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Lilly’s Pizza Raleigh- Review: Uncooked Dough Is Not Cute

Posted by Spencer Hope Davis on November 13, 2010 in Urbanspoon Reviews, Vegan Dining Out |

Let me cut to the chase. Lilly’s Pizza has a serious oven problem. Their dough comes out uneven and grossly undercooked in many cases. I’m not the first to complain about this and I hope that the word goes out loud enough for the owners to make a much needed quality change.

When you walk in Lilly’s you’ll certainly get a nice vibe. It’s a loud and eclectic neighborhood pizza parlor. Lots of interesting people are all around. Diverse. Singles. Families. Friendly staff and table service once you place your order at the bar. That’s ambiance. Nothing to do with the food. I came for the food and there in lies the rub. From their online site, I could see some interesting vegan choices. A vegan black bean soup. Something called a Fuzzi Duck, which is a salad with fake chicken strips. Pizza topping choices include tofu, fake chicken, and vegan cheese.

I planned to try the Vegan Stromboli ($9 with grilled tofu, atomic sauce, organic mushrooms, organic corn and homemade pico salsa. ) and a slice of pizza. My one slice would be made to order to fit the description of the Buddha pizza that Lilly’s offers. It was an expensive slice, mainly because most vegan/vegetarian toppings are double priced, whether you go by the slice or whole pizza. I wanted to try the Buddha without getting a whole pie, so I swallowed hard and ignored how much this one would cost. You start with the $2.30 per slice base and add either .50 or 1.00 each for toppings to make it a Buddha (Extra virgin olive oil, organic garlic, organic baby spinach, sharp white cheddar, roma tomatoes, organic zucchini, kalamata olives, parmesan & feta ) Obviously I substituted the vegan cheese. I asked and was told they use Diaya Cheese. Good. My dining partner a non-vegan ordered a Pig in the Poke Calzone. ($11)

The slice came out first and I immediately thought that they were heavy on the veggies and skimpy on the vegan cheese. So much so that there was little melting together of the cheese- just a drizzle like effect. See this post to see how well vegan cheese can be applied to pizza. The initial bite had a crispy crust but as I worked my way upwards I noticed the a bad chewiness begin. Before I could think on this too much my gigantic Stromboli arrived. It was huge! For me, it was at least 3 servings. First bite again, was crisp and good. The atomic sauce was excellent. But then I started to notice something I thought looked melted and gooey throughout the Stromboli. I thought it was cheese. Did they make it vegetarian instead of vegan? I toyed with it a bit. As you can see in the second picture, the tofu chunks are clearly identified but what looks like cheese is present almost like a layer along the bottom.

I took it to the cashier and he told me several times that the gooey mess was uncooked dough. Said their ovens were bad and this is the way it most times comes out. He said it several times because I kept asking him, “Are you sure?” I really would have preferred it was a cheese mistake than the restaurant willingly serving uncooked food. The really bad part about this is that because it kind of seemed cheesy, people who don’t eat cheese probably are the only ones that notice. Imagine how many just eat this crap thinking it’s cheese! My calzone eating friend had the same problem. He elected to take his home and re-bake it. Not me. I requested and got the entire tab refunded. This was a bad stomach ache inducing experience and the nonchalant attitude over the dough soured me on trying any non-dough items. Quality doesn’t seem to be a main ingredient at Lilly’s. Won’t be back.

Lilly’s Pizza on Urban Spoon: Lilly's Pizza on Urbanspoon


  • J Garrison says:

    To the contrary, I always enjoy my Lilly’s fix and view your argument as overly critical. A stromoli laden with fresh veggies will tend to be slightly doughy even when well cooked. Same thing for a calzone with pineapples.

    • Critical but not overly so. I spoke of the good sauces, portions, and initial tastes as being good. But the dough was messy and uncooked in many spots. It had nothing to do with my choice of a veggie version. If you note I said that my non vegan friend ordered a Pig in the Poke which is full of sausage. He had the same problem and had to recook his meal later. More importantly the restaurant itself admitted their familiarity with the problem with the dough. They as much as said that I wasnt the first to have that problem. That trumps all opinions and becomes a fact. I eat at a lot of places and I try to judge places on their own menus. I will refer readers to places I think are better. Didnt like Lilly’s. Glad you like them. I didnt.

      • J Garrison says:

        Spencer should read the menu and get the story straight as there is no sausage in the Pig in a Poke calzone. The argument still holds no water as any bread stuffed with pico de gallo, corn, tofu, mushrooms, and a sauce will tend to be ‘messy’ but still very delicious. Maybe you are accustomed to frozen, crisp veggies void of nutrients. However, I still find Lilly’s at the top of my places to go list with everything being organic, natural, and fresh!

        • I stand corrected in my REPLY to your comment but not in my post. I did make the error in my REPLY to you that the Pig in a Poke had sausage. It has pepperoni, shrimp, and other things. As I am a vegan I didnt pay attention to the items in this menu item because I don’t eat it and did not order it, but I did know that it had meat and your point of focusing on veggies was apparently an issue for you. Bread/dough should be cooked no matter what’s on it or in it. Since my post was focused on what I ate I focused on that. Again, in my original post I made no mistake in discussing the Pig in the Poke. My attention was on MY food. I only mentioned what my non vegan dining buddy ate and stated that he had the same problem I had with the dough. Seems you have an issue with my eating vegetables? I assure you my veggies are not void of nutrients, and I am not accustomed to frozen foods. I am very familiar with organic, natural, and fresh foods whether at home or eating out.

          I stand by my experience and the food review. Perhaps you should now focus on talking to the mgt at Lilly’s as they admitted that they have ongoing problems with their ovens and that their dough is often uncooked. THAT holds a lot of water! (using your term) If you’ve never noticed this then perhaps you arent used to properly cooked foods? Lillys should cook their food whether it’s veggies or shrimp. Cook the food! I was surprised by their nonchalant admission of the issue of the dough and I posted it. I don’t want to eat someplace that has this issue. Look. I keep saying: If you like Lilly’s –good for you. Keep going there. Tell all your friends to go there. It’s ultimately your stomach and your taste buds. My experience and my post stands.

  • Shawn says:

    The Triangle Vegetarian Society has for more than 5 years enjoyed our New Year’s Eve Party with delicious pizzas from Lilly’s. Always a stellar performance! Note that we host the nation’s largest vegetarian Thanksgiving dinner annually right here in Durham. And, one further note on the reviewers comments; Lillys does serve a wonderful gluten-free pizza.

    • Wow. It is clear that Lilly’s has two very devoted fans. I am glad that your experiences with them have been good. However, mine was not, and that is what I have posted on my blog and that blog is also on urbanspoon. I wish that my experience had been a good one but it was not. What happened, happened. What I was told about the ovens and the uncooked dough was not my creation. Of the reviews I have on urbanspoon, the vast majority are positive. The two of you disagree with my Lilly’s review. I have no problem with this.

      Let me be clear. I have nothing personal against Lilly’s. I am not a fan. I am not a champion. I am a food and travel blogger who reviews with impartiality. I went into their restaurant and had a poor dining experience that I blogged on. No one from Lilly’s has attempted to communicate with me, nor do I think that they should. They gave me my money back. I didnt even ask for that refund. I just asked them why the dough was as it was, and I was told that they had ongoing oven problems. A problem that has been mentioned by others on urbanspoon.

      Shawn, as I never commented on the gluten free pizza, this is your comment. I am also glad that on the occasions of your functions their pizza has been “stellar.” Would not want you to have uncooked dough as I did. Please remember that if you have something to say about Lilly’s you can always go to urbanspoon and write your own review or post it on your own site. I moderate comments and I’ve never rejected a comment, but I really see no reason to go back and forth on my blog and give you further space to promote a restaurant that I wouldnt in the end recommend. That seems odd. Take it over to urbanspoon please. Peace to you.

      To readers of my blog: Check my listing of vegan dining out reviews for places that I would recommend. You can click that listing from the side bar of any page.

      For pizza I say go to zpizza. For Asian fare, Spring Rolls is my favorite. For Italian, Carrabbas does a wonderful job. For diner fare, I frequent The Remedy in downtown Raleigh. I also enjoy eating at Pei Wei.

      Thank you for reading and subscribing o the blog. Please keep looking for my blogs on great vegan food in the triangle and beyond!

      Spencer Hope Davis

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