Cannoli Joe’s

If you’re ever in Austin and in the mood for thirty-seven pounds of fresh Italian food, you can’t go wrong with Cannoli Joe’s. Opened by the folks who run The County Line BBQ, Cannoli Joe’s takes the concept of “buffet” to a whole new level.

If you’re like me, the term “buffet” (especially when combined with the terms “inexpensive” or “all you can eat”) doesn’t conjure up the most savory images. If you’re like me, you probably think of semi-warm foods aging ungracefully under sneeze guards, typically in colors ranging from brown to light brown. Even the Jell-O is often brown.

So I was pleasantly surprised by Cannoli Joe’s. They say a picture is worth a thousand words, so please click here to view twenty-one thousand words worth. Come on back when you’re done.

While the decor is certainly beautiful, what amazed me most was the variety of food. Now I wouldn’t say it’s absolutely the most spectacular Italian food you’ll ever encounter, but it is quite good, and you’d be hard-pressed to leave the place feeling hungry. They have the basics: pizza, pasta, soups, and salads, but they have all sorts of other things a picky eater like me would never touch. (My favorite vegetable is cheese, so that gives you an idea of the things I might avoid like in an extensive buffet like this. You, the normal eater, would probably love these other things.)

The only downside is, of course, the entire “all you can eat” part of it. And believe me, I’m definitely in the “all you can” camp. Two personality traits of mine ensure this: 1) I believe it’s rude and slobbish to just take food and not eat it; and 2) I believe you should get every single penny’s worth and then some. Trait #1 forces me to not only clean my plate but the plates of everyone within an eight foot radius of me. Trait #2 forces me back to the dessert table two or three times, even when I’m already stuffed to the point of refusing a wafer-thin mint.

So now if you ever visit (or already live in) Austin, you have two places to go. Home Slice Pizza first, followed by Cannoli Joe’s second. I do not recommend visiting both in the same day, so make sure you schedule a trip to McDonald’s in between to cleanse your Italian palate.

14 Responses to “Cannoli Joe’s”

Mara @ What's For Dinner? said
February 20, 2009 at 5:18 am

That place really does look fantastic!

So apparently, my work best friend’s sister works with your sister… small world, eh?

Tom Rooney said
February 20, 2009 at 5:51 am

Sounds like a great place Charlie and love the “Meaning of Life” reference.

Rude of me to give plug, but a giveaway on my blog today.

maggieapril said
February 20, 2009 at 6:00 am

The pictures were a tease. Way too much dining room, way too little food. I am so glad that restaurant is not in my town!!!

Biz said
February 20, 2009 at 6:43 am

Yum! I can’t even remember the last time I was even at a buffet! And an Italian one to boot – I’d be stuffed with pizza!

Charlie – go to if you have time today – yesterday she made fried squeaky cheese! It looked incredible.

Meg said
February 20, 2009 at 6:52 am

Sounds like a great place. I wonder if I have been there. The pics looked familiar to me.

Lucrecia said
February 20, 2009 at 7:56 am

Glad I live 60 minutes to the south so I can’t be tempted! Italian food has become way too over priced, so we aren’t tempted by the few places we have here!

Quix said
February 20, 2009 at 9:48 am

Ugh, I’ve been trying to ignore this place because it sounds so damn tempting. However, I think I know where we have to take my Dad for his birthday because he loves both Italian food and buffets. Oddly enough, the man is quite fit and skinny – he’ll eat like a champ at a buffet and then not much else for 2 days after. He’s like a camel, but with food.

Lee said
February 20, 2009 at 10:43 am

I’m heading to Austin in a couple weeks and wish to God I didn’t know this place existed. Or Home Slice Pizza. Funny how you never post about Whole Foods or the great vegetarian restaurants…

Charlie said
February 20, 2009 at 11:14 am

Whole Foods? Great vegetarian restaurants? Hmmm…. never heard of such places.


Helen said
February 20, 2009 at 1:22 pm

This place would be like crack for me. I need to stay far, far away from Austin, TX.

Jess said
February 20, 2009 at 1:50 pm

I’ve been afraid to try this place because it might cause me to spontaneously combust.

Nick said
February 22, 2009 at 7:09 pm

I feel the same way about buffets. They are dangerous for my well being but when a buffet is actually good? Then you truly have no choice but to over-indulge.

Jennifer said
February 23, 2009 at 9:54 am

I looks a lot better than the Old Country Buffet!

I would always see very overweight people going in and out of there.

Charlie, I am like you, I would get my money’s worth.

Good thing I live far away from that!

Anonymous said
March 30, 2009 at 6:36 am

I’m 57 years old and a pure bred Italian and I’ll tell you one thing about Canolli Joe’s: IT AIN’T ITALIAN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Italian food is alive with spice and flavor. Canolli Joe’s is bland and tasteless. I found two things in the joint acceptable: the pizza and the ice cream. For 16 bucks a head, a expected a whole lot more than that.