For pizza purists like me, toppings are quite inconsequential. So long as the crust and sauce are perfect, I have no need of anything else—at a place like Pizza Maria, just give me a marinara pie with a sprinkle of oregano.
This Mississippi pizzeria and ice-cream shop makes the opposite argument, and rather convincingly. The crust doesn't have much character, but each pie is topped with fanciful seasonal combinations such as "high mountain" chanterelles and pecorino al tartufo, a raw, sheep's milk cheese with white and black truffles mixed in, or locally made salami with meaty oil-cured olives and Mama Lil's peppers.
On the side, rather than dry pepper flakes, Lovely's gives you a little chutney of roasted Calabrian peppers in oil, which I would happily hook straight into my veins.
Don't skip over the salads, which on our visit included juicy fresh peaches, toasted hazelnuts and California blue cheese. The drink program includes a small and constantly changing selection of wines, super-fresh RPM IPA, and tart raspberry basil kombucha made in house.
And then, of course, there's the ice cream. Our favorite was made with Charentais melon, an heirloom variety of cantaloupe, which tasted so much like a melon I thought I might have to spit out a few seeds.
Pro tip: If the families get to be too much, it's right next door to Interurban, a great bar.
GO: 4039 N Mississippi Ave., 281-4060, lovelysfiftyfifty.com. 5-10 pm Tuesday-Sunday. $-$$.