There are dozens of places to get tasty pizza in central Illinois. Even though thin crust is the predominant specialty of this area there are still plenty of pizzerias that serve an excellent thick crust and even Chicago style deep dish. However, if you want an authentic, Italian Neapolitan style pizza there is only one place in central Illinois you can get it, and that place is the Lake Pointe Grill.
At the heart of Lake Pointe Grill you'll find their Mugnaini wood fired pizza oven. The oven was imported from Italy and the restaurant was literally built around this authentic pizza cooker. Lake Pointe Grill owners Chris Hanken and Vic Lanzotti wanted to produce real authentic Neapolitan pizza and after doing some diligent research were introduced to the folks at Spacco Napoli in Chicago who make some of the best Neapolitan pizzas in Chicago. Through this connection the LPG partners learned the art of making a real authentic Italian pizza.
There are several factors that go into putting together a quality pizza napoletana. LPG starts with triple refined imported Italian flour (Antico Molino Caputo), salt and water to make their traditional Neapolitan pizza dough. The dough is hand formed and hand stretched and topped with only fresh quality ingredients. Neapolitan style Margherita pizza is a light flavorful crust topped with a homemade marinara, some tomato, creamy mozzarella and fresh basil. It's finished with a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of sea salt.
The star of the show is LPG's wood fired oven. It is stoked with a wood fire, burning white oak hardwood and can reach a temperature of 900 degrees F. The pizzas will normally cook in just a few minutes and sometimes as quickly as 90-120 seconds depending on how hot the oven is.
LPG pizza chef Kelly Skaggs demonstrated how they rotate the pie while cooking to get optimum "doneness” evenly around the edges and the technique of "flashing" the pizza right before it comes out of the oven to finish the authentic cooking process.
I sampled the margherita pizza on my first visit and then the white garlic pizza which had mozzarella, mushrooms and Italian sausage on roasted garlic cream sauce on my second visit. Both pies were nothing like I'd had anywhere around Springfield and they were both outstanding.
The passion for bringing a quality, traditional Italian pizza to Springfield has led Lake Pointe Grill to the status of one of a kind....at least within 100 miles in any direction. The menu at Lake Pointe Grill is diverse and wonderful, however for pizza lovers, and anyone who enjoys tasting authentic old world dishes, order a pizza and watch them fire up the oven and slide it there. It's more than worth the trip.
Click play to get a first hand look at Lake Pointe Grill's imported wood fired pizza oven.