Rest in pizza to Pizza Lounge. I am pouring one out—in this case, it’s the liquid gold, orange grease from a curled-up pepperoni cup—for the Expo Park pie joint. Last week, there was a sign up on the door explaining that they were short-staffed and therefore closed. In a Facebook post today, the pizzeria announced its official closure was on Sunday, January 9.
“There were plans to expand,” the post says, “but unfortunately it couldn’t come to fruition, and there are other factors forcing our closure.” I hope it’s not the last we see of Pizza Lounge. It provided vegan pies in an era before lab-made “meat” made it mainstream.
Started by longtime friends from North Canton, Ohio, Pizza Lounge was born from the minds of Mike Habony and Dave Liebermann (affectionately known as Gen and Scoob, respectively). After 12 years as a late-night favorite for both meaty and vegan pies alike, the pizzeria is sadly bowing out. But first, an ode to my favorite garlic knots in town.
Last year, in a round-up for Super Bowl takeout grub, I wrote about Pizza Lounge thusly:
This pizzeria by Fair Park makes big, round hearty pies that put the thin-crust counterparts to shame. While the dough is light on flavor and intrigue, the toppings—from Jimmy’s Italian sausage to habanero peppers to a cheeseburger in pizza form—make up for it ten-fold. The garlic knots are the greasiest, best knots in town.
They really were… Sure, there’s Pizza Leila which also has really great knots. Pie Tap does, too, because of that side of parmesan cheese dip. But that’s not what we’re talking about right now! Right now, we are being rightly sad.
To my dearest Pizza Lounge garlic knots, I will remember your oily exterior fondly—all the better to tear into your steamy, doughy insides. May we live as boldly as you were garlicky.