaurant, and it was a pleasure to spend a few hours there. I look forward to visiting again.
I've just read the previous comments about Wild Truffle and find it interesting that the comments run the gamut between wonderful and awful. I've been hearing all good comments about the place, and myself and a group of friends decided to try the dining experience for ourselves. Firstly, I am amazed at the amount of people out dining on a week day, especially in a higher end eaterie. The restaurant is tiny, therein lies the issue with patrons having to wait.....and there is NO WHERE to wait for a table. There is no foyer for people to wait and no bar to relax and have a cocktail if you need to wait. We were there early on a Wednesday evening, around 6:00 pm. I would gauge the service as just OK and not outstanding. Very slow.....the place was busy and from what I could see, only two people serving. The owner was out and about chatting with patrons, which I felt is very important, especially with a new business. I cannot say enough about the food.....outstanding. Presentation is lovely! From my observations, several people were ordering the pizza, which is also very good. A nice sized pizza for one person, certainly enough to share. We also ordered two desserts to share and again, outstanding.....beautifully presented.

My overall impression is the food is outstanding.....but service needs to be brought up a few notches. This is a high-end eaterie, and prices are higher end also. (Ala-carte). Host or hostess needs to have a professional, top-notch look and attitude. Same for servers.....good service isn't good enough. People are paying top-dollar to eat here, and superior service is a MUST!!! Reservations would be a MUST, especially on the weekend. Perhaps the Wild Truffle should adopt a policy of "reservations only" so people won't be disappointed and angry when they just come in as a walk-in. I would also like to comment that most people want to thoroughly enjoy themselves when dining out.....having a fabulous dinner and relaxing, enjoying good company and good conversation.....please leave your small children and babies at home. Thank you!
Horrible!! Just terrible. I went with a group of my friends, and with no one waiting and several open tables, told us it would be over an hour wait. We waited in the front and had a glass of wine, ended up being almost and hour and a half before we were seated. After being seated, it was nearly 20 minutes before anyone came to our table. I was told by our server that the hostess had forgotten to let our server know we had been seated! The food was good, but the service and the timeing that it took to get someone to our table was unnaceptable. The owner walked around table by table to check on everything, and seemed very pompus and overbearing.... like after we waited for nearly two hours we wanted to hear about how you invented the pizza crust, we werent even eating pizza! We will never return and hope that future guest's are not forgotten about like we were, as customers will soon forget about Wild Truffle if it continues.
Tried to make reservations twice. Line was busy for hours the first time. When it was finally free there was nothing available. Tried a few weeks later, called the day before, got a machine didn't hear back so I called again around 11:30 am. The person on the phone said that she would call back within the hour. Nearly four hours later I have heard nothing. Seems like they are too busy to have much concern for new customers!
The food is typically very good and the decor is nice. Its the owner and the service.

We have had four terrible experiences with the service and simply can't reward the Wild Truffle with more business. Consumers vote with their wallets and there are many other fine choices in the Fox Cities. Specific issues:

#1 is the owner simply has no idea how to interact with human beings, let alone the basics of customer service.

Meals were served that were incorrect or someone else's. It took up to 15 minutes to bring the right dish. The others in our party had already been served. This has happened 3 times.

We checked in, went to the bar and were told 15 minutes. 30 minutes later we were seated and then waited 20 minutes for any service. After sitting at the table for an hour, the owner said they were running "behind" and it would be another 15 minute wait. He didn't offer a complimentary drink or anything. I told him I felt we should be comped for some portion of our dinner due to the poor service. His reply: "Why don't you just leave and never come back." I'm not making that up. There were witnesses including his own staff who were dumbfounded.
We went to Wild Truffle with friends. All of us had heard of the restaurant's issues with inconsistent service, but we had wonderful service from everyone but the owner!!!!My husband asked for butter to go on with his bread. He does not care for olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Our server left to get the butter. In the meantime, the owner came by to ask if we were enjoying our appetizer. Oh, and by the way, he was sorry, but there is no butter in the restaurant. None. Really? Right after he left our table, we smelled butter melting from the kitchen right behind us. If he does not want butter on the table, compromising his vision for the restaurant, that is one thing. But, lying to a customer is absolutely the wrong approach. Our meals were outstanding and our server was very attentive, but when the owner pretends to be checking on the experience of his patrons and blatantly lies, that's not ok. There are too many new and exciting dining options in the Valley.
Something is in the air at this place and I think I put my finger on it………….

pom·pous // (pmps) adj. 1. Characterized by excessive self-esteem or exaggerated dignity; pretentious: pompous officials who enjoy giving orders. 2. Full of high-sounding phrases; bombastic: a pompous proclamation. 3. characterized by pomp or stately display; ceremonious: a pompous occasion.

yeah, yeah that’s the ticket.

I did love this place but have grown to dislike eating here, not just for the newer priced food but the over-the-top we think we are something we are not service, sheesh!! you are in Appleton WISCONSIN, not NY or LA.

Oh and the $8.50 sweet italian sausage sandwich that I had was over cooked and had a whole whopping tablespoon of sausage in it and was pretty lame. Would it have killed ya to put maybe a whole sausage in it not just those three or four bits of sausage? Oh yeah, tax on beer? really??? every other place I have been tax is included in the price of the beer, not here kiddies!

Rant over. Make sure you get a reservation on friday or saturday to go here or lest ye be banished to the bar or outside while you sit and stare at the open tables during the entire time you eat.
I think everyone can agree on the owner/service/good food.

Some how this restaurant gets away without having an exhaust hood, like any other restaurant in town has. The problem is, its an open kitchen. Have you ever noticed how 2 days after eating there, your coat, clothes, or perhaps your entire home smells like a restaurant kitchen(wild truffle kitchen)... Its awful!

I think I might have to open a restaurant next door. If they can be that busy with moderate food, horrible service, and an unprofessional owner, I'm sure anyone in town could be more successful than the stinky truffle.

Two Thumbs Down
Horrible, horrible owner. I would not support this place if it was the only place in the world with food. I have spoken with many previous employees, and use to be a regular customer. Marc (the owner) seems to think that people dont matter, and that creating a work enviroment that is constant pins and needles is acceptable. When you create a horrible workplace, it reflects in the service that your employees give, and that is what he has done. Thinking you are above the law because you have money will eventually catch up with you, and ripping people off by saying you use fresh ingredients flown in from another state and it is really a product of Sysco food service will also catch up with you. I just hope that no other people in the Fox Valley are hurt in the line of employment with this man. He has ruined so many lives, and will continue to do so until the days the doors close. Do not go and pay for the food here, it is all a product of a person who is a con artist that says he is a graduate of ACI and, in fact never graduated. Steal peoples ideas and put them on your menu, thats classy. I spent alot of money when this place had quality service and products, but that streamline left a long time ago, as have I. Go to Carmellas, where many of Wild Truffles previous employees now work!
We just had a team dinner there (32 people) and the service was phenomenal. Our glasses were never empty and the food was served fast.

We preordered our food because we were such a large group and they did were so accommodating to any requests we may have had.

Definitely recommend to others.
I have frequented the WIld Truffle many times over the last year. The food is inconsistent. The pizza crust is often overdone, or tough and very flat. WHen it is done correctly, it is super. The pasta is overcooked instead of ardent as it should be and many times comes swimming in sauce instead of complimented by the sauce. The bread, many times tastes and feels stale and is dry and unpalatable. The seafood is sometimes good but sometimes not. I have also noticed a rapid turnover in staff and watched the disrespect with which the staff is treated. I feel that this place has great potential but grew too fast to do the fact that there are very few places in the Appleton area for different better quality food. If there was competition, this place would go under. Also, I find it hard to support someone who is so disrespectful of others and feels his staff is expendable. Carmelas has better pasta and better consistency in the quality of the food that is served. However, there is no place in our area that serves artisan pizza. The owner/operator needs to learn people skills and keep staff to insure more consistency in the product that is put out. In the last month, it has been better than it has been since it opened.
I have been to this establishment many times. The food is inconsistent and the service is very unfriendly. The owner is very insincere and someone I would like to see recede to the background. I feel the only reason this place is still in business is there is very little competition in this area. We have mostly chains and clamor for better food, However, since April, the pizza has been outstanding, There is something definitely different about the crust of the pizza and the way it is cooked. The bread is no longer tough or possessing the left over quality. The atmosphere, however, is still caustic and toxic, The staff is not happy and i strongly suspect it is because the owner is an overbearing control freak who needs a big attitude adjustment. Camellas. It is a shame Carmellas does not doe artisan pizza. IT would put the truffle to shame.
I think it is obvious by past comments on here and if you have ever been unfortunate enough to have met the owner that the recent charges brought against him by the Appleton Police are true. You couldn't pay me to eat there and give this my hard earned money to a creep like this.
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