Luigi’s Pizzeria in Ocean Beach – A Disappointment

by on July 5, 2021 · 35 comments

in Ocean Beach

Luigi’s Pizzeria
5001 Newport Ave.
Ocean Beach, CA 92107
(no phone as of this review)

By Judi Curry

Contacted by several of my neighbors in the past few days asking me if I had tried Luigi’s Pizzeria yet, I decided to try it the other night.  It is located where ”Bravo’s” Mexican Restaurant used to be.

It is difficult to write a poor review of a new restaurant, but since the owners of “Luigi’s” have been in business for years, I expected much more from the establishment that what I received.  And, as I will mention later, based on a menu item, I would not return on any account.

I should say that I have been to two other Luigi’s over the years and felt that the food was more than adequate, but I cannot say that about the meal, which was shared with Sofia, my Brazilian student and Steve, a very good friend of mine.

To begin with, this establishment does not yet have a telephone. That in itself is a little strange, because with everyone having cell phones it seems that a number could be set aside for information and orders be taken that way.  As it was, we needed to go into the restaurant and place our order that way.

And when we walked in we were bombarded with the noise of the place.  The music was so loud that we could not hear the person taking our order, nor could she hear us.  As this is a typical Ocean Beach restaurant, there were people sitting at the bar drinking and adding to the noise.  We decided at that point to take the food home rather than eat there, which was our first choice.

Then we looked at the menu printed on the chalk board.  They do not have printed menu’s yet, which, again, is surprising because the menu is the same as the other restaurants.  We were surprised at the prices of the items because they seemed higher than other pizza places in the neighborhood.

For example, we ended up ordering a “Mona Lisa” – pepperoni, sausage, green peppers, mushroom, red onion, black olive – and it was $24.  If it came in more than one size we were not aware of it – again because we had difficulty hearing the order taker, and we did not see any other price on the chalk board.  The least expensive pizzas that we saw were $19 each – one was a “Leonardo – Mozzarella, Parmesan Pesto (no sauce) or a Margherita, which was only Tomato, Basil and Garlic.

We also ordered a House Salad, which was $5.50, and included a Spring Mix, Green Peppers, Red Onion, 7 black Olives and our choice of dressing.  We ordered their Ranch, which was “Ken’s” dressing in a small container.  They did give us two.

We took the order home, and opened the huge box that the “Mona Lisa” came in.  The crust was thin, as was everything else on the crust.  And … as I found out with my first bite, the underside of the pizza was slightly burnt.  I have to say that I prefer a thin crust to a thick one, but I also prefer to be able to taste the individual toppings. Because the pizza was overcooked, everything was so meshed together there was no distinct taste of anything.

Coupled that with the burnt crust, I left mine on my plate.  Both Sofia and Steve ate more than one piece, but both said it was average at best, and both agreed that they would probably not go back.  The salad was nothing special – more like the package salad mixes I buy at Grocery Outlet, Vons, or Ralphs.  I am not fond of Ken’s salad dressings, and this, at $5.50 was, in my mind, a rip-off.

I was so disappointed in the meal.  People I know and respect tell me that this is such a good restaurant, but I did not find that true in any respect – from the noise to the food.

And… I stated at the onset that I would not go back again because of a menu item.  That item, listed under “local favorites” is entitled, “White Girl.”  It is chicken, bacon and spicy ranch dressing.  I find the name highly offensive and sexist.  I don’t care how good it might be – I am suspicious of any person ordering that item. (“Let’s eat a white girl”.) There are many other names that could be used for this pizza – and because it is on all of the menus of the Luigi’s establishments, I will take my business elsewhere.

I am sorry to be so negative for a “new” restaurant – but it is hardly new to the eating establishments of San Diego.  There are so many pizza restaurants in OB – Luigi’s will have to do better if they want to remain here.

Avatar Sadie July 5, 2021 at 10:40 am

That’s a lot of money to spend on a burnt meal. I’m sorry! To serve a burnt pizza, is a really bad idea. They used to be so good & dependable. I guess I’ll stick with Old Venice, Venetian, or Pizza Nova.

Avatar Chris July 5, 2021 at 10:54 am

I don’t know if this is true or not but rumor is the White Girl name came from this old song by X: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aLXOLlvoEBY
Since there North Park and Golden Hill locations have a sort of punk rock vibe that kind of makes sense. I seriously doubt there was any kind of sexist intention on the part of the owners. Considering the neighborhoods of the other two locations, anything deemed as sexist would have been called out a long time ago.
Bummer the food wasn’t that good. Perhaps it’s just working the bugs out.

Avatar Frank J July 5, 2021 at 4:22 pm

Always cracks me up with loud music. In my opinion, any establishment should limit the decibels to after 9PM. Clueless young people in charge for sure. You did mention dinner, but I’m guessing well before that time. Also, think about the cost for the flour, water, yeast, thin toppings, labor, and overhead….$6-$8 tops. Pizza is cheap to make. Nice profit margin. Destined for failure.

Avatar Chris July 5, 2021 at 4:41 pm

The young people might not be as clueless as you think. A lot of businesses use loud music with the very intention of driving away people past a certain age group. Sometimes it works in that it attracts a younger demographic that do not want to be in the presence of older folks. All that being said, I’m surprised Luigi’s in OB doing this because they don’t do that @ either the North Park or Golden Holl locations.

Avatar Angie July 5, 2021 at 5:02 pm

An average pizza is the easiest thing to make. A place has to work at making that mess you overpaid for.
And “White Girl”? I’m not someone waiting to be offended, but that was a poor choice for a menu item.

Judi Curry Judi Curry July 5, 2021 at 5:32 pm

Regardless the reason for the “White Girl” in this day and age I think it is offensive. If it were a “black girl” or an “Asian Girl” it would be frought through with racist and sexual connotations. No thank you – completely out of line as far as I’m concerned.

Peter Peter from South O July 8, 2021 at 7:41 am

The song was co-written and performed by Xene Cervenka, who is hardly a subjugated (or racist) woman!

White Girl (song by X)
Nommensen, John Duchac / Cervenka, Christine Lee
Produced by Doors keyboardist Ray Manzarek

She’s blond
Came along the sidewalk
Leave a trail of blue and black up to you, fighting back
Steel chains, a noose of charms on our necks
I find out nothing when we talk and sit
Blue heart passion and watch the set
Easy to fall, part of your skull starts to break away
Cheaters walk down the block behind this evil street
She’s a white girl but I’m living with a white girl
She’s a white girl but I’m living with a white girl
Nineteen, missing her man for an old girl
Drain every beer left over at home
And listen to ghosts in the other room
Why not you’re alone inside his keeping?
Oh I’ll replace your drunk old man
Sit in the parking lot and hold your hand
Easy to fall, part of your skull starts to break away
Drugged and in love out at a club, pulling me outside
She’s a white girl but I’m living with a white girl
She’s a white girl but I’m living with a white girl
Easy to fall, part of your skull starts to break away
Drugged and in love out at a club, pulling me outside
She’s a white girl but I’m living with a white girl
She’s a white girl but I’m living with a white girl

Avatar Chris July 5, 2021 at 6:09 pm

As far as the price, that’s interesting because I always remember them being pretty cheap, but I know prices in all restaurants have gone up due increased costs as a result shortages so perhaps that’s what’s going on here? I remember pre COVID getting two slices and a pint for 8.99. I wish this location well and hope they work the kinks out.

Frank Gormlie Frank Gormlie July 6, 2021 at 9:25 am

You are amazing. You are on top of every cultural twist. Cheers!

Avatar Chris July 6, 2021 at 10:21 am

Not too amazing. Just things that have been on the news plus I have close friends who work in the restaurant/bar/hospitality biz, a few of which own their establishment.

Avatar Chris July 5, 2021 at 6:13 pm

If all works out, this could fill the void left by Newport Pizza. I DO miss Bravo’s though.

Avatar Debbi July 5, 2021 at 6:34 pm

Hmm…sorry to hear about this place. Sounds like it will take a miracle to turn it around (service, menu names, proper preparation, no phone), From the photo it looks dark inside not really reflecting a pizza joint with the name Luigi’s IMO. I hope the owner reads the reviews and make some changes so the locals will support this business.

Avatar nostalgic July 6, 2021 at 8:53 am

This is so odd – Luigi’s is very popular in Golden Hills. It was one of the first places that offered “pizza by the slice” so you and your friends could go in for a snack and everyone would get something different (currently priced at $2.75 a slice). For this reason, the menu was variable, because it consisted of whatever had just been baked. It was originally designed to be visited. Still, with so much history and multiple restaurants, and all of the experiences every other restaurant has had with lockdown, it should have been ready for you!

Avatar Geoff Page July 7, 2021 at 10:39 am

For Pete’s sake, did you even bother to call the restaurant to ask why they named the item “White Girl” instead of jumping to the conclusion that it was sexist or at least letting them know what you thought? It could be perfectly innocent. That the food was bad was enough reason to pan the place, adding that added nothing.

Avatar Sadie July 7, 2021 at 1:27 pm

?

Judi Curry Judi Curry July 7, 2021 at 11:05 am

What difference does it make why they named it “white Girl”? It could be a white pizza. But it’s not a “girl.” It’s sexiest, racially incorrect and not funny

Avatar Geoff Page July 7, 2021 at 11:25 am

So, I take it you did not ask. What you believe is sexist and racist and not funny may not strike others that way. I doubt the was intended to be funny. I do not see how anyone could look at this and call it racist. And I doubt they meant to be sexist in any way. I think you have bought in too deeply to the cancel culture, as it is called.

Judi Curry Judi Curry July 7, 2021 at 12:11 pm

Why in the hell would I ask them why a pizza is named “white girl?” You May not find it offensive regardless of the reason. I do. It is not a girl; it’s a pizza. The difference between our thoughts is obvious- you are a male that sees nothing wrong with the title; I am a white girl that finds it offensive , racial and sexist! Has nothing to do with “cancel culture”. You think if there was a “white man” on the menu I’d feeling different? Hell no.

Avatar Geoff Page July 7, 2021 at 12:25 pm

Why ask them? There may be a perfectly innocent explanation.

There you go again with the “male” comments. I am a person, whether I am male or not has nothing to do with this.

This has everything to do with cancel culture. The point is this was a food review and the review was that the food was bad. That was enough. Adding in this commentary was unnecessary.

Avatar kh July 7, 2021 at 4:26 pm

It certainly sounds sexist and racially insensitive to me. That might be more obvious to some if they had a slice called “black boy” with watermelon and fried chicken on top. That said, I don’t really care, nor am I really offended. This is the double standard we’re expected to embrace. I’ll have to go a share a large white girl with some friends before I pass judgement.

Avatar Chris July 7, 2021 at 4:04 pm

As you know, that very same item with the very same name is on the menu at the other two locations as well as OB, and it’s been on their menu for years. I’m assuming you saw it back when you went to those other locations so why is it an issue now? Until this article, I had NEVER heard or seen anyone complain about it. Granted that doesn’t mean you don’t have a right to, but when you say “I am suspicious of any person ordering that item” that kind of makes you no better of a person than what you accuse others for ordering it. Is that really how you feel? What do you think of all the “white girls” that order it? Just because you think it’s racist and sexist doesn’t mean that it is. You may not like this, but you are in the minority amongst women who think the name is offensive, even in today’s political climate. Most will just take it with a chuckle. Again that doesn’t mean you have to but it’s not for you to judge others if they choose to order it. Women of color order it too so please stop with the idea that it won’t offend me simply because I’m a male. I gave a guess (based on a rumor) on how it got it’s name. It may or may not be true. Another possibility is the owners were making fun of “Karens” before making fun of “Karens” was a thing. Or it was just a good natured jab at political correctness. I really don’t know but don’t make judgements on others who don’t find it offensive the way you do.

Avatar Geoff Page July 7, 2021 at 4:12 pm

Well said, Chris. I put in a call to the restaurant and am waiting for a call back from the owners who can at least explain it. In all fairness, they deserve a chance to defend themselves. Whether anyone likes the explanation or not, they should at least be heard.

Avatar Chris July 7, 2021 at 4:25 pm

Thanks Geoff. Now I’m curious so if you hear back please post.

Avatar Shaun G July 8, 2021 at 11:54 am

“Why in the hell would I ask them why a pizza is named ‘white girl’?”

Oh, I dunno, maybe because you’re acting as a journalist here and if you’re going to comment on being offended (“White Girl” Oh the tragedies that have come with being a white person in America), then maybe you might inquire as to their reasoning. I don’t care for places from Golden Hills or North Park coming into our little slice of weirdness any more than the next person, but for goodness sake, don’t sweat the small stuff.

Avatar Paul Web July 7, 2021 at 2:21 pm

I was really disappointed to read this review. I’ve always been a fan of Pizzeria Luigi in North Park and was eagerly awaiting the OB location. I hope is was just a function of a new restaurant and a new staff and that they get their act together.

Avatar Chris July 7, 2021 at 4:05 pm

Concur.

Avatar retired botanist July 7, 2021 at 3:18 pm

Is that picture of the pizza the bottom of the pizza or the top? If its the top, yeah that looks like a sub par slice with zero topping. If its the bottom, its not exactly charred, and I’m one who does not like “doughy” anything, whether its ice cream or pizza crust, so it doesn’t look that bad to me. As for the ‘white girl’ name, I think the reaction is a bit on the snowflakey side. I presume it was meant to be humorous – I mean, when did pizza start having chicken, and ranch dressing on it?! Whether its “white” or any other girl, its certainly not Italian. Nor is putting pineapple on pizza (hark Canadians!). So a lighter POV might have been more useful. And the phone thing? Don’t even know what that was about since everyone seems to do everything by internet these days, like it or not…

Avatar Baconstreet July 7, 2021 at 5:18 pm

Rough review. It just opened. It was the fourth of july. Cant’t find service workers anywhere. Inflation is real. All that said you get a burned pizza – you take that back and let the restaurant fix the problem – new pizza and a comped meal. What you don’t do is put a local restaurant on blast on the internet for the world to see forever.

Avatar jake rose July 7, 2021 at 11:25 pm

This is a food review, that’s not how it works

Avatar Geoff Page July 8, 2021 at 9:29 am

That is exactly how it works. Context is important and Baconstreet just listed several things that put this result in context. I’ve seen food reviews from this same author that did mention these kinds of things, such as the restaurant having just opened, and noted they would try again later to see if the kinks were worked out. This bad review was the result of politics, the name of one menu item sunk them and that was unfair.

Avatar Michael July 8, 2021 at 5:47 am

In college, I worked at a deli and we had a similar menu item we called the Sorority Girl or California Girl. It wasn’t seen as derogatory at all. I suppose it’s as offensive as the “Beltbuster” hamburger is to obese people.

Out of curiosity, did they just have a pizza oven in the back of Bravo’s or did they install one for Luigi’s? Perhaps it’s easier to move a pizza oven than I originally thought.

Avatar Sadie July 8, 2021 at 10:02 am

I agree with Jake. This is a food review. The food was reviewed & wasn’t enjoyed by the reviewer. The reading public can decide for themselves wether or not they want to try it. We may want to wait until the restaurant works the kinks out, it’s not a holiday, they have more competent workers, etc… before spending money on a burned pizza. They are lucky they have a long history of great pizza making behind them, because serving burned food could be a death sentence for a restaurant.

Avatar Chris July 8, 2021 at 11:36 am

Taking current situations (many were mentioned here) into account should often be the case. Obviously there are some restaurants that are just terrible but we really are in some unique times and businesses are struggling due to all the factors mentioned. What’s really different here is that Judy has in fact done exactly that (take the newness into consideration) and did a 2nd review after some time passed and gave the establishment a more favorable review if warranted.

Avatar Geoff Page July 8, 2021 at 11:43 am

Chris, I’m confused. This was her first time at this particular restaurant and she made no allowance for the newness. How are you getting this from her piece? She panned the place because of the name of a menu item right from the start, damning them at the outset. At that point, the food di not matter.

Avatar El July 8, 2021 at 10:25 am

Chriis

“ I had NEVER heard or seen anyone complain about it.”
“You are in the minority…”

Spend a lot of time watching people order that pizza?

El

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