I stopped by Lazy Moon Pizza to see the restaurant’s new digs the other day. You may recall that Lazy Moon was one of the businesses forced out of the strip mall at the corner of Alafaya Trail and University Boulevard when it was sold to a developer. The strip was demolished and new student-targeted housing is currently under construction. (For some reason, every time I drive by and see the construction of the apartments, that old folk song about all the houses made of ticky tacky pops into my head.)
That old strip mall had been in decline for years. Apparently, with “grander” plans for the real estate, the owners held off on any improvements. The business owners had been warned for years that the end would come eventually.
But, situated directly across the street from the University of Central Florida, the first Lazy Moon was a convenient student hangout. And it certainly had a student vibe with its funky interior and decidedly laid back attitude.
When I visited the original location, a couple of years ago, I was fairly underwhelmed. No, that’s not quite accurate. I had to list the pizza I ordered as one of the worst I had ever had. How bad was it? I threw most of it away. Even lousy pizza usually gets saved for a late night leftover.
The new Moon is a bit farther down University Boulevard. The space is larger, maybe three times the size of the old place. And it’s prettier, too, with less of that student milieu funk. But it hasn’t gotten too fancy. The place still operates in the same way, which, at least in one instance, is a bit of a problem. But more on that in a moment.
The best thing I can say about the new Lazy Moon is that the pizza is much improved over the one I tossed. In fact, I liked the slice I had on my recent visit rather well. I was told by LM fans after my visit to the old place that my mistake had been in ordering a whole pie and not just a slice. And, it should be noted that the whole pies are really big. No, I mean enormous. I had difficulty getting the box into my car.
So I didn’t want to make that mistake this time -- or discard all that pie if it was the same.
But the slice I had, with sausage and mushroom, had a nice thin crust, just the right amount of tomato sauce and plenty of the ordered toppings. One complaint: the slices are, as mentioned previously, so large that it is nearly impossible to lift one and eat it with one’s hands the way God intended for pizza to be consumed. It’s just too unwieldy. And I feel like an idiot eating pizza with a knife and fork. It’s just so wrong.
The dining area of Lazy Moon is spacious and has a good hum about it when full, which it was when I visited. Tables are wood with a stainless steel topper, which gives it an industrial look. But then there’s a plant wall with greenery tucked into pouches, sort of like the vegetation wall at Winter Park’s Prato, but bigger. That softens the look a bit.
Guests still place their orders at the counter and then take a seat. And staffers still deliver the food by calling out the guests’ names.
And that’s where the problem comes in. At the old place the server just stepped out into the dining area and called the name and the guest, just a few tables away, at most, would raise a hand. In the larger place, the staffers have to walk from one end of the restaurant to the other, calling all the way. It isn’t so much a distraction -- it’s a noisy place anyway and the shouting adds to the bustle -- as it is an inefficient way to deliver food. It’s the irritating practice of “auctioning the food” taken to a whole new level.
But the owners apparently recognize the problem and are seeking a solution.
If that’s the only kink they have to iron out in a whole new location, it’s not so bad.
Lazy Moon is at 11551 University Blvd., Orlando. It is open for lunch and dinner daily. Here’s a link to the Lazy Moon website. The phone number is 407-658-2396.