If you’ve ever been in the Five Points area, you’ve probably seen (or smelled!) Lilly’s Pizza, located at 1813 Glenwood Avenue. I’ve heard so much about this place that I’ve been wanting to try it for almost two years. Yes, two years. I live in the North Raleigh area and with the exception of a few nights out downtown, we aren’t usually hanging out at Five Points.
Anyway, we finally decided to go the other day. It was hot outside so we weren’t able to sit out on the small patio area available. There were a few umbrellas but they were already in use. I sat down for a few minutes but the glaring sun was too hot so we went inside.
Lilly’s is a funky and retro cafe. I liked that they had posters up for local concerts and seem supportive of local starving artists (musically and otherwise).
Price wise, Lilly’s is up there with most non-chain pizza pie restaurants. A two-topping large (cheese plus your fave) will set you back about $15 while a large specialty pizza will cost a bit more, ranging from $19-23 depending. Lilly’s also offers a gluten-free alternative and several vegetarian options.
We each ordered a medium create-your-own. I was tempted with a variety of toppings (they have a LOT of toppings!) but realized once I created my Pièce de résistance with about 5 unique toppings I would have had to chuck out about $20 for a small pizza. I settled on extra cheese.
It didn’t take too long to make the pizza, but the wait for me was quite painful. The smoky atmosphere from the kitchen burned my eyes and my nose. If I didn’t know the smoke was from the food cooking I may have got on all fours to crawl out. By the time we left the restaurant, my hair and clothes smelled of burnt something.
The pizza was okay: it had a thicker crust than I was expecting. I had spent two years listening to two of my friends rave about how amazing Lilly’s pizza was and I have to tell you: it was a big let-down for me. The top portion of the dough was pretty doughy tasting and appeared much more undercooked than my boyfriend’s was. The sauce was unremarkable and so was the cheese.
In all, I wouldn’t make the trip here for mediocre pizza. I have to tell you that I would be willing to give Lilly’s another try just in case it was an off day in the kitchen. However, I really didn’t care for the crust style, and I definitely didn’t enjoy the way-too-smoky atmosphere. I may have a more sensitive nose than others but the smoky atmosphere alone keeps me from returning. The restaurant would do well to invest in some sort of ventilation system!
Otherwise, everything here was organic or homemade, a welcome change to the prepackaged, ready-made or frozen ingredients other pizza joints might use. For me, the time and effort and cost wasn’t worth the trip or the food.
Our only other complaint was that there was no soap by the sink. The sink that is located outside the restrooms for everyone to use. That was quite a put-off when you start wondering how staff and other patrons wash their hands… Ew.