Kid Hit Menu Items: The Luggage Room at LGO in Pasadena is about Pizza. Pizza. Pizza. There’s a select list of salads, sides, and apps, but the emphasis here is on the wood-burning oven-made pies created with a tangy sourdough starter and served on easy-to-pass and unbreakable wood boards.
Adult Perks: This modern pizzeria inserted into an old annex has a full liquor license and a fancy retro-inspired cocktail list with top shelf selections, plus craft beers on tap and wine list. You can’t go wrong with a meal of Craftsman 1903 lager and pizza. Our veggie quotient was filled by the spry, fresh Green Day salad ($8) with pomegranate seeds and shaved Parm, and a side of baby artichokes with preserved lemon and ribbons of sweet peppers ($9).
Pros: The Luggage Room is attached to La Grande Orange Café, so they get the kid thing, and there’s something to appeal to everybody. The service was courteous and efficient. It’s an upscale but down to earth place; this “ambiance,” as my grandpa likes to say, exists in large part thanks to the space’s historic character and the sensitive adaptive reuse.
Cons: No reservations. Wall openings are relative few since this building was originally a storage room, so not being able to actually SEE the Del Mar Metro stop is a big drawback for our boy. Messing with his expectations of the usual LGO experience proved challenging, and he was unhappy about not having French fries AND not being able to watch the trains. So we spent a lot of time on the platform in between courses.
Changing Station: Yes
High Chairs: Yes
Parking and Access: Valet ($6 during dinner), garage, street. Or take the Gold Line!
Other Tidbits: Candelabra sconces, hanging chandeliers over the big bar in the middle, dark surfaces (many of which would wind up as reclaimed wood bars, salvage materials and such in other chic establishments if this building were no longer standing), concrete floors, and open kitchen create what would be a sophisticated, relatively cheerful cave that I wouldn’t mind holing up in. The Luggage Room works as either a full grown-up meal or lunch/early dinner with the whole family. A massive wood burning oven is the center showpiece of the open kitchen at the Luggage Room, telling us that they Take Pizza Seriously. (Disclosure: I was invited to try the Luggage Room during its first week, so the restaurant hosted most of our meal.)
Crusts retain a lovely balance of crispy and yielding, with gentle crackling and bubbling around the edges and a beautiful carbonized char underneath. The menu plays with the classics, since a moderate amount of sliced garlic dots the top of the Margherita ($11), and the roasted tomato sauce is just a tad sweet. Slices of fresh mozzarella are added right before serving and don’t melt onto the surface; generally I wouldn’t be so thrilled with that, but it gave me something to feed the baby. And the Luggage Room isn’t going for Vera Pizza Napoletana status anyway. We stuck to an all veg plan (don’t worry, the menu includes meat topping options, too) and also sampled the mushroom pizza with fennel without the usual tomato sauce, as per one of our party member’s dietary needs, which works great. After all, I doubt Mozza‘s customers complain about the fact that mushrooms sit on a pizza bianca base. While anything more than about four items TOTAL feels like The Works, I went with the Mother Earth ($13) that’s heavily weighed down with artichokes, broccolini, olives, roasted peppers, and fennel. On rare occasions it can be fun to stray from one’s usual streamline pizza preferences when the ingredients are top quality. And the many pizza leftovers made for delicious breakfast and lunch the next day, except for the dense chocolate cake with vanilla ice cream and whipped cream, which the kid and I demolished on-site.
260 S. Raymond Ave.
Hours: Monday – Thursday, 5 – 10 p.m.; Friday and Saturday 5 – 11 p.m.; Sunday 5 – 10 p.m.