At Big Lou’s you can get a pizza that’s so large you have to sit at a special table. The pie is 42 inches in diameter, which equals more than 9 square feet.
On certain days, I feel I could put away one of those by myself before slipping into a carb-induced coma.
But on a recent visit to this favorite pizza joint, I felt like sampling my way across the menu, so we started the meal with a dozen mild chicken wings, meaty little morsels that got a pleasant kick from black pepper. Doused in ranch dressing, they were wonderful, and they always have been.
Let’s face it, I’m prejudiced when it comes to Big Lou’s. I’ve been a fan for years, starting with visits to its original location, a real hole-in-the-wall operation filled with picnic tables and the kind of bonhomie that you can’t fake.
In its new home on South W.W. White, the kitchen remains faithful to the flavors and recipes that Big Lou’s reputation was built on. It’s still homey and welcoming. But once the wing bones were stripped of every last shred of meat, I was ready to try something new. Or at least new to me.
That was the Italian Sub, a warm sandwich with salami and other cold cuts melted into the bun with a generous amount of provolone. Sides of Italian dressing, lettuce and black olives that you could dress to your own taste made this 9-inch sub a real treat.
The main course, of course, was a pizza. Instead of the 42-incher, we settled on a 14-inch pie. Half was topped with anchovies, the other half with Italian sausage, green peppers, olives and onions. The crust was of medium thickness and puffed out at the edges. But it never tasted too bready. Instead, we both enjoyed the yeasty taste and how well it was complemented by the seasoned tomato sauce and shredded cheese that held the pie together.
Surprisingly, I wasn’t crazy about the anchovies. The little fish hadn’t been rinsed, which meant they were almost too salty for me – and that’s saying something. I was more taken with the house-made sausage, with its kick of fennel, and the vegetables that retains just enough crispness to add texture. I folded the large slices in half and went at it with abandon. Even the cold leftovers made for a great breakfast.
There are times when the place is so busy that the wait seems to last and last. But if you go in mid-afternoon, like we did, the food appears fairly quickly and steaming hot, making that first bite of pizza as perfect as you could want.
Big Lou’s Pizza
2048 S. W.W. White Road
Open for lunch and dinner Tuesday-Sunday. Closed Monday.
Photos: Nicholas Mistry