Among our friends, Zach and I are known as the early dinner eaters. We took this to a whole new level on Friday night trying to get into Pizzeria Lola.
I absolutely LOVE Pizzeria Lola—we’ve been a handful of times since they opened around Thanksgiving. The only reason we haven’t been more is because it’s challenging to get a table. The place just keeps breaking their own records.
But Friday I was determined to make it work (w/o having to wait). So, our plan was to get there when the doors opened at 5. And that, we did. And because we’re not only always on time, but generally early, we pulled into the parking lot at 4:50. I was feeling sort of lame-o about this. I mean, really, 4:50 on a Friday night for dinner? But when I love a place’s food that much, I’ll do it. I’ll stoop to such lows. We decided to save a tiny bit of face, not look super desperate, and wait in the car. Until 4:55. At which point I started to imagine a line forming at the door and got a little panicky. So there we were at 4:56, standing in front of the door on a cold February Minnesota day waiting for them to let us in, slightly embarrassed.
It gets better from here.
First, the chef / owner herself let us in, which made me slightly giddy. I wanted to tell her how much I love her restaurant, but I didn’t have the guts. (And no, her name is not Lola. Lola is her dog’s name. Not sure what her name is.)
I’ve been excited to add Lola to the blog for a while. Last time I was there, I didn’t have my camera with me, and I was bummed.
While I love the food, PL is about more than just the food. I was telling someone the other day that when I walk in there, I just get happy. The whole restaurant is just so…cohesive. Bear with me, here.
It’s slightly funky and sassy, and that is carried out across the whole restaurant. The names of the pies have some sass (My Sha-Roni!, The Lady Za Za). On every table is a Ting bottle with one brightly colored flower. They have a photo booth. They have those photo booth pics on the walls. The whole restaurant (and food) exudes the same thing: sassy funky hip-ness.
The Roasted Cauliflower with Calabrian Chili has become a favorite recently. And you know it passes the test when my anti-vegetable husband likes it (and helps me eat the cold leftovers the next day). Roasting the cauliflower brings out a nuttiness and gives it a great caramelized flavor. The chilis give it a kick. And the flat leaf on top keeps it fresh. It’s really a perfect dish. Cauliflower—a perfect dish? Yes, really.
As for the pies, I’ve already found a favorite. Meet the Hawaii Pie-O. So totally delicious. Bacon, roasted (real) pineapple, mozzarella, provolone. The provolone gives it this great almost Swiss-y taste. I’m almost drooling thinking about it again. It tastes every bit as good as it looks.
However, I decided to try the My Sha-Roni Friday night. Zach got the Hawaii Pie-O. I ended up begging him to share it with me—I had some serious food envy. I mean, the My Sha-Roni is also delicious. Red sauce, pepperoni, big juicy chunks of sausage. But the Hawaii Pie-O is where it’s at for me. Sweet and salty on a pizza. Now, that’s something.
They have an enticing list of pies that seems to include something for everyone. I have a few mushroom loving friends who always get the Forager. They just added a kimchi pizza to their menu. They have a pizza with a soft egg on top. A pizza with heavy cream in the sauce. All cooked in a wood-burning oven. The crusts are delicious—less blistered than Punch.
And they serve local Fulton beer, which I always order. I know one of the owners and I think this mere fact alone makes it taste great (for those of you who don’t know him, you’ll still like it).
We didn’t have dessert the other night, but we have in the past. I like that they’re homemade. The cookie ice cream sandwich tastes like the cookies are actually homemade ones, but they are frozen so solid that they are really hard to eat. They also have soft serve vanilla ice cream that they drizzle a bit of olive oil on with some sea salt. Great unexpected flavor. But overall, their desserts have become something I am fine passing on.
So. Starters and pies = delicious. Really really delicious. Space is great. Leads to instant good feelings. Service is fine. My only complaint: getting in. By the time we left on Friday night (5:55), there was a considerable wait. But for now, I’m smitten. And I’ll be there at 4:55.