La Pizza House serves up a good slice

by Kristen Erickson

On a campus where a typical date involves pre-drinking before walking to the bar, not many students have the initiative to take their date out to eat.

La Pizza House is there to reward those who do.

Located at 1013 S.E. 14th St. on the south side of Des Moines, La Pizza House offers an environment as warm and inviting as one of its thin-crust pizzas.

“Once here, it’s habit forming … try and stay away,” the restaurant’s menu boasts.

And it’s true.

While I was reviewing the menu, a friendly older lady dining next to my date and I leaned over the small aisle between our booths to fill me in on the ways of La Pizza House.

“I’ve been coming here since I was younger than you,” she said.

Since it’s opening in 1952, La Pizza House has built a dedicated clientele that appear to have aged right along with the building. But the obvious generation gap didn’t stop them from being more than friendly to a couple college students. Everyone we encountered was amiable and chatty.

Just as the exceptional friendliness immediately won over my heart, the tasty food easily won over my stomach.

Taking the recommendation of the couple seated across from us, my date and I shared a small order of onion rings and then moved on to a small pepperoni pizza.

The onion rings were practically a meal in themselves-the type of thick-cut ring that makes you wish you could forget everything you ever learned about grease and cholesterol. Assuredly not for health nuts, but an enjoyable appetizer for those who don’t mind living a little.

The pizza was well worth the drive. Made with an exceptionally thin crust, the pizza easily set itself apart from the typical Pizza Hut or Godfather’s experiences. The tomato sauce tasted fresh and the cheese was delightful.

For the picky eater, the cooks are willing to make the pizza according to exactly what each customer wants. Want extra cheese? You got it. Have a hankering for anchovies and onion? Not a problem.

Seasonings are available mild, medium or hot, although the menu is quick to point out that the restaurant is “not responsible for items ordered hot!”

Closed Sundays, La Pizza House is open Monday through Wednesday from 5 p.m. until 11:30 p.m. and Thursday through Saturday from 4 p.m. until 1 a.m., which makes it a prime choice for a later dinner.

Those of age can also order from an impressive wine and cocktail menu, or enjoy a pitcher of beer with their pizza.

Drink prices are pretty average-$6 will buy a 72-ounce pitcher. Food prices run from a $6 half-order of spaghetti to a $12.95 seafood dinner.

If you’re not feeling the grease and calories vibe, La Pizza House also offers a full menu from country-style chicken to orange roughy to chef salad.

A limited children’s menu is available for those with kids in tow.

Take-out is another option if you’re on the run, although with such a great atmosphere inside, you might be missing out.

My date and I left with full tummies and we only spent about $20. That also covered our drinks and a tip.

While other resaurants offer the chance to dress up and eat gourmet food, La Pizza house offers good food in a relaxed atmosphere-and you’ll still have money left over to take your date to a movie.