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Review: Pizzeria Lola provides wood-fired pizzas with personality

Owned by the award-winning chef Ann Kim, this establishment is a friendly neighborhood place to find top-notch pizza.
The restaurant located off Xerxes is worth a taste.
Image by Photo by Sarah Horner
The restaurant located off Xerxes is worth a taste.

Pizzeria Lola offers a combination of classic and Korean-inspired wood-fired pizzas in a casual atmosphere.

Located off Xerxes Avenue in Minneapolis, Pizzeria Lola was the first restaurant opened by award-winning chef Ann Kim in 2010. Kim has since unveiled three sister restaurants: Hello Pizza, Young Joni and Sooki & Mimi. After being featured in an episode of the Netflix show “Chef’s Table” last fall, Kim and her pizza have gained worldwide attention. 

Pizzeria Lola has 31,000 followers on Instagram, but it would be difficult to tell just by looking at the restaurant from the outside. Tucked away in a mostly residential neighborhood, the restaurant is attractive but humble. Its patio provides shade, sun and invites well-behaved dogs with water bowls — likely because the pizzeria pays homage to Lola, Kim’s late dog who is adorably memorialized in photos on the restaurant’s walls.

Inside, Pizzeria Lola mixes modern furnishings with a ‘70s vibe. Fleetwood Mac and the Eagles play through speakers, a disco ball spins from the ceiling and a sign points to a photo booth, which customers can pay to use. 

It’s also hard to miss the large copper oven sitting in the center of this modestly sized restaurant. According to Pizzeria Lola’s website, the core of this artsy and functional piece was sourced from 16th-century France.

Like its setting, the restaurant’s menu is also friendly to all ages and diets. Pizzeria Lola offers a wide variety of pizzas, including your classic marinara and unique recipes like Korean BBQ drawing from Kim’s heritage. There are also gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan options. If you’re looking for a beverage to go with your meal, cocktails, wine and beer are available.

I started off my meal with peas and burrata, the current special starter. This green twist on bruschetta includes basil mint pesto, crushed peas, olive oil and a generous blob of burrata on a toasted baguette. Not only was it delicious, but it was also beautifully garnished with pea shoots and fresh-grated pepper.

As a long-time fan of margherita pizza, I knew I had to try Pizzeria Lola’s take on the classic recipe. I was not disappointed by the sweet tomato, tasteful mozzarella and cooked-to-perfection crust, all of which created a satisfying balance. The chefs did not go overboard with the olive oil, either, which is usually what’s responsible for my rare complaint about wood-fired pizza.

Though more expensive than its competitors, such as the chain Punch Pizza, Pizzeria Lola’s prices were not anything unexpected for an independently-owned, sit-down restaurant. Still, with my margherita pizza costing $16 and the starter $15, this restaurant may be a special-occasions-only destination for students on a budget.

The incredible pizza and personality of Pizzeria Lola make dining at this establishment an experience to remember.

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