Clinton Hill Blog readers, how are you? It’s Van and his midday-meal companion Tillie, here to tell you about our latest epicurean adventure, this time to pizza joint and all-around Italian restaurant The 3 Luigis on Lafayette and Grand. This spot is a spinoff of the Luigi’s on DeKalb next to Mike’s Coffee Shop, where Tillie and I have a near-daily residency going on. You see, people, I love pizza – I mean REALLY love it! I even find the merits in some frozen pizza, like DiGiorno’s, or some of the big franchises, like Papa John’s. This has pretty much been the case my whole life, and when I moved to New York and found that you can buy pizza by the slice, I thought I had died and gone to heaven.
Months before Tillie came on the scene, I decided that we were going to establish a weekly ritual, “Pizza Saturdays,” where we roll up to Luigi’s and grab a slice or two. As she’s started to eat a wider variety of food, I’ve been breaking off tiny pieces of my pizza, and I think she’s taking to it. After all, how could she not? She has those Sias pizza-eating genes coursing through her, and in my humble opinion, Luigi’s is far and away the best place in the neighborhood to grab a slice, so it all works out.
On this particular lunchtime jaunt, I had a taste for some pizza and instead of going to our usual spot, I thought we could go to the new place. I’ve had a slice or two there before, but oddly enough, it doesn’t measure up to the original locale to me, even though it’s the same guys going between the two shops. Also, at The 3 Luigi’s, they’re a little more, how shall I say it, adventurous with their pies, as seen by putting Ranch dressing or mustard on certain varieties, which is something I’m never going to try. But I was confident I’d be able to find something there to eat, so after I packed up a little food for Tillie (she did have pizza munching to do), off we went.
Upon arrival, we had to wrangle our way in there because the entrance is a little steep and there’s no ramp for strollers. We made it in, though, with a little assist from someone who was walking out. I grabbed a menu because none of the pies on display were holding any appeal to me. So I ordered a mini pie with tomatoes, which works out to be about a little more than a couple of slices worth, and some garlic knots, thinking that might be an interesting treat for Tillie to try.
I took a seat at a table and kept Tillie in her stroller. (I don’t think there were any high chairs around: I didn’t see any and I didn’t ask, so I can’t give you the definite scoop on whether you have to worry about that or not. Sorry!) T was pretty chill, regardless, taking the time to stuff her shoe in her mouth.
While she was doing that, her mom had actually given me a reading assignment to do, marking off the eating section in “What to Expect the First Year” for 9-month-olds. I skimmed through it and didn’t see anything about pizza or garlic knots, so I figured we were good to go!
The place had a steady stream of business and from where we sat, we could catch all the interactions between the customers and one of the restaurant’s owners. Everyone seemed to have a good rapport with each other, which I think is a pleasant thing to witness. There was even a special guest appearance by Gabby of Still Hip fame, who came over to chat with Tillie and me after placing her lunch order. She figured we were there casing the joint, but I told her we were a covert operation and couldn’t talk about that!
Anyway, Tillie had some cereal to snack on, but all I could think about were the garlic knots. I was starving and wanted something to eat, too: Why should Tillie have all the fun? Just when I was about to grab some Cheerios, the pizza showed up. The guy who took our order told us it takes a while for the dough to rise to make the knots, so I told him that’s OK since it looked like I was going to have my hands full with this pie!
And let me tell you, I definitely did! It was a nice sight to see: plenty of tomatoes among the bubbling cheese and a dark crust, just the way I like it. I was going to be hard-pressed to share some with Tillie, but I managed. And just like me, Tillie loved it. I would give her a little piece of crust with some cheese and that worked for her. I thought there could be the possibility of taking some of it home, but I guess we had other plans.
After the pizza was all gone, I packed us up and we were off. The bill for this pizza and a soda was only $7, which was a bargain beyond belief for what we just had. Sure, some garlic knots would’ve been nice, but the quality of the pie more than made up for it. It’s a tight squeeze to get in and out of the place with a stroller, but if you don’t mind that, and want some great pizza in a great atmosphere, The 3 Luigi’s is worth it. And now Tillie and I have another stop on our pizza tour!