Cuchi Guidos

Brent Finnegan -- January 22nd, 2010

Chuchi Guidos HarrisonburgA new establishment is bringing a little piece of New Jersey to downtown Harrisonburg. Cuchi Guidos will serve up Brooklyn style pizza, Philly cheesesteaks, and Jersey hoagies.

The eatery had their soft opening today.

The menu claims that Cuchi Guidos is the first joint south of the Mason-Dixon line to serve real panzarotti. According to Wikipedia:

It consists of a pocket of dough filled with varying amounts of melted mozzarella cheese, tomato sauce, and any reasonable number of fillings, which is then wrapped, salted, and baked. The panzarotti rises during this process, creating a pocket containing a considerable amount of steam which should be partially released prior to eating.

There has already been much discussion about name of restaurant (read halfway down the comments here). Many find both “cuchi” and “guido” offensive.

There’s currently an ad on Craigslist, recruiting models for a 2011 “Cuchi girls” calendar. Radio ads and pizza boxes for Cuchi Guidos include the tagline, “everybody wants a little Cuchi.”

Well, do you?

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93 Responses to “Cuchi Guidos”

  1. megan says:

    Count me out.

  2. Josh says:

    That’s not their only CL ad…

    Girl Band or Band with girl lead singer needed for brand new restaur
    http://harrisonburg.craigslist.org/tlg/1545325488.html

  3. katie hudson says:

    Looking forward to reviewing this for my blog next week. I am especially excited to see if the pizza is truly “BK style.”

  4. Olivia says:

    Nope.

  5. This is Virginia. If I wanted a little piece of New Jersey I’d go to Waynesboro and and fish downwind of the DuPont plant. And if I wanted a little ‘Coochy’ I’d drive over to West Virginia where they will do anything for a stiff drink and $5 USD.

  6. Drew Richard says:

    Stopped by for lunch because I was curious about the food. Pretty good crowd for the first day. Owner seems to be pretty passionate about the place, but it ended up being extremely unorganized and a mess the first day. Took over half hour to get a cheesesteak for takeout. Saw two people quit or get fired. They ran out of the panzerotti and cheesesteak stuff by 1pm. I got one of the last cheesesteaks and it was actually pretty good. Kinda interested in trying the 28″ pizza. As stated in the other thread, I’m NOT a fan of their advertising, but I love a good cheesesteak and good pizza, so I’m still up in the air about it. If they get things organized I might go back sometime to try the pizza. Seemed to have a pretty extensive menu. It’s hard to argue when the place is a block and a half from where I work.

  7. Joey Groah says:

    Our office is curious about it, we like so many of the downtown restaurants.

    Drew, what was the cheesesteak like? Velveeta kind of cheese?

    I’m curious about the “Brooklyn Style” pizza too. Does that mean “coal oven” and “big slices?” Admittedly only had coal oven pizza in New York, and it wasn’t in Brooklyn. Most of my pizza info comes from http://slice.seriouseats.com/

  8. Jamie Smith says:

    I always check Craig’s List before I eat in a new restaurant, too. It can tell you a lot about the food. Cuchi is a town in Angola among other things. Not to be confused with cootchie, as in hootchie-cootchie. As someone has already pointed out, Guido is a proper name. Let’s lighten up and give them a chance. I am interested in Ms. Hudson’s take. She seems to be very good at this.

  9. Kel says:

    Just curious… anyone ask the owner what Cuchi Guidos means? As Jamie said give them a chance; and why not ask the question.

  10. Judy Morehouse posted a review here.

  11. David Miller says:

    Kel

    I’m just over caring, I don’t like it but who really cares.

  12. Paul says:

    Cucina (koo-CHEE-nah) is kitchen in Italian. Perhaps cuchi is some sort of derivative.

  13. Lowell Fulk says:

    No Paul, it MUST be something nefarious… The fate of the free world may well hang in the balance.

    To take David’s sentiment a step further, I simply don’t care about such trivial things on a good day…

    My best wishes to Cuchi Guidos for a successful business.

  14. I have not been there, but Harrisonburg could use a good Philly cheesesteak, so I hope them the best.

    I also think people should put this name issue aside. I had never heard that “Guido” was viewed as insulting, and it is certainly a proper last name in Italy. “Cuchi” is a bit odd (especially in conjunction with the push for a girl band), but I am willing to buy that it is short for “cucina,” that is “kitchen,” although calling it “Guido’s cuchi” might have made that more definitive.

    Regarding the last name, so some people view that as a derogatory term for Italians. But the owners are apparently Italian, so one cannot assume that they are mocking or sneering at themselves. I would note that “Mick” is sometimes viewed as a derogatory term for Irishmen, and it is a common nickname among the Irish. But, I have seen pubs named “Mick’s” and doubt that the owners viewed themselves as insulting the Irish, indeed, quite the opposite. I think this is equivalent; so time to lay off all the sniping over the name. Judge them on their food and service (and atmosphere) and have done with the rest.

  15. Katie Hudson says:

    Woah, there is so much buzz about this place. I will be reviewing it either tomorrow evening or Wednesday. Looking forward to it…

  16. Andy Eblin says:

    Planning on giving this a shot here at some point, and I’m a bit amused by all the concern over the name. I would have to imagine that what the restaurant serves is a bit important than what it’s called.

    At any rate, I do wonder if Harrisonburg isn’t close to reaching critical mass as far as pizza joints are concerned. I didn’t ever get around to visiting Luigi’s, but it seems odd to open a restaurant filling exactly the same niche in a location where one failed previously.

  17. Josh says:

    The Breeze posted a review:

    Cuchi Guidos Serves up a Slice of Jersey
    http://breezejmu.org/2010/01/25/cuchi-guidos-serves-up-a-slice-of-jersey/

  18. Andy,

    What makes the place different from the other pizza joints is that it has things like Philly cheesesteaks. I am unaware of any other place in town with those (and apparently they were so popular, they ran out of them the first day).

  19. Josh says:

    If we use our southern neighbor Pizza Town aka Bridgewater as a model for maximum pizza density, we have a ways to go. :)

  20. Drew Richard says:

    Barkley,

    While it does seem Cuchi Guido’s has a larger menu, don’t forget that both Ciro’s and Franco’s both have cheesesteaks. Not saying their quality is better or worse, just making sure everyone remembers Little Ceasars and Dominos aren’t the only pizza places in town :)

  21. I stand corrected. Like Ciro’s for pizza. Never noticed they had the cheesesteaks.

  22. Andy says:

    Let’s get the negatives out of the way first:

    1- A “panzarotti” is basically a glorified Hot Pocket. Imagine deep-fried pizza dough filled with liquid cheese and you’ve imagined a panzarotti.

    2- No one likes to be served by an eight year-old kid.

    On a more positive note, the pizza is much better than Luigi’s pizza, and it’s nice to have a pizza place downtown.

  23. Andy Eblin says:

    Ah, my mistake then. In that case, if they’re turning out good cheesestakes, they’ll probably do quite well! Good to hear.

    As to the Panzarotti, Judy’s review gave it less than stellar marks. Has anyone else tried it? I’m intrigued.

  24. Jen says:

    Went in yesterday with a coworker to get take-out. They’re still doing a limited menu this week. I got the Italian Lovers hoagie, which is the closest to a real hoagie, and it wasn’t bad. It was on their baked bread, not the Amoroso roll, and it was tasty but not exactly right (picky Philly eater here). Coworker got the mushroom panzarotti. Before he ordered, he asked how big they were, head cook held up both hands apart from each other and said “it’s this big, it’s stuffed, plenty of food”. Well, when we got it, it was clearly half the size of what the guy said it would be. Like someone above said, it’s a glorified Hot Pocket. Not sure why you would want to deep fry something like that instead of bake it when you’ve got the ovens right there.

    Also, it seems that every server has to give their order to one guy who enters them in the computer before they go to the cooks. Big bottleneck right there.

    And I know I’m beating a dead horse here, but if, as someone reported the owner saying, the name means “little (cuchi) old italian man(guido)” then why on earth do all their pizza boxes say “Everyone needs a little Cuchi”? Doesn’t really fit with that interpretation!

  25. David Miller says:

    I cannot imagine the headaches involved in opening a restaurant, I was in on Sat for takeout steak and cheese and do not envy the owners for the work of opening a restaurant. A restaurant would kill me. I’m glad that they are downtown and the food was good (though the cheese whiz + Mayo+ steak combo shortened my life-span).

  26. I’m hoping to try this place out in a week or two, whenever I find myself back in Harrisonburg. My wife and I have both wanted a “real” Philly cheesesteak (not the imitations most restaurants offer), and I would like to find a good pizza place as well.

    I’m surprised at how many people are all offended at a “hot girls” calendar. This is not anything new, nor is it anything to get offended over. It’s just simple marketing aimed towards the college-aged/young-bachelor crowd that will spend copious amounts of money in a place like Cuchi Guido’s. Smart, if you ask me.

    The reviews seem split down the middle, so I guess I’ll just have to go and decide for myself.

  27. Morgan Brookes says:

    i say cut them a break the foods great and the place classy. Forget the name and EAT!

  28. Annie Layne says:

    Dear Frank and Company of Franco’s Pizza of Harrisonburg Crossing:

    Ever since you opened shop at Hburg Crossing and tasted the perfection that you create, the pizza that reminds me of being home in Brooklyn; I always hoped that you would open up shop down town in Harrisonburg. Your crust is thin, sauce perfect and your cheese melty. Your calzones (baked!) bring a sentimental tear to my eye. Your service is friendly and your pepperoni rolls are so good I could wear a pair like earrings.

    In all the years I have patronized your shop, its delicious smells wafting into the world’s most impossible parking lot which I brave just to sample your superior pizza making skills, I hoped, and dropped hints, that you might open downtown.
    There was even a space with pizza ovens, all for you.

    I cannot, and will not hand over my cash to an establishment named ‘cuchi guido’. I don’t care how good they might be (even if they figure out how to handle the lunch rush and are a mere block from my office). I will not eat at an establishment with a name that even in crude slang refers to lady parts (and don’t get me started on ‘guido’- do a google image search…) and wants to make a calendar of more lady parts.

    I will battle my way to find a parking spot in Harrisonburg Crossing for you. I hope that you will one day reconsider opening a downtown branch where I might get a slice with mushrooms for lunch that fills my belly and feeds my soul with your wamth and talent for *real Italian food via Brooklyn the way I love it in America*.

    Frank, since you opened it has been a pleaure knowing you and eating the food you and your staff create. Thank you for making me and everyone I know comfortable and welcome in your establishment. I left Brooklyn in 1999, but when I step through your doors, I am at home, and so are the people that have never seen Italy or Brooklyn, and all those people that might not even know the difference. Thank you for excellent food, service and being part of my community. However, if you ever asked me to be part of the ‘Ladies of Franco’s 2011’ calendar, I’d damage you with yourr very own lasagna slice.

    Respectfully,
    Annie Layne

  29. Annie Layne says:

    Also, be aware that there is a new ‘tattoo/piercing/hair’ place trying to open up in the old Quillen Optical spot in the Keezle building on Newman.

    I’m a heavily tattooed lady. Cleanliness/sanitation/sterility DO NOT EVER go hand in hand with a joint that does hair.

  30. Katie Hudson’s blog has a very positive and detailed review of Cuchi Guidos, with pictures. Looks like I will be checking them out soon.

  31. Katie Hudson says:

    Thanks Phil! Glad you enjoyed it!

  32. I’m with Annie on Franco’s. My favorite place to grab a quick slice, even if it is in Harrisonburg Crossing.

  33. First of all, I’m still baffled by the number of people who think a calendar of “hot girls” promoting an establishment is so awful. I’d have no problem if they did the same with a bunch of “hot guys” and sold those, too. You don’t have to buy the calendar if you eat there, so I don’t get the big issue.

    Honestly, it’s not a new tactic for promotional purposes. The prudeness shown by so many towards something that is honestly rather innocuous surprises me. I guess that’s just my opinion differing from others.

    As for “best pizza”, I will still find my way up to the ORIGINAL Ledo Restaurant in Adelphi, Maryland. Best pizza ever, as it beats anything I’ve had in either Chicago or New York.

  34. So, one new place (an instance of a chain, no less…) that’s supposed to simulate New Jersey, and another like two blocks away that’s supposed to simulate Brooklyn… What’s up with this? Is it not possible for the Burg to develop its own personality? Which one would expect would be rooted in Virginia.

    I mean, jeez, it’s great to have places like Indian and American Cafe, and Del Sol, and so forth…but something about these Yankee-themed restaurants really puts me off. What’s alluring about having restaurants with some kind of theme associated with other parts of our own country? What’s interesting or cool about that? And, I mean, we’re not even talking, say, Arizona or Texas or any such at least semi-interesting place…but New Jersey.

    I fully acknowledge that this is a weird, largely inchoate and possibly irrational reaction that I may have to purge/correct upon reflection…but there it is, FWIW.

  35. eso says:

    I was by there today around lunch. They had a sign on the door, “Computer down, come back later.” So I didn’t get to try them.

  36. Morgan Brookes says:

    I asked the owner and Cuchi Guidos means Little Men. And the reason 4 the kids its a family buissness. So cut them some slack! By the way my fav The Lauren Sophia and The Gabby I suggest. The Comedy is GOLD and the music is perfect.If you want real italin come to CUCHI GUIDOS!!!!!

  37. Morgan Brookes says:

    Anyother comments add them and i’ll try 2 answer.

  38. Emmy says:

    The calendar really doesn’t bother me, the name doesn’t personally offend me and I’ve heard the food is good. I’ll give them some time to work the kinks out and then give them a try.

  39. Morgan Brookes says:

    Dear Emmy,

    What’s wrong with the name? One of the owners are italin. Why would they offend their own culture? I asked the owner and Cuchi Guido means cute little boy.

  40. Morgan Brookes says:

    Sorry Emmy my 10 year old sister stole my lap-top and wrote that.

  41. Winston…given the plethora of “home style cookin'” restaurants in the area, the Burg has developed it’s own personality. Don’t get me wrong, I like down-home food, but variety is the spice of life.

  42. Annie Layne,

    I did the google search. What I got is that “guido” means a kind of roughneck, young, working class Italian male, not necessarily Mafia, and nothing about any body parts. While some people view it as insulting, many view it favorably and use it to describe themselves. I think you are absurdly overdoing it with your huffing and puffing outrage.

    Of course, Franco’s may have better food than CG’s, and it may well have a more authentic Brooklyn atmosphere than CG’s (I have not been in either of them). But then CG’s advertises itself as a Philadelphia/New Jersey atmosphere (with the owners from Camden, NJ across the Delaware River from Philly), so they are not making any claims about a Brooklyn atmosphere.

  43. seth says:

    being my argumentative self :)….

    i thought the accepted metric of whether something is offensive or not has much more to do with whether people take offense and much less to do with whether offensiveness is the intention (see a not too distant thread about a flag or something)

  44. seth,

    OK, I’ll argue back. I do not think your comparison holds much water. We need to think about groups being offended and groups doing the offending.

    So, let us start with the BHS flag issue. Keep in mind that the “Confederate flag” is not a historically accurate item, but a madeup phoney from many years after the Civil War, cobbled together out of several flags that served as battle flags. Let us also keep in mind that it has long served (and still does) as the symbol of the openly and unremittingly racist KKK. Many white southerners who like to fly it claim that it is not a symbol of racism, but of southern white culture. Most African-Americans disagree, although I did see a report on one black in SC who defended the right of white southerners to fly it. The most cogent claim for its respectability seemed to come from the fact that it was flown by some troops in WW II. However, that was a period during which racial segregation remained fully in place in the South, so cannot be claimed to be free of racist taint as a result. Those who want to display iit (white southerners) are not the group most offended by its display (African Americans), and during the debate here some self-identified African Americans expressed their serious unhappiness about its display.

    Pivot now to this matter of “Guido” as a possibly offensive term for Italian-Americans and whether this made it inappropriate for a restaurant name in Harrisonburg. Presumably the group that should be offended is Italian-Americans. However, in this case, unlike the BHS one, the name is being used by a member (or members) of the group that is supposed to be offended by its use. Furthermore, I have not seen any of the people complaining here about it identifying themselves as Italian-Americans, and looking at the names of the complainers none of them seem to be Italian, although of course some of these folks might have Italian ancestry.

    In my checking, it seems that the idea that this name is offensive is of very recent origin, mostly associated with the TV show, Jersey Shore. While some established Italian-American groups have objected to it, many Italian-Americans seem to be proud of it and use it. It was not used in the period of what was probably the worst anti-Italian prejudice in the US, back in the 1920s, when many saw the Sacco-Vanzetti trial as an expression of such prejudice (there is a long list of derogatory terms that do date back to then). It certainly is not associated with any outright persecution or discrimination, whereas the KKK flag most definitely was and has been for African Americans, with many being lynched by people bearing it. Sorry, there is no comparison.

    BTW, this phenomenon of non-Italians getting all bent out over the use of the term by someone in the group who is supposed to be offended by its use reminds me of the matter of “Native American” versus “Indian.” While Indians complain about such names as “the Redskins,” the movement against “Indian” was spearheaded by white academics, with a majority of Indians preferring to be called the latter, after their tribal identity. Indeed, the old radical group of the 1970s was the American Indian Movement. Oh well.

  45. seth,

    Oh, and just to really hammer home how different the two cases are, the real problem at BHS was not the flag display (the right to do many of us supported), but the openly abusive verbal commentary the displayers were engaging in against African American students at the school.

    Needless to say, we have not heard of either the owners or patrons of Cuchi Guido’s hanging out on the street verbally abusing suspected Italian Americans. Again, there really is no parallel, although perhaps you were only joking.

  46. seth says:

    well said

  47. Emmy says:

    I couldn’t help but think of this post when my son was perusing a display of toy cars from the movie Cars and I saw the little car named Guido.

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