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Hot Peppered Pizza on the Highway to Hell: A Review

Los Angeles has an ever-replenishing supply of consumers under 30, aided by the presence of lots of top tier colleges, and, oh yes,  the draw of Hollywood fame and fortune.  Are they eating 3 course meals and sipping $100 bottles of wine?  Not so much.  Pizza?  Yep.   And not Pizza Hut, Papa John’s or Domino’s.

Point of fact: indy pizza joints are popping up in trendy Los Feliz and Silver Lake  almost as fast as wine bars. Actually, they are usually within a storefront of each other. Such is the case with Lucifer’s Pizza, on Hillhurst.  You might not fly such a restaurant name in the heart of the Bible belt, but it is doing just fine where black clothing is de riguer, even for toddlers (seriously!).  The place proclaims itself to be “Damned good.”  Get it?  The hook of the menu is that you get to decide how spicy your pizza will be: “zero,” “medium,” “fiery” or “blazing”.    Go for blazing and fresh cut hot peppers, pickled peppers, and housemade chili sauce will end up on your pizza, which you can order in personal or large sizes.  Sandwiches, wings and salad round out the food choices.

Being in Rome, my dining partner did as a Roman and ordered the spiciest pizza there was, and made it blazing.  I went with zero as I was hungry and if lost feeling in my mouth, what the hell (!) would I eat?    We got some water/Coke out of the cooler (you can bring your own beer and wine; they don’t have a license) and waited quite a long time.  We took plenty of peeks behind the counter; the kitchen seemed to be a little overwhelmed with take-out orders.   We people-watched, seated at our table shaped like a coffin, spurning groups of three or more who were trying to get us two to move so they could have our bigger table.   You’ll pry this comfy coffin from my cold dead hands, hipster.

The thin crust pizzas, a bit greasy with cheese, showed up.    John reported his was very spicy but far from inedible (you’d have to bring food literally on fire to be too spicy for him).  I tried a  pepperoni slice off his which had been soaked in the chili sauce. Hot on its own, never mind the fresh sliced hot peppers all over the pie.   My Sicilian sausage with fresh tomatoes was okay,  but we are pretty sure we were eating dough not made in house.  Dough is a big part of setting yourself a cut above as a pizza joint.

The point in coming here is not necessarily nuanced ingredients, however.  It is about  being guaranteed access to very hot peppers, wearing black, being in a black room and not spending too much money to do so.   Lucifer’s succeeds on all the above counts, but has a way to go to beat Garage Pizza a few blocks away, where they make the dough in house (rumor has it that the chef cut his teeth at Joe’s Pizza in New York!) and slices are ready to go almost instantly, with a wide choice of toppings, too.

Lucifer’s Pizza is located at 1958 Hillhurst Avenue in Los Angeles.