For The Locals – Luigi’s Pizza

Here are a few things you should know before we get started:

  1. I really love pizza.
  2. I grew up eating some of the best pizza in the country and I am of the opinion that the best style is, hands down, New York Style pizza.  You’re welcome to your wrong opinion about another style being better, but for me, NYS is king.
  3. Since November of 2016, BP and I have committed to the LCHF (that’s Low Carb High Fat) lifestyle in an attempt to get healthier; it’s the best plan for my particular health-needs and BP’s enthusiastically on board.  We’re not super strict about it, for the most part, opting for an 80/20 method where 80% of the time we follow the LCHF guidelines and allow for splurges during the 20% of the time, provided we can agree that it’s worth it.  The downside (for me at least, BP’s got a gut made of iron) is that this allowance, while satisfying, can also be hard on my digestive system, so I have to really want the splurge in order to go for it.

With all that said, when I find a new-to-me pizza place close to home, it isn’t long before I start dreaming of the perfect pie… Will I find it?  In California, of all places?  Probably not, but I’m determined to try!

Which brings me to Luigi’s.  I’d seen it before in researching pizza options, but it wasn’t until I read a review in a local publication—Modesto View—that I decided to pull the trigger and go for a visit myself.  The review from Modesto View was a glowing one, and Luigi’s boasts a 4.5/5 star review both on Facebook and Yelp, so I was indeed hopeful for a decent pie.

Some reviewers have expressed concerns about the location, but during my visit in the earlier afternoon in the middle of the week, I found that that wasn’t really a concern; it seemed perfectly fine to me.  If that is a concern, it’s worth noting that they do offer delivery in a 2-mile radius, and because the inside has quite a small seating area, you’re probably better off getting your order to go (but only if you’re concerned about the location).  BP and I had a really nice experience dining in though.

The restaurant itself is small, with only a handful of tables and a counter-top area with a few high-top chairs.  It’s very tidy though and the glass partition between the customers and the food prep area makes it feel very open and allows you to watch your pizza (and other eats) during their construction.  The customer service is fantastic!  Seriously, the woman who waited on us was so welcoming, and patient, while we decided on what to try; though they only have a few suggested topping combinations, you can also build your own pie; you can also add a salad, bread sticks, garlic cheesy stuffed bread balls, and wings.  BP and I opted for the original ‘garlic butter’ crust with the veggie-vegetarian topping (onions, bell peppers, olives, mushrooms, and tomatoes) though we opted to remove the bell peppers out of personal preference.  We also ordered a salad because while the spirit wants to devour half of a pizza, the body demands some greenage to keep things from spiraling out of control.

So let’s talk about this salad.  Because it’s beautiful.

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All of the ingredients were fresh and crisp and I promise you there was indeed a pile of romaine under the bacon and croutons.  Other toppings include onions and olives and tomatoes, fresh Parmesan.  My favorite touch was the fact that the woman making our salad warmed up the bacon in the (most beautiful) brick oven so that the bacon would be warm and crisp, a delightful contrast to the cool salad ingredients.

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I’m all about beautiful, well-loved pizza ovens.  This one has stood in this location for over 50 years—impressive to say the least.

But what about the pizza? Was it the NYS pizza of your dreams?  The most perfect pie in the west?  Well, no.  BUT (and a very big BUT at that) it was pretty dang close.  Luigi’s offers pies in style of ‘San Francisco Style’ which, despite quite a bit of research, I couldn’t exactly nail down what that entailed.  I’m assuming that ‘San Francisco Style’ is attributed to the garlic-butter crust (more on this in a minute) but also maybe just a variation of the idea of ‘California Style.’  For those of you who didn’t grow up eating West Coast pizza, Wikipedia defines ‘California Style’ as:

California-style pizza (also known as California pizza or Gourmet pizza) is a style of single-serving pizza that combines New York and Italian thin crust with toppings from the California cuisine cooking style. Its invention is generally attributed to chef Ed LaDou, and Chez Panisse, in Berkeley, California. Wolfgang Puck, after meeting LaDou, popularized the style of pizza in the rest of the country.[1] It is served in a number of California Cuisine restaurants. Such restaurant chains as California Pizza Kitchen, Extreme Pizza, and Sammy’s Woodfired Pizza are three major pizza franchises associated with California-style pizza. Nancy Silverton’s Pizzeria Mozza is also a popular California-style pizza restaurant in Los Angeles.

Like I said, it could also be attributed to the garlic-butter crust, though I think the above definition is probably more likely.  But the garlic-butter crust is pure magic.  When making the pie, before the dough is topped, garlic butter is laid down around the outer edge, which is quickly folded over and kind of crimped to form a raised crust.  This means, after devouring the topping-laden portion, you’re treated to a most succulent and amazing bread stick at the end; it is truly a waste to dip such a flavorful bite in the complimentary ranch dressing.  Just close your eyes and enjoy the buttery, garlicky succulence.  Trust me on this.

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As far as pricing goes, I found the prices to be really reasonable, given the quality.  For the 14″ specialty pizza, a salad, and a can of Squirt! soda, our total came out to about $33.00 and fed both BP and I for lunch and we had leftovers for dinner that night (though we did end up nibbling on some other fridge leftovers to round out the whole evening meal).  We would’ve spent around the same amount for delivery pizza from the more well-known chain options, especially after tax/delivery fee/tip but this was definitely better in terms of taste and quality!

So if you’re in the Modesto area, I definitely recommend you give Luigi’s a shot! Here’s their info:

Luigi’s Pizza
1905 Yosemite Boulevard
Monday – Saturday  11a-9p
Sunday  12p-8p
209-572-3520

Cheers friends!

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