In writing about another amazing Big Lou's Slice of the Day (SOTD) Special, I'm thinking the GLOB has covered Big Lou's NY Italian Pizzeria a lot. But, you know what, GLOBers? Big Lou's deserves it. I'm thinking Big Lou's is one of the two best pizza lunch stops in North Florida. The second will remain nameless at this time. You can get the BL Slice of the Day and a salad for $10. Add a drink to what really is two slices of amazing pizza and a salad big enough to share, and you have an incredibly delicious lunch for two. We are not talking ordinary pizza here, GLOBers; that's the best part about the BL SOTD Special. The lunch Megan served up at my latest BL lunch was what she called the White Pizza SOTD. All right, there was a ton of mozzarella cheese on my plate, however the spinach, roasted tomatoes, and artichokes hiding underneath the avalanche, double portion of melted cheese made for a unique image. The crust was toasted crisp today. When Big Lou's gets busy be sure to mention you want a crispier crust so they will keep your slice in the oven a little longer. The flavor of the spinach and tomatoes held their own along the mild flavor of yummy artichokes, altogether a taste treat combo that literally filled my mouth with melted cheese and tart, tangy flavors making me completely forget that I didn't add pepperoni or meatballs to the mix.
Gainesville Lunch Out Blog Content Editor Lynn Dirk thinks Big Lou's makes one of the best dinner salads in N. Florida and she explained why: "Iceberg lettuce is normally unimpressive, but at Lou's it is always very fresh and crisp, and there are enough additional veggies to give the salad variety and make it interesting: red onion, cukes, tomatoes, and black olives (a super food I have learned!). BTW, the garlic rolls are also very good -- light and crispy."
Authenticity wows Food Adventurer
By Melissa Kahan, GLOB Corresponent
It still amazes me when I dine for the first time at a local lunch stop that can surprise me. I thought I had tasted all the better pasta creations, seafood delicacies, and sweet dessert dreaminess, among many other food categories, that Gainesville has to offer, but I quickly learned my lesson. I also felt that a current review of this restaurant was definitely warranted, as it seems that the experience remains just as pleasurable since the last review two years ago.
For this particular lunch excursion, I dined at Big Lou's New York Style Pizzeria for a co-worker's farewell lunch. However, while I was saying goodbye to the beloved co-worker, I was saying hello to a new favored lunch spot. In fact, I stood there with open arms, embracing this new-to-me location and delicious pizza creations. I admit: I was skeptical at first, as my love of Leonardo's pizza or a Piesano's pie blinds me from other pizza shops. However, I joined the ranks and followed my co-workers' leads in ordering a slice (or two, for some) from this previously unknown pizza palace.
We started with an order of the garlic rolls, which were an extremely savory preface to the meal. This bread lover can truly appreciate a soft roll teaming with warmth and speckled in garlic particles as the sauce dripped off the crunchy outer shell of bread. After such a delightful starter, I was tempted to get two slices of pizza, but I refrained. Despite the appeal of a calzone or the interest that a stromboli peaked, I opted to create my own topping combo with a slice of cheese pizza as my blank canvas.
I am a fan of variety and letting my creativity and knowledge of food pairings shine in my lunch, if possible. That being said, I chose to top my slice with feta cheese, spinach, sausage, pepperoni and artichokes to give it a well-rounded bevy of toppings, image at top of this feature.. I was having so much fun creating my masterpiece that it took me by surprise when every bite was much tastier than I could have imagined. The crispy crust and light marinara sauce under a blanket of mozzarella cheese proved a sturdy base to my toppings: The sausage and pepperoni slices, which were both fresh and sliced off of large sausage links in true Italian fashion, married well with the rich feta cheese, creating a veggie void filled by the light spinach and flavorful artichoke chunks. I was so taken aback by how authentic the ingredients and actual pizza itself tasted I didn't realize how large the slice actually was, too.
Not only do you get the best bang for your buck — a large slice with five toppings and a roll was $4.75 — but the quality of ingredients was reason enough to want to venture back here sometime in the very near future. Even if you are a thicker, Chicago-style pizza lover like myself, this is a treat and well worth a try.
The Pluses and Minuses of Big Lou's New York Style Pizzeria:
Big Lou's + Indicator's : quick service, excellent quality, outside seating overlooking downtown, varied topping options, addictively tasty, reasonably priced.
Big Lou's - Indicator's: very little parking, if only pizza was healthier
I felt old when I told my daughter, Jana Sanford-Heller, that Big Lou is celebrating his 10th year of making pizzas in his very cool, downtown New York Style Pizzeria, and Jana replied: "I must've been gone from Gainesville longer than I thought; I've never been to Big Lou's."
We started lunch with a Big Lou's Greek Salad that was big enough for both of us to feel good about eating our veggies, plus there was enough for my 2-year-old granddaughter, Penelope. Momma Sanford-Heller made her poppa proud by taking the smart highway toward a healthy lunch by ordering some very yummy looking veggie pizza. Receiving her slice with her favorite toppings of black olive, feta , and tomato, Jana was impressed with the size of the Big Lou's slices and was feeling good about her and her daughter taking advantage of the Big Lou's two-slices-and-a-drink lunch special. Granddaughter Penelope did serious damage to her slice of cheese pizza. Jana and I were impressed with the customer-friendly suggestion the server made of offering to cut Penelope's slice into smaller pieces.
Since the Sanford-Heller's opted for a Meatless Monday lunch, I decided it would be OK if I ordered my regular Big Lou's toppings of pepperoni and artichoke hearts. I go for the texture contrast of the spicy, yummy, chewy pepperoni against the milder creamy feel of the artichoke. Jana and I did exchange some of our pizza slices so we could have a taste each other's taste combos. I liked the contrast of the salty olive and sharp feta cheese embroiled in Big Lou's sauce. The pizza crust was crunchier this day and made for a humongous piece of stand up straight pizza that didn't even think about wilting as I picked up my slice. Lunch trips will always have to be downtown I think, because as we walked away from Big Lou's and approached the car, Penelope's eyes lit up as she exclaimed, "Popsicle?'
Have you tried the Hyppo Gourmet Popsicle shop across the street from Mark's Prime downtown? Oh man, this popsicle world has some of the most unique flavors in frozen ice you will ever taste and the price is reasonable. I felt adventurous and selected the cayenne and chocolate; the taste was delightfully refreshing. This was my second trip to Hyppo with Jana and Penelope. On our previous visit, I had ordered the Elvis Hyppo of peanut butter and banana flavors. Also, you can dip your 'cicle in chocolate for another dollar and you will be a very happy popsicle kind of person. Jana selected pistachio almond, and Penelope had an orange creamsicle. It's easy to see why so many folks downtown are walking around with their favorite Hyppo pop of the day. The original Hyppo started in St. Augustine, and they have opened this shop downtown to rave reviews - including this one!
- Mike Sanford
Main St. & 2nd Ave. 'pizza special paradise'
By Mike Sanford, GLOB Editor
Big Lou's New York Style Pizzeria special of the day -- 2 giant slices of the pizza special and a drink for $7.50.
That alone should explain why Big Lou's is one of the most popular lunch spots in Downtown Gainesville. If you need more explanation think about the ham, pineapple, green pepper & tomato special pizza. Or my favorite the sausage, pepperoni, ground beef and three cheese special pizza. The pizza special pizzas change every day.
Service is quick, and the staff are friendly and very good at what they do. Whether you're sitting at the lunch counter, inside in the dining room, or on the patio, Big Lou has created the quintessential NY pizzeria here in Hogtown.
Not only that, if you talk to Lou just the right way, he will be more than happy to give you a little New York attitude with your pizza special.
I'm not a pizza snob. I like all kinds of pizza. Typically for me the best pizza is a pie that's within arms' reach.
If I had friends coming into G'ville from out of town and they wanted a good pizza experience, I would feel very good about introducing them to Big Lou's.
Did I say the pizza is really good? Big Lou's has an excellent crispy, thin crust that stands up to the ingredients without wilting into your lap. If you prefer deep dish, they do offer a thick crust pizza "when available.
The dough slingers in Lou's kitchen have come up with some unique pizza pie specials that combine ingredients from a 32-item list of toppings that will raise your eye brows in pizza delight.
Along with the usual assortment of other tasty Italian entrees, Lou has a special "French Fry Buster." This is an order of deep fried potatoes that will make you ignore those folks who tell you potatoes and pizza don't mix. When they drop the fries in a fryer basket and then into the hot oil, it quickly melds, connects, cooks the potatoes together in an artistic conglomeration that makes the French fries outside UF's computer science building look unimpressive.
So there you have it. This eating professional is a big fan of Big Lou's.
The Pluses and Minuses of Big Lou's New York Style Pizzeria:
Big Lou's + Indicator's : 2 giant slices and a drink makes lunch for two and creates one of the better lunch specials in Gainesville.
Big Lou's - Indicator's: It's downtown. Parking will be an adventure.
Offer your GLOB comments, lunch photographs and opinions about the Big Lou's Italian Pizzeria. Please identify your opinions with a PLUS SIGN (+) for positive comments, and a MINUS SIGN (-) for your negative comments. - THANKS!
- Phone Number: 335-7123
- Address: 5 SE 2nd Ave., Gainesville, FL
- Urban GLOB Location: Downtown
- Web Site: Big Lou's New York Style Pizzeria
- Latitude: 29.650084
- Longitude: -82.324764
Elizabeth Thursday, 14 July 2016 07:26 Comment Link
I couldn't agree with you more about Big Lou's. Thank you Mike for the fantastic GLOB! (-:
Angie Wednesday, 06 February 2013 10:18 Comment Link
I agree Glob Meister, you can't go wrong with pizza at Big Lou's!! Of course, that smell starts about 10 a.m. each morning. Being Big Lou's neighbor has its challenges, but all of the staff members are great, and the pizza is really terrific. My favorite slice is the tomato basil, with extra garlic, extra chrispy! Unfortunately, I've had to avoid pizza for obvious reasons, but I highly recommend the spinach salad as a good alternative. Although, I must say you have me wanting a slice today.
Rush & Glassman
Kendall Thursday, 01 November 2012 12:06 Comment Link
Big Lous , was the best pizza ever, great food, great service.
Tonya Wednesday, 24 October 2012 21:00 Comment Link
Great service, great food, great company. This was my first time to eat at Big Lou's and I agree with all the people that have told me to try it because, "it's best place is town for pizza."
Andy Caldwell Tuesday, 27 September 2011 09:47 Comment Link
It was a very good lunch and you can't beat the price. Nice to share with you pal.
Crisp, fresh, cold iceberg lettuce and generous portions of grape or cherry tomatoes, cukes, olives, and red onion – Big Lou’s “dinner salad” (also served at lunch!) is always perfect. This is essentially a tossed salad, and I’m not a big fan of tossed salads when I go out because they are uniformly ordinary and/or poorly done for a myriad of reasons. After enjoying BL’s salads for awhile now, maybe the main problem with others is that they are not made fresh and the lettuce just wilts and loses that amazingly refreshing quality that only iceberg lettuce can deliver when it is in top form. Also, BL’s salad includes FOUR other ingredients -- in good quantities as opposed to a minimum amount of only one or two other ingredients. Try BL’s tossed salad and you won’t be disappointed, especially with their balsamic vinaigrette.
Natalie Friday, 10 September 2010 11:33 Comment Link
Excellent for a late Friday night pizza dinner w/ friends!