So, my sweetheart and I are kind of working our way through the Frankfort Avenue restaurant corridor slowly, but surely.
There are something like 30 locally owned, independent restaurants in a 3.5 mile stretch of Frankfort Avenue and many of them can boast “best of” accolades in this city full of great restaurants, so we are having some fun with international cuisine, al fresco dining, southern, Mexican, Persian…you name it.
Last night we visited Pizza Lupo on Frankfort Avenue – at the very North end of Frankfort. You may be forgiven if you’ve never crossed Story Avenue to see what’s down there, but trust me – it’s there.
First of all, the place is immaculate. It has been restored to perfection. The brick interior nicely aged, new wood floors, cherry table tops and very heavy oak and steel chairs. There are some pictures dispayed that document the preservation and restoration of the building. Pretty interesting stuff in this historic neighborhood.
You know now that we don’t actually “review” restaurants, but we DO try to accuarately portray our dining experience so you won’t be surprised or disappointed by taking our advice to visit. Having said that, NOTHING could make me not like this place. See, we like people. We like ’em a LOT! One of the menu items reads:
Buy the kitchen a round of beers………………………………………………$10
You can’t go wrong spending money in a place that would offer that.
Speaking of people – Jessye Ramsey runs the front of the house. With authority. There is a visible purpose and organization to the activities in the restaurant. The back of the house is the same under the watchful eye of chef Max Balliet who is an owner and has been here from the beginning. As a matter of fact, it was his vision of a neopolitan restaurant that drove the creation of Pizza Lupo.
Max is an owner along with his sister Sara and her husband Adam Turla, who are the core members of the band Murder by Death. Our servers Sarah Issacs and Kayla Vest were thoroughly familiar with the menu and the ingredients of each dish as well as the wine and drink menu. The place is in good hands.
What does all this have to do with your food and dining experience at Pizza Lupo? Everything. Listen – you CANNOT make your own fresh dough every day, hand roll the tortelini, make the pasta, cut the firewood, pick your own fresh herbs, source your food locally, cook it all in a brick oven (that you have imported from Modena Italy) AND serve food of this quality without good management. And it absolutely all pays off.
Adam Turla is kind of locally famous for saying:
“Pizza is just bread with toppings. If you can refine your dough and make it so it’s a strong feature of your pizza, then it’s going to be a really good pizza. It doesn’t matter what you put on it, as long as you’re using good ingredients.”
And that is exactly what they do. The dough is only 4 ingredients -flour, water, salt and yeast. It’s fermented at room temperature every day and anything left over at the end of the day is discarded. The toppings are made in house from locally sourced ingredients.
This is the essence of Neapolitan pizza – raw tomatoes, fresh mozzarella cheese, fresh basil, and olive oil. It’s really all very simple…..if you are a farmer, chef, manager, businessman, scientist and laborer with years of experience and plenty of time on your hands.
As to the food. I am no food aficionado, but I know what I like. At least I thought I did. My companion, on the other hand knows quite a lot and she’s very discerning. She suggested our meal which included a few items I didn’t even know I liked. And what I tasted over everything else was freshness.
The burst of flavor that hits you like that smell that rises from the earth the moment dry dirt is hit by the spring rain. There is a name for that – I’ll let you look it up. Those are the kinds of flavors I experienced at Pizza Lupo and it actually opened my mind and pallete to enjoy something new. Delicious.
THIS is a place where this “non-experimental” eater would step out and try anything on the menu because of the quality I see in everything that is happening from the loading dock door to the front entry.
Take the family. There’s something here for everyone. And take an extra $10 with you for the back of the house.