Kid Hit Menu Items: It’s a beautiful and scary thing to introduce kids to the awesome delights of Mother Dough in Los Feliz. With a variable item that’s as readily available in the world at-large as pizza, the bar is suddenly set very high, and that might cause some trouble. Our two-year-old attacks the Margherita at Mother Dough with particular gusto. Yet for better or for worse, most children are psyched to eat dough covered with sauce, cheese and another ingredient or two, so I suppose we shouldn’t be overly freaked out about spoiling them too early with the truly good stuff. Neapolitan style pizzas ($15-19) arrive at the table faster these days, but in case you’re worried, order a burrata appetizer ($12) with extra toasts, and if possible, hold out for whatever special desserts might be available, such as roasted pears with crème fraîche and a light dusting of chocolate shavings. Philosophically this is mostly a cut-your-own-whole-pie kind of place; however, owner/pizzaiolo (and father of two young ones) Bez Compani will kindly slice his creations to make things easier for families. (Read more background and see other photos from a piece I wrote here.)
Adult Perks: Some kids might be into the pizza topped with plentiful strands of zucchini, but that tends to be more popular with the older folks in our party. The wine and beer list is small but with a handful of mostly Italian options available by the glass in various categories. No hard liquor license. Our eldest was confused about why he couldn’t order a pizza AND a Margherita. We tried to explain they’re one and the same here. And then he said he wanted the DRINK margarita. Huh?
Pros: The family pizza party at Mother Dough gets started right when the doors open at 6, with many of the tables occupied by diners who need to get to bed by 8, and they wrap up well in advance of when the real crowds start to come in. The forgiving space and handsomely aged materials have felt appropriately worn ever since Mother Dough hung its shingle last year. Commedia dell’arte inspired illustrations and menu graphics are fun to look at and discuss, along with the wall-mounted pig.
Cons: The main drawback has been remedied since Compani added a second person behind the counter to help prep the pizzas before he bakes each pie under his watchful eye. When it was a solo operation, the wait for food could be challenging. Unless the music is turned loud enough to drown out echoing, we wind up shushing a lot. No lunch service as of yet, and no take out. If dinner were to start as early as 5, we’d be down.
High Chairs: Yes
Parking and Access: Valet parking or try to nab a meter on the street.
Other Tidbits: Along with grousing about bagels and Chinese food, it’s safe to add pizza to the list of foods that are downright wrong to bitch about in Los Angeles. When a charming friendly restaurant has a major pizza furnace custom made by Naples-based master oven crafters that’s manned by a guy who knows how to churn out pies with tangy carbonized crusts pulled taught and baked to form surfaces like delicate yeasty veils, things have really started to look up here and elsewhere around town. Granted, we’re more likely to rely on Tomato Pie on, say, a Tuesday night because of price and convenience factors. Mother Dough is not the kind of place where we can order a couple of Margheritas delivered right to our doorstep. Nor would we want it to be.
4648 Hollywood Blvd., Los Feliz
Hours: Tuesday – Sunday, 6 p.m. – 11 p.m.