Pizza Taste Off—The Verdict is in!

More than Pizza and Authentic Family-Style Italian Cuisine, Louie’s is Serving Up a Slice of Tradition

Louie’s Pizza and Italian Restaurant was started in 1965 in Ketchum-Sun Valley, Idaho. The legacy has passed to second-generation Lou Mallane who continues the family heritage in creating authentic Italian food right here in Meridian.

Many will agree that the secret to a great tasting pizza is in the crust.

“Our crust is like a New York version. It's thinner, and the biggest difference is we use flour that's not high in gluten and doesn't have bromate, which is a known carcinogen and also ages flour fast," Lou explains. We try and go with as natural of a flour as possible.”

Louie’s doesn’t stop at great tasting crust; all of their other ingredients are carefully sourced from local suppliers whenever possible.

“We make our own sausage, the cheese is from Idaho and our sauce is fresh with no sugar added, made from fresh cold-packed tomatoes instead of super concentrated, which are essentially boiled to a paste,” Lou says. “I try and do everything fresh from Idaho sources and also use herbs grown in our garden, so I try do it right.”

Meet the Judges

+ Kenneth West, student and pizza lover

+ Brooke Hensen, online marketer and SEO expert

+ Hadley Mayes, public information officer, Ada County Paramedics

+ Peder Humlen-Ahearn, deputy director-education, Ada County Paramedics

+ Austin Dillion, manager in food and nutrition services, St. Luke’s Hospital

+ Jake Bowman, head chef, St. Luke’s Hospital

Round 1 — The Louie’s Deluxe

Brooke: “The tomato tastes really, really fresh.”

Kenneth: “Tastes really good.”

Jake: “I like the crunch of the bottom of the dough. And then you have the soft layer and then the extra crunch with the bell peppers and onions on top. It’s a nice balance in the mouth.”

Austin: “The crust is very crunchy and has the right amount of toppings too. It wasn’t overwhelming or underwhelming.”

Peder: “It wasn’t so much that it falls off the pizza.”

Hadley: “I don’t usually like ham, but that was really good.”

Round 2 — The Family Style

Jake: “I think the sausage is the hero of this one, which I think the sausages bomb. It’s unique. It has a lot of fennel, which I enjoy.”

Peder: “Yeah, it’s perfect. The flavors complement each other really well, and the meats and the fennel seed just makes it pop.”

Brooke: “Same as the last pizza, I enjoyed the crust, crisp on the bottom, and then it’s like gooey in the middle. Perfect.

Kenneth: “The crust is bready but crunchy at the same time.”

Jake: “I think the sauce is also excellent. You can tell it's complex, but it's not so many different flavors to bog down the taste of the pizza. It's just a good, simple tomato sauce with good tomatoes, and it just brings it all up together.”

Hadley: "The food is amazing. It tastes the exact same as when I was a kid.”

Round 3 — Chicken Vesuvio

Jake: “The onions under the cheese, it was a nice surprise.”

Austin: “I can’t think of anything on this pizza that doesn’t belong here.”

Peder: “I don't want to be cliché, but it's like an explosion, it really is.”

Hadley: “I don’t tend to like spicy, but this is really good because it’s sweet too.”

Brooke: “I like the onion best on this one; it adds a little bit of crunch.”

Kenneth: “I like the slight kick from the Chipotle.”

Peder: "The flavors are clean, they're crisp and they compliment each other well; it's not greasy."

The Food

Round 1 — The Louie’s Deluxe: pepperoni, mushrooms, house-made sausage, ham, onion and green peppers

Round 2 — The Family Style: house-made sausage, pepperoni and mushrooms

Round 3 — Chicken Vesuvio: parmesan and mozzarella, chicken, red onion, pineapple, spicy chipotle sauce and fresh cilantro.

The Verdict

While each of the pizzas was devoured and enjoyed by all, the front runner was the Louie’s Deluxe pizza, with the fresh veggies and tasty sausage as the highlights. The next favorite was the Chicken Vesuvio; being drizzled with the Chipotle made it a close second. Coming in third was the Family Style, a fennel-infused sausage pizza with a slight kick. Despite everyone having their favorites, the takeaway was that while the flavors were impressive and the crust was perfect, it’s the love of family tradition and good ingredients that are most memorable at Louie’s.

2500 E. Fairview Ave., Meridian

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