In a word: Never eat in.
The specs: #0759
Address, hours & details via Isthmus; reviews at Wisconsin State Journal, Eat Drink Madison, Team Struckmeyer, 77 Square, Isthmus, The Dish, A.V. Club, Yelp; official web site, Facebook,
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Amanda, JM, Karl and Nichole ate the 14" mushroom pizza, the 14" margherita pizza, one order of dough knots (though we ordered two), a coffee, a beer and two fountain drinks.
The bill was about $13/person, plus tip.
JM and Nichole gave Luigi's Pizzeria a C+ (see our grading rubric).
We never ate together at the original Luigi's in the revolving door flatiron that's currently Tipsy Cow, so we don't know whether the new place brings back fond memories. Frankly, it gave us all a bit of a migraine. If we're hungry for pizza in the Hilldale/Sequoya Library neighborhood, 99.6% (±3%) of the time we'd rather go to Cafe Porta Alba.
This is why - and we're not proud that this writeup is more Yelp than yay, but we just couldn't find much to love here.
The ordering process is the least functional since Delitalia (give your name to host, wait awkwardly among fellow patrons and pick-up orderers in tiny space to be summoned to order counter, be seated, wait again for food). Plenty of thought went into the decor, however, which features a VIP-style curtained booth with its own disco ball, chandeliers, floor-to-ceiling windows that let SUV headlights shine in your face, and small tables that could be intimate but in such a loud venue feel merely crowded. (Cafe Porta Alba is crowded and loud too, but that's because the pizza is perfect and there's often wonderful live music there.)
We didn't try the pastas, but the pizzas are OK if you like lots of cornmeal and heavy, sweet tomato sauce. Amanda and Nichole both got the floppy "fancy salad" with bacon, bleu cheese, and a notional amount of avocado. The salad came in wooden bowls a la Calasan, only these were cracked. The cashier upsold us all on "dough knots" (tasted like they sound) for 12 bits, but only one of two orders came out; after we finished our pizza, the manager came over to say they'd run out of dough knots, and offered us $1.50 off a dessert.
To their credit, when it came down to it, they did refund the cost of a regular appetizer ($4ish). We settled up the rest of the bill and promptly blew the $4+ on monkey tails at the bright but quiet Chocolate Shoppe across the parking lot, along with at least two fellow diner/survivors we recognized from Luigi's.
We followed that up with a trip to the library to take a joy ride through the Pirate, Ninja, and Musical Theatre versions of the SelfCheck machines. If you don't have a library card, 1) why the heck not?! and 2) it's worth it just for this - and we haven't seen it anywhere but Sequoya.
We had a great night out sadly in spite of, if not because of, Luigi's.