Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Café Lotti Food Review

The area just north of Tenley Circle is flush with dining options: Cava Mezze Grill, Chipotle, McDonalds and Z-Burger, just to name a few. Nando's Peri Peri is on its' way: Ditto for Firelake Grill. So where does that leave newcomer Café Lotti? Judging by today's lunch, and several drive-bys (it's almost always empty)... It's on shaky ground at best.

The first time I walked into Café Lotti was about a month ago: It was Sunday, and the door was open... about 4 in the afternoon. I waited a couple of minutes before a guy outside came inside, and told me they weren't open. Hmm, that's a first. I tried again today, and found success! Well, sort of. They were open.

It was 12:30 (the middle of the lunch rush) and I was the only customer. I received a warm welcome, and ordered one of their specials (any slice of pizza and a fountain drink for $3.99.) I chose pepperoni (they had five choices total.) The young man heated my slice in the oven, and I took a seat at the counter. The restaurant is relatively clean, but I miss the tables and coziness of former tenant Blimpie.

I was surprised to wait more than five minutes for my slice. Once again, I was the only customer. I figured it out moments later: The employee was playing a handheld video game (sound on) and must have forgotten my pizza. He put my slice on a tray and handed it to me with a smile. It was hard not to notice brown and char on the paper plate it rested on: He put the pizza and the plate in the oven. Duh.

As for the pizza, it was incredibly greasy and almost inedible (although the crust was crispy!) Deal or no deal, I wouldn't dream of ordering pizza here (or anything else for that matter) ever again. As I struggled to finish a few bites, an older gentleman came in and asked how much it would cost to order a medium, three-topping pizza. The employee (still friendly and polite) struggled for an answer, even after flipping through his own paper menu. More than a minute later, he came up with, "a medium cheese pizza is $10.99." Nice. The old guy left... needless to say without a pizza, an order or a prayer. Going by the success of my slice, he should consider himself lucky.

I'd be surprised if Café Lotti is still here next summer. There seems to be an abundance of options for a relatively small market, and Lotti sadly ranks at the bottom of the pile. Go forward... and elsewhere.

Atmosphere: C
Crust: B (It was in the oven for so long...)
Toppings: F (Greasy cheese and pepperoni)
Service: D
Value: B- (It's a great deal on paper... Unfortunately Café Lotti cooks the paper too.)
Overall: D- (It's not a total nightmare, but I won't visit again)