NOBODY WANTS to go outside in February. We want to sit in our houses and apartments, and tear through our Netflix queues, and watch DVR'ed episodes of Bridalplasty until we're tired or bored enough to fall asleep. We can no longer trick ourselves into thinking that we enjoy the "coziness" of winter, and last month's gas bill just showed up so it's not that cozy inside anyway. Can someone just bring me dinner? I really don't want to go that Thai place next door again.
So, the obvious answer is pizza. But from where? The best places—Apizza Scholls, Dove Vivi, Ken's—don't deliver. And most decent joints closed up shop at a reasonable hour when normal, happy people prefer to eat. So, what? Domino's? Not so fast.
Lonesome's Pizza may not have a flagship parlor per se, but they're doing plenty to establish themselves as the go-to for sad, lazy individuals who can't muster the energy to put on shoes—not the least of which is making pretty damn good pizza.
Where to start? I suppose the menu. All items are numbered, which gives the owners the freedom to have fun changing pizza names whenever they feel like it, without confusing customers too much. The website uses the theme "fights that would be too awesome to actually happen in the world": Lou Ferrigno vs. a Shark with Throwing Stars for Teeth; Rock Hudson vs. Clothes Shopping with Your Mother (that one's vegan!); John Stamos vs. the Entire Comanche Nation. Other menus currently in circulation have pizzas named for "awesome things lesbians can do," and "possible reasons we ain't getting women, though we own a badass pizza place." So maybe they're not exactly telling of what comes on the pizza, but c'mon, don't be a dick—it's fun.
Second, each box is decorated—from the looks of it—by an ADHD third grader with a Reed College fine-arts degree and nostalgia for the cereal boxes of his recent youth. The first pie I ordered came in a box that was part of their American Superhero Series. It had a photo and a brief description of a female timber team they'd seen compete on ESPN2 some night around 3 am. The next one came with a surprisingly decent documentary about freight riders (Jack Cahill and David Eberhardt's Long Gone).
I only mention this so that you're not put off by the name of the pesto breadsticks—Bite-Sized Hitler—and the fact that one of the owners/delivery guys is a midget (they've named salads and breadsticks for characters he's been paid to portray). His partners describe themselves as "three rednecks and a gay guy." Rumor has it another delivery person is a knockout beauty. So far, men of average height/looks have delivered my pizzas.
I know what you're thinking—Lonesome's has employed enough gimmicks to distract this reviewer into writing nearly 500 words with hardly a mention of the actual food. Okay, yeah, maybe. But it can't be nefarious, because they're putting out consistently solid pizzas.
The crust is thin and slightly crisp—not cracker-like by any means, but Chicago lovers ought to look elsewhere. They have a few sauces to choose from—a standard marinara, an alfredo, a sriracha base, and a spicy Ethiopian variety (I've yet to try this one, but I'm looking forward to it). Most pies are topped with a fantastic mozzarella, but there's a goat-cheese option, and a vegan cashew cheese as well.
Few people will walk away disappointed by the choice of toppings. They have your cured meats covered, and the vegetables I've sampled so far have been flavorful and fresh. The #8 ("My Dad vs. Your Dad") was a particular favorite—a white pie with mozzarella, pear, walnut, and gorgonzola—but the #2 ("Dolph Lundgren vs. a Puma") will be hard to pass up—it's topped with marinara, mozzarella, arugula, prosciutto, and shaved pecorino.
A 10-inch goes for $9, and a 17-inch ranges from $18 to $23, depending on how elaborately you outfit your pie.
If I were to offer some constructive criticism, it might be to cut costs elsewhere and invest in some of those insulated bags that keep your pizza warm. I've yet to have a really piping hot pie. And considering that they're covering a lot of ground—Killingsworth to Powell, and out to 82nd on the Eastside, and through downtown, the Pearl, Goose Hollow, and Nob Hill on the Westside—I imagine that's a common occurrence.
"Be good and you will be lonesome," says Mark Twain (from the tagline on my pizza box). That's what I tell myself too. Though I imagine with pizza that good, their phone operators will be far from lonely.