As a pizza afficionado, I never knew what to make of Lilly's down in Five Points. I'm a fan of thin, crust Neapolitan and Lilly's doesn't do za, that way. I've eaten at Lilly's many times but never knew what the big deal was, and wasn't always interested in the lines and limited parking. Which is a shame since I live about a mile away from this Raleigh classic. But tonight, I think I got Lilly's. She's a sweet girl and you just need to appreciate her for what she's good at.
Inside Lilly's you'll usually find super-eclectic decor (airplane on ceiling, funky pictures, bumper stickers ), rock music blaring out of the overhead speakers, all making for a hip neighborhood scene. It's really a spot for locals given the location. Salads, strombolis, pizza and wings, the menu is small with an emphasis on high-quality ingredients. I go with the Thai wings and a slice of sausage pizza to keep things simple. A nice cold pint of Newcastle keeps me company at the table.
Ten minutes after I put my order in, I get my slice and it's a puffy triangle covered in melted muzz and thick slices of sausage. Lilly's pizza is probably best eaten with knife and fork until it cools down. The crust here is definitely different. Tastes like whole-grain so there's some texture and bite on the bottom but inside it still remains really fluffy. The dough has some sweetness along with the sauce so it's definitely different than what I usually get elsewhere. But overall still a very good, if UN-traditional slice of pizza. What really blows me away for me are the wings. A dozen wings arrive in a ceramic plate. Very little coating, no sauce, just a pretty bare wing with some coconut milk and spices baked in. And here's where the magic happens. By baking the wings you get super-tender, juicy chicken which is just really enhanced by the crisp skin and light spicing. As much as I like my fried wings, I'd say oven-baked is a better barometer of good chicken and here it's where Lilly's really rocks it out. I'm wolfing these down and realizing I am eating WAY too much food but it's that good, yum!
Service during my visit was fine but during busy, peak periods, things can get hectic and that's where I usually hear complaints. But can you really fault Lilly's for being the uber-popular girl on the block? So it's been a while since I've eaten here but really glad I made an effort to come back for a delicious visit! So glad we could hook up tonight, Lilly's. You're a little bit different but in a really, great way...
1813 Glenwood Avenue
Raleigh, NC 27608
Lilly's Pizza - Reviewer: Ron Wen - Rating: 4 out of 5 stars