As part of lefty’s big win for Best Comment in 2011, he was able to choose a restaurant to eat to celebrate his win. He decided to choose Chapter&Verse’s favorite dining spot, Pizzeria Lola in Minneapolis. Known for their unique wood-fired pizzas and long waits, we headed off on Thursday night and arrived just after they opened at 5 PM to a slew of people waiting in their cars for the doors to open.
We were promptly seated at a table and a highchair was brought over for The Rooster. Our friendly server took our drink orders and gave us some time to look over the menu and chat. After taking too much time to order pizzas we went with the mixed olives and the roasted cauliflower appetizers, The Iowan, Old Reliable and Lady ZaZa pizzas. A child’s milk and a root beer float rounded out our order.
The olives ($4) were out first with the cauliflower up soon after. The olives were a nice mix and had good flavor and a nice and meaty starter. The cauliflower ($8) was beautifully roasted with a nice char. The Calabrian chilies were tart and provided just the right amount of heat when they were available. Unfortunately there was about two tablespoons too few for my liking. While I plan to recreate this dish in my own home, I have to admit that at $8 I think this dish was overpriced by 100%.
Our pizzas were out soon after and while I knew from reviews that they were somewhere between Punch and Black Sheep I have to admit I was a bit taken back by just how small they actually were. The Wife ordered an Old Reliable ($10) which includes the house red sauce, mozzarella & pecorino cheeses. Looking very much like a NY style pie with a crisp crust at the edges and perfectly done in the middle, the one slice I tried was quite tasty. I noted, possibly more than once, that if this pie had been several inches in diameter larger I would visit Lola often as the pizza reminded me of my favorite pies growing up.
Lefty ordered the Lady ZaZa ($15) which is described as including “house-made Korean sausage with kimchi, serrano peppers, soy chili glaze, scallions and sesame oil,” a pie which I admit was my first choice due to the kimchi and chilies. The ingredients were fresh and the flavors clear and distinct. However I didn’t taste the sausage or the spice from the chilies and the kimchi, while a very dynamic item, didn’t have enough spice or brine for my tastes. Overall I shouldn’t have judged a book by its cover because this one missed the mark for me.
The Iowan ($15) includes “La Quercia Prosciutto, ricotta, mozzarella, roasted garlic and arugula.” The ricotta was great and I admit I have a crush on all pies made with it. As you can see from the photo the arugula was plentiful and on closer inspection you would have noticed a good bit of prosciutto. Unfortunately while visually excellent, aside from the tasty ricotta making this a decent pie all itself, I was unimpressed with both the arugula and the prosciutto as the greens weren’t spicy and the prosciutto carried not enough flavor to overcome the other ingredients.
The Wife noted that her $5 root beer float was fine, nothing special and certainly not worth the hefty price tag. While I really wanted to take a taste of Lola’s homemade soft-serve ice cream, it was not in the cards as The Rooster was on the edge of an episode and our checks arrived at the table soon after.
When it was all said and done for a milk, a root beer float, two personal pizzas, and a plate of cauliflower came to an utterly ridiculous $43.11 before tax and that didn’t include lefty’s own pie, appetizer and drink. The Wife later commented in the car that she was shocked at the number of large families walking through the door to eat at Lola last evening. I don’t know about you but we don’t find $43 an acceptable price for personal pizzas when options like Punch and Black Sheep exist offering either far less expensive pies or far larger pies for the same amount of money and quality.
Overall, I really think that Pizzeria Lola has some interesting pies with good ingredients. Unfortunately for me they weren’t on target 100% and they’re priced about twice as much as I know they’re worth. For my money I find Black Sheep far superior in every way and even though I had a lot of love for the Old Reliable, it’s just not a pie I’ll be likely to see ever again.
Have you ever been to Pizzeria Lola in Minneapolis? If so what did you think? What did you order and how did it compare to other similar shops around town? Do you think that $15 is too much for a personal-sized pie? Whatever you have to say about Pizza Lola go ahead and comment on as I’d love to hear your thoughts.
5557 Xerxes Ave S
Minneapolis, MN 55410
Monday to Thursday: 5 PM to 10 PM
Friday: 5 PM to 11 PM
Saturday: 11 AM to 11 PM
Sunday: 11 AM to 10 PM
See all the pictures from Pizzeria Lola on Flickr here.