DeLuca’s Italian Restaurant and Pizzeria
If you were to come on a trip to Lansing, Michigan and stopped random strangers on the street and asked them for the best Italian in town I would bet that at least half of them would tell you to go to DeLuca’s, and the other half probably aren’t from Lansing. This icon of Italian opened in 1960 by Pat DeLuca was originally called the Willow Bar (as it is on Willow St.) for Lansing’s factory workers. The business exploded greatly due to their pizza which was a newer concept to America back in the 1960′s.
Today DeLuca’s is owned and operated by Pat’s three sons John, Chuck and Tom. The business continues to grow and flourish because the basic principles haven’t changed since they opened their doors over 50 eyars ago–offering a consistant menu with good food and qualitiy ingredience. Everyday the sauces and dough are made by John, Chuck or Tom. Same goes for other secret family recipes such as the chocolate cake…but let’s not get ahead of ourselves…
Our tour of Italy began with the Homemade Garlic Sticks. The regular order comes with 6 mini-loaves of bread made from DeLuca’s special pizza dough, then topped with garlic butter and a generous amount of mozerella cheese melted over the whole plate. Served with sides of ranch dressing and homemade maranara sauce rich with oregano, basil and chunks of tomato, this alone could be a meal. The Meatball Soup was our next stop. Tomato-based broth was loaded with large slices of zucchini, carrots, potato and, of course, meatballs. The meatballs are a mix of pork and beef that is tender and delicious. The seasoning of the meat is not too intense but adds a little kick of spice at the end. A hearty soup that is more like a stew.
What Italian restaurant would be complete without spaghetti and lasagna? DeLuca’s serves up their delicate angel hair pasta tossed with their fresh maranara then covered with mozzerella cheese. The lasagna is the classic layering of noodles, ricotta, mozerella and meat sauce. Fresh ground beef is added to the house maranara to create this hearty sauce. Both the lasagna and spaghetti are very large portions; big enough to share. We promise you will not leave hungry.
Oh what a Lasagna….
When our server, Sara, brought out our pizza we were overwhelmed with the ample toppings. There are many speciality pizzas at DeLuca’s but we tried the House Special. DeLuca’s medium thick crust can be adjusted to thin crust or deep dish—all you have to do is ask. The crust is crisp on the bottom and soft in the middle then topped with a layer of DeLuca’s secret pizza sauce. Then they pile on the toppings: mozerella, shaved smokey ham, pepperoni, diced green peppers, slices of onion, thick slices of mushroom and diced tomatoes. Absolutely delicious! So much food packed onto one slice of pizza, it’s amazing. Sara told us when we come back again that we need to try the deep dish style Spinach pizza. She said she always warns everyone how big the deep dish is but no one believes her until it arrives to the table and everyone is in awe of just how ‘deep’ the deep dish really is. Most people only have one slice and they are full!! From seafood such as crab, shrimp and tuna to broccoli, artichoke and spinach–you name it and DeLuca’s has it on a pizza. We can’t wait to come back and try more of their award winning pizza! (In fact, we were told that DeLuca’s have lost count how many times they have won the award for the best pizza by the Lansing State Journal. )
While at Deluca’s have a dessert
The DeLuca’s may be most famous for their pizza but coming in a close second is their desserts. We didn’t have enough room to try them all but our server brought out her favorite…the CANNOLI !!! DeLuca’s make their own crispy pastry shell and fills it with rich sweetened ricotta cheese Places it on a plate drizzled with chocolate syrup and then dusts it lightly with powdered sugar–don’t forget the chocolate chips!! A truely Italian ending to an amazing Italian tour. You may also want to try the homemade tiramisu and chocolate cake–Aunt Louise’s secret recipe!
Happy Valentines Day
This review has the privilege of going live on Dine Michigan on one of the best days of the year to eat out, Valentines Day. It is fitting as we really fell in love with the flavors which came alive in the food we ate at DeLuca’s. So we say, take your loved one to DeLuca’s for a fine Italian meal today. However, if you can’t make it out on this special day just stop in and get a cake to go or enjoy a cannoli with the one you love.
2006 West Willow Road, Lansing