She said she wanted pizza…

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Your daughter wants pizza for her 9th birthday lunch. Where do you go?

You want something fun, though you’d also like to avoid the classic cardboard-with-squished-tomatoes-and-cheese that passes for pizza in most padawan-friendly pizzerias. Even if it is topped by something that technically qualifies as “meat.”

But what 9 year old truly appreciates good pizza?

I’ve got a suggestion: try Farrelli’s.

***

I’ll admit I was a bit disappointed when my daughter ordered the cheese pizza kids meal, but then I started looking at her menu. This was one well-endowed kids meal, including refills on chocolate milk.

There was also something about play dough I meant to ask about, but before I could use my blue crayon to beat my child in a third straight game of tic-tac-toe, our server arrived.

“Anyone want to play with some dough?”

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Sure enough. Three kids, three plates, three lumps of pizza dough. Hours of entertainment right there. (Well, not hours, but pizza takes a few minutes to cook.) Before we knew it, our eldest had built a “dough man,” our daughter had molded a weird face, and our youngest had channeled his inner piranha. Yes, he took a bite.

Glad it was edible.

IMG_2557Then while my wife and I were eating our side salads, the server appeared again with three more plates. Yes, more dough. But this time, the dough had been hand tossed and adorned with cups of sauce, cheese, and freshly-sliced pepperoni. It was time for the kids to make their own pizzas!

***

While everyone’s pizza baked, I wandered around the restaurant. I could see why it is such a popular 6th Ave. attraction. The front doors open to the bend in a horseshoe bar. To the right, the pizza ovens and family seating. To the left, a fully stocked bar at one end of an open seating area. Full length windows look out on to the street, even at the far end, where a double-sided fireplace warms diners who choose to sit around the pool table. Large screen TVs in every corner and games of chance on the walls mean that the pizzeria is well-suited to the greet the weekend revelers and university students that frequent one of the most active neighborhoods in Tacoma.

 

And the pizza is really good.

My wife and I ordered the “Jack and John,” so I’ll simply quote from the menu:

“Herbed olive oil base, Italian sausage, green and black olives, artichoke hearts, green onions, sliced mushrooms and a blend of mozzarella and provolone cheese.”

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This is one of Farrelli’s non-red sauce specialties. The pizza menu – in addition to all the other Italian fare – offers self-designed pizzas (gluten free options available), red sauce “classics,” and these delicious creations that  come with anything from an alfredo base to pesto to jalapeño cream cheese.

I really did eat too much.

Then we found out that the birthday girl got a free dessert from the menu. She decided on gourmet ice cream sandwiched between two warm chocolate chunk cookies, and because it was too much for one 9 year old, we shared.

On the way out, Farrelli’s surprised us once more. All kids get to take a helium balloon with them.

You have to be a parent to understand why that last sentence matters.

But you don’t have to be a parent to enjoy great pizza in a hip urban corner of Tacoma.

And for that, you can’t do better than Farrelli’s.

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