A couple Sundays ago, we asked some friends (parents and non) to meet us at Iggies for a late lunch. I have been a fan of Iggies since it opened and was a very frequent customer during my pregnancy. Unfortunately for me, I have not been there since our son was born (nearly two years ago – ack!). Our meal there reminded me why I fell in love with them in the first place… and guaranteed more frequent visits in the future.
First off, if you’ve never been: Iggies serves thin crust pizza, salads, and a few appetizers. Their menu is mostly the pizzas, which are the stars. This is REALLY thin crust pizza, which honestly I never liked until I had theirs. This crust is unlike any I’ve ever had before. It’s magical. I’m not kidding, this crust converted me, a heretofore deep dish fanatic. I’ve heard it described as matzoh-like, but it’s way more flavorful and light. They have over a dozen pizza varieties, from plain and classic Margherita to super adventurous (roasted duck and olives, anyone?). It’s light texture and flavor allows the amazing toppings to shine. And they don’t skimp on the garlic, which is a big plus in my book.
Along with the extraordinary pizza, what makes Iggies different and special is how the restaurant is run. It’s self-serve and BYOB. You go up to the counter, place your order, and then find a seat. In a few minutes (really, only a few – they cook the pizzas REALLY hot and fast to get the magical crispiness, so it only takes a couple of seconds) they call your name and you get your meal. You grab your own silverware, bus your own plates. Some people might be turned off by this, but not me. When I’m Queen of the Universe, EVERY restaurant will be run this way. Not because I don’t like servers, but because this allows you complete control of the pace of your meal which, as a parent of a toddler, is totally and inarguably awesome. The coolest part? Instead of gratuity, the owners pick a different charity each month and what would have been your tip goes in a jar with info about the non-profit and their work detailed on it. As a former non-profit employee I think this is just brilliant and so generous.
So our gaggle of friends met up to chow down on several pizzas. This was the first time I’d been there with a child, and I never realized how fabulous it is for parents. They have these modern, wheeled high chairs for you to use (and what kid doesn’t like being wheeled across a restaurant?) and a nice, low changing table in the restroom. It’s not one of those drop down from the wall numbers (which give me crazy anxiety), either – it’s a small low bookshelf that serves its purpose beautifully. The owners are VERY into dogs (specifically their troupe of rescued Italian Greyhounds) and dogs are welcome in the outdoor seating area or up front if their owners are picking up carry out. Note: you can pick up a cooked pizza OR “take and bake” – a boxed but uncooked pie you cook at home. Genius.
We ordered up four large pizzas and an antipasti tray. Iggie’s is BYOB but they make it exceptionally easy on you. We brought a couple six packs with us, and within seconds Lisa, the owner, had spied them and brought a large bucket of ice to the table. They have corkscrews and glasses available for your drinks, as well. If you’re looking for where to pick up a bottle nearby, try Spirits of Mt. Vernon at Read and Charles, just a block up.
The food, needless to say, was fantastic. They use such fresh ingredients and each pizza was cooked to perfection. My favorite offering was the Pepe – topped with baby arugula, ricotta, and lemon oil. It was light, tart, and fresh. The atmosphere there is so cozy and warm and neighborhoody (just made up that word, yes). We lingered a long while as we finished our meal and drinks and never felt like we needed to hustle or keep our little ones shushed. It’s almost like you’re in someone’s dining room.
We had absolutely no room for dessert but they do serve gelato, cannolis, and pine nut cookies. They also have a superb soda selection with lots of cool, independant and imported sodas in their cooler.
In short? I loved Iggies as a non-parent and though I didn’t think it was possible, I love it even more as a Mom. All our friends were saying the same thing as we left, “Why don’t we come here more often?” – and I am already planning next weekend’s lunch date.
Hours: Wednesday – Saturday, 12:00 pm – 9:00 PM Sunday 12:00 PM – 8:00 PM
Closed Mondays and Tuesdays
818 N. Calvert Street, Baltimore MD 21202
GETTING THERE: Iggie’s is on Calvert at Read Street in the Mt. Vernon neighborhood. Finding parking can be a challenge in this area, and is on the street.
COST: Dinner for three? About $30. They do not have kid’s meals but two large pizzas will easily feed three.
FAMILY ACCESSIBILITY: Outstanding. They have rolling high chairs and a changing table in the restroom.
KEEP THEM HAPPY: Iggie’s is VERY dog friendly and customers picking up for carryout frequently bring their furry friends inside to say hello which is great fun. The pizza does not take long to bake, but if it’s crowded there might be a 10+ minute wait, so crayons or other time killers might be a good idea to bring along.