From time to time, I find myself drifting back to a carefree time in my life where all I had was a Eurail pass, a backpack, a good friend and a pipe. That was the life- one of adventure, a new culture every day and of course: great food.
I recall walking the streets of Italy and sensing family, joy, and a simplicity of life that is not easily matched here. Something romantic and passionate stirs- and local ristorantes, often family-owned with a deeply-seeded heritage beckon you in. You catch a whiff of fresh tomato sauce and crisp basil, pizza dough soars through the air, and a warm glow emanates from a cavernous forno oven. Pie after pie flies in and out of the kitchen, and the wine flows constantly.
Such is an authentic Italian experience- one that remains imprinted in my mind forever. A unique moment that though rare for me, is just the day-to-day routine in Italia. And as I find myself yearning to go back to that place and time, I thought it a fair compromise (for now) that Lachlan Mackinnon-Patterson would instead attempt to bring it here. When I dropped into Pizzeria Locale (pronounced low-kall-ay) with Jess on a cool winter night, I found myself drifting back to that adventure again- of which any glimpse of deja vu is a welcome one.
Now Locale's pursuit is certainly not in vain, as when I initially heard about their challenges importing the Ferrari of all pizza ovens (and having the first of 2 obliterated once it hit customs) I couldn't help but cringe. But persistence usually pays off and in my opinion they do a nice job delivering an authentic experience. Complete with yet another vintage meat slicer, the Stefano Ferrara pizza oven at the center of the restaurant and a statue of Jesus Christ displayed prominently above the bar, it's almost as if you're instantly transported to Napoli, Italy upon walking through the doors.
|A restored V.D.F. slicer (the only one in North America) is |
prominently displayed at the bar as you walk in.
I was initially a little apprehensive as we sat down in tight quarters to two other tables. But as the meal went on it was easy to get comfortable with everyone else enjoying the experience. You kind of have to let yourself go on this one. It also became apparent that this place was packed with Boulder locals, and being a few Denverites I found it cool to see how closely knit this community of folks was. Everyone knew everyone, and it was like family.
We had to bite our tongues in order to avoid getting one of everything- but a helpful staff assisted us in getting the best of each course.
|Polpettine- Veal Meatballs in a Walnut Pesto|
|We had to opt for the house specialty- the Maiale, which literally translated means pig (sounds a lot prettier in Italian). Traditionally, Neapolitan pizza is only cooked for 60-90 seconds in a 900 degree oven and topped with Piennolo tomatoes, and buffala mozzarella. This one was also finished with Tuscan Prosciutto Crudo and arugula. Some tasty pie.|
|Going, going, gone. Like Melo.|
|A sweet finish to an authentic meal- Lemon Meringue Tart and espresso|
The meal slowly carried on course after course, conversation and laughter tied each plate into an experience, and even after the espresso left the table, the experience carries on. Pizzeria Locale is an escape- there's no rush to move on to the next thing, but when you do decide to leave don't find yourself confused that you're back on Pearl St in Boulder again.
Ultimately, Locale can be whatever you want it to be. Work some wine into the mix and do a handful of courses, or just stop in for a quick pie and a beer. But either way this is your more expensive pizza place. Also, due to it's popularity and small size, be prepared for a crowd and some noise. It's a unique concept, the second in the Frasca family but not the last. Up next, Frasca Caffe- where you can drop in for a panini, limonada and some of the Frascan's favorite Italian goods. Oh, and they have a sweet meat slicer too. Duh.
Avg Entree: $14
Gluten-free options available
Open daily for lunch and dinner (just don't show up b/t 2:30 and 4:30, they're closed)
Seating is limited, so make sure you have a reservation
Follow them on Facebook and Twitter
Service: Team focus, very attentive and well-orchestrated
Ambience: casual, bright white lighting, modern, hard surfaces, crowded
Rating: Very Good (2.5 out of 4 dishes)