People have asked me how in the world I’m going to pull off this Year of Pizza adventure because there’s probably not 52 pizza places in Peoria. Well, as the subhead to this blog reads: “A Travel Blog In And Around The River City With Your Host, Marty Wombacher,” so it’s not like we’re limited to Peoria for this cheesy year. In fact there’s going to be a lot of road trips outside of Peoria and this week is the first of those road trips. More than one person suggested I try the pizza at Lou’s La Grotto in Peru, Illinois, which is just a little over an hour drive from Peoria. I plan on doing a fair amount of drinking today, so we’re going to need a driver...
Oh, oh, someone’s knockied up the MBIP door, who in the world could that be?
After a beer in the MBIP Headquarters, we're off with Scott behind the wheel. He's put some shades on because...
It's brighter than fuck out here today, oh well, at least all the snow is gone! I need to look into getting some prescription sunglasses.
After about a half an hour on the road, proof that the saying, "You can't buy beer, you can only rent it," is all too true and so we've stopped at this outhouse on the side of the road for a little relief.
Yikes! I guess they don't clean these things in the winter, luckily I can do my business standing up, I didn't touch anything in here and made a mental note to get the bottom of my boots steam-cleaned.
And through the magic of the internet, here we magically appear in Peru, Illinois. I don't think I've ever been to Peru, so it'll be nice to meet some people from this town.
Here we are at Lou's La Grotto, I bet this neon looks good at night, we'll have to get a photo on the way out.
Okay, let's go in and start our eighth week of pizza at Lou's La Grotto.
Here's the main dining room, it's really a nice and comfortable atmosphere in here.
Another angle from the dining room. As I said, it's nice and comfortable in here, but where Scott and I feel even more comfortable is...
The bar! They've got a nice bar in here and as you can see it's pretty crowded, but there's two seats at the end of the bar with our names on them, so we snagged them and settled in.
Sam, the pretty and friendly bartender on duty is quick with an ice-cold beer and a great smile. I like it in here already!
Here's the view from where we're seated at the end of the bar.
And a shot from the other end of the bar with Sam in action and Scott seated and thinking, "How many pictures is this guy going to take in here?" The answer: As many as possible!
As you can see, they have a large selection of bottled beer in here. I forgot to get a shot of the beers on tap though. Sorry about that Spike!
We'll title this photo, "Cuteness Squared!" It's Rachel and Jasmine, two of the pretty waitresses at Lou's.
This is Mike, who's the manager at Lou's. Everyone here is super-friendly and I'm glad we took the trip out here.
Steve's a regular here at Lou's and he sang the praises of the pizza in here. I'm starting to get hungry!
As you can see, they do a big carry-out business here.
Meanwhile, back at the bar, Sam's t-shirt asks this saucy question: "Had a piece lately?" Yep, I get a piece every week...sadly it's just a piece of pizza though.
Speaking of pizza, the plates are lined up and and it looks like it's time for the main event!
We got two pizzas for dinner. The first is a cheese thin crust pizza...
Lou's is known for their deep dish pizza, so we had to try one of those too. Here's Sam serving it up at the bar.
I usually don't eat deep dish pizza, I had one in Chicago years ago that was really bad and it kind of turned me off from this style of pizza, but this one looks really good.
Here's the slice of the deep dish with some hot sauce and pepper, it really looks good.
I thought I'd start with a piece of the cheese pizza and have that as an appetizer before I try the deep dish slice.
Cheese pizza is probably my favorite kind of pizza and this one sure is good. The crust is pretty thick for a thin crust and the sauce and cheese is tangy and tasty.
I had to use a fork for the deep dish and I have to tell you, their deep dish pizza is fantastic. Both Scott and I were leery about getting this style of pizza, but we both agreed that it was really delicious!
One thing about deep dish pizza is that it's really gut-busting food. Scott and I each had a slice after a piece of the cheese pizza and we were stuffed!
So we got the pies packed up and we're ready to hit the road back to P-Town.
I told you the neon would look cool in the dark!
Okay, it's time for the next day cold pizza taste test. Scott took the cheese pizza and so now it's time for our first ever deep dish cold pizza slice. Drumroll please...
The crust has shrunk somewhat and the ingredients have settled in to the slice and it's one of the best cold slices ever. And I've still got one more slice for a late night snack! Thanks to Scott for driving and to everyone at Lou's La Grotto for a fun night of beer and pizza frivolity!
Three and three quarters Chef Boy Ardees—great pizza and it renewed my faith in deep dish pizza!