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Cottonwood Heights • It's as fair to compare Pizzeria Limone to Settebello and Vinto as it is to stack it up against CafĂ© Rio and Chipotle. While the fare of Pizzeria Limone lands in the thin-crust pizza and gelato court of the former, the atmosphere and service are strikingly similar to the latter.

This fast-casual pizzeria, operating in a Cottonwood Heights strip mall, is a strange combination that still needs a few tweaks. As you stand in line looking at the menu on the wall before you place your order, you'll notice a chalkboard on your right. Don't ignore it. Here are some of the best items Pizzeria Limone offers.

At the top, you can hope to see the Pera pizza ($8.95) featuring fresh and aged mozzarella topped with olive oil then covered with thinly sliced fresh pears, prosciutto, red onions, garlic, basil and pistachios. Yes, I said pistachios. The crunchy addition to this wonderful pizza really picked up the nutty hints of the aged cheese as well as nicely complementing the pear.

An excellent fire-roasted tomato soup ($3.95) also makes its menu debut on the board, and it's worthy of ordering every time it's listed. The soup is spicy and focuses on this wonderful summer fruit with just a dollop of cream to cool it down.

There are many things I enjoyed about Pizzeria Limone but the traditional items most connected with Italy aren't among them. The margherita pizza ($6.95) featured halved cherry tomatoes as the only tomato product then added fresh basil and, inexplicably, a lot of red onions. What was most lacking, however, was mozzarella and olive oil, neither of which made noticable appearances.

The insalata Caprese ($5.95) salad failed to impress with unripe, nearly crunchy tomatoes and far too much cheap balsamic vinegar.

The Caesar side salad ($2.95), which isn't really Italian but is served in most Italian restaurants in America, was unlike any I've seen before. Something resembling Green Goddess dressing instead of Caesar was slathered over satisfactory lettuce and topped with a stingy sprinkle of Parmigiano. No croutons, no hint of anchovies, and definitely no Caesar dressing here.

The salad that did impress me was the Italiano ($6.95), with sausage, beets, mozzarella, garbanzo and kidney beans and pepperoncini. It was a very hearty and generally healthy combination topped with a creamy vinaigrette dressing and then served with a side of crosta wedges — a salty, savory pizza crust covered with Parmigiano reggiano and olive oil.

Returning to the thin-crust pizza, each is technically individually sized although I was never able to eat more than half at one sitting.

Stick with Pizzeria Limone's unusual combinations and you'll likely be pleased. Foremost is the namesake pizza, the Limone ($8.95), a bubbly thin-crust topped with fresh lemon slices, red onion, garlic, basil, olive oil and aged and fresh mozzarella. The Viola ($8.95), featuring prosciutto and blackberries, also got high marks.

For dessert, four kinds of gelato ($2.75) are offered from the freezer case, including chocolate, lemon, raspberry and vanilla. The lemon was refreshing but the deep, rich chocolate stole the show.

Service-wise, Pizzeria Limone has some quirks. On two visits, our pizzas arrived significantly before the salads. As this isn't a fine-dining restaurant, I wasn't tremendously bothered but it's an unusual order of delivery and appears to be the routine here.

More concerning was the man who wrote down my order wearing food-service gloves and then partially made my pizza before then returning to touch the counter, pen and the paper with my order on it as he handed it to me over the prep counter. During my visits, Pizzeria Limone seemed to have enough employees on the line to make the pizzas so I would much prefer if the person taking my order did only that (or at least changed gloves).

After moving through the order line, paying and receiving your number, you'll then queue into another line for drinks. While I appreciate the fancy Coke machine that dispenses any number of beverages from one nozzle, the fact that there's only one in the restaurant causes bottlenecks as you fill one drink cup at a time, one person at a time.

If the tightly spaced tables are any indication of Pizzeria Limone's popularity with those living in the middle and eastern part of the Salt Lake valley, ordering take out becomes an appealing idea. There's also the problem of the location's atrocious acoustics, brought about by the wall of windows, cement floor, exposed ceiling and no interior walls that had my table yelling at each other just to be heard when the restaurant was only half full. I am crossing my fingers that the new location on 400 South near 700 East set to open in the fall will have made adjustments in many of these areas.

Until then, what Pizzeria Limone has to recommend it are some worth trying thin-crust pizzas in unusual combinations at a fast-casual price.


Pizzeria Limone

Food • Hhj

Mood • H

Service • H

Noise • bbb

Thin-crust pizzas featuring blackberries, pears and fresh lemon slices along with prosciutto and pistachios overshadow their traditional Italian counterparts at this strip-mall pizzeria.

Location • 1380 E. Fort Union Blvd., Cottonwood Heights; 801-733-9305

Hours • Monday-Saturday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., and Sunday, noon-8 p.m.

Children's menu • Yes

Prices • $

Liquor • No

Reservations • No

Takeout • Yes

Wheelchair access • Yes

Outdoor dining • No

On-site parking • Yes

Credit cards • All major

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