So yesterday’s post mentioned “those nights” that you just can’t quite bring yourself to cook. Wednesday night was one of those nights for me. I think it was the whole “last night of summer break” thing. Philip was going to be late getting home and all I wanted to do was make my lunch, take a hot bath, paint my toenails, and hang out on the couch with my laptop.
So, I pulled up the Lupi’s menu on my computer. For some reason, even though it’s been in Hixson since 1999 (and since 1996 downtown), I always forget about Lupi’s. I have no idea why. Philip and I were talking about it over the weekend and I added it to the list on my iPhone (actually, it’s a set of lists, divided up by regions of town). Wednesday night seemed to provide the perfect excuse.
It didn’t take me long to settle on an order. They’ve recently added housemade mozzarella to their menu, and they feature a margherita pizza with this mozzarella, local tomatoes, basil, and coarse salt. They also have a “take and bake” option, so I ordered that in a 16-inch with a whole wheat crust and headed on out to pick it up, thinking that would give me more flexibility as far as time went (so I wouldn’t have to go out at 8 p.m. to pick up a pizza).
Sadly, when I got there, I was handed an already baked pizza. I chose to not say anything…I wasn’t in the mood to hang out, and it really wasn’t that big of a deal. Mistakes happen, and the pizza did look and smell amazing. I decided just to take it and reheat it for a few minutes on my pizza stone (which I preheat at 400 degrees before placing pizza on it. Ten minutes and cold pizza is perfect and crisp again. This trick also works for fried chicken and French fries. I am not joking.).
I kind of underestimated how large this pizza was going to be. I think I could have gone with the 12″ and we would have had plenty of pizza for Wednesday night and plenty to have leftovers for dinner Thursday. Oh well. It was so good I didn’t really care. I was not expecting the pizza to have tomato sauce on it (since it had sliced tomatoes) but it did. Lupi’s pizza sauce is pretty sweet, but I liked it and appreciated that they didn’t put a ton of it on the pizza. The fresh mozzarella was amazing, and I liked the basil sprinkled evenly over the pizza. Believe it or not, the salt really added a lot to the pizza….it’s amazing what a little salt can do to bring fresh tomatoes to life. My only issue is that to me margherita pizza should have a very thin crust….this is the traditional way that it is served. This crust was fairly thick. I really, really liked it-it tasted great and did not have a cardboard texture like so many wheat crusts do-but just would have preferred a thinner crust here.
Here’s my favorite thing about Lupi’s: it’s about as local as you can get. Their flour comes from Sonrisa Farm, the local farm from which I buy my wheat berries at the farmers market. The tomatoes are local. I don’t know where they get their milk, but they made the mozzarella with their own hands. They buy local products whenever possible-including produce, ground beef, honey, etc.). And I love this: the money that would be contributed to advertising campaigns instead gets contributed to local schools, charities, and organizations. And you know what? I am pretty sure that they are doing okay without advertisement.
Lupi’s offers pizzas in slices as well as 12″ and 16″ whole pizzas. They offer an interesting variety of toppings…the usual assortment of meats and a wide range of vegetables, including more unusual options like roasted corn, zucchini, and avocado (I must try this). They also offer calzones and a small but fresh assortment of appetizers like bruschetta, garden salad, and homemade mozzarella drizzled with balsamic vinegar. You can also purchase a ball of mozzarella or a ball of pizza dough. They also feature catering and the option to buy a whole lasagna, bulk salad dressings, and a large salad (but they do request a day or two worth of notice for these items).
Know this: if you eat at Lupi’s, you’re going to pay for it. My pizza was about $18….but it was gigantic, and it made two meals for two people….two hungry people. People with smaller appetites (I admit, I eat like a horse…I’m sure you aren’t surprised) probably could have stretched it even farther. My rationale is that I would spend this much if we ordered Domino’s (because inevitably I’d buy that wretched cheesy bread….it’s so addictive with its burnt, crust ends) and if we order from Lupi’s we are supporting so many local businesses and getting much fresher, much more delicious product than if we went to the big D. It’s worth it to me.
Lupi’s Hixson is located at 5504 Hixson Pike, Hixson, TN 37343. You can call them at 423-847-3700. Their website is lupi.com; they also have a Facebook page. They are opened Tuesday-Thursday, 11 a.m.-10 p.m., Friday, 11 a.m.-11 p.m., and Sunday, 11:30 a.m.-9 p.m.