When a coupon for brunch at Pizza Luce’s Hopkins restaurant arrived in my mailbox last month, two questions naturally came to mind: 1) Pizza Luce serves brunch? and, 2) there’s a Pizza Luce in Hopkins? As of this summer, the answer is yes to both questions. The popular local pizza chain quietly took over the former Baker’s Square location on N Blake Road, and its predecessor’s spacious layout allowed Pizza Luce to offer ample dining space along with take-out and delivery services. That also makes it possible for Pizza Luce to open at 7am on weekdays and 8am on weekends to serve breakfast and brunch, and for the most part, the morning menus deliver tasty, though not amazing, plates that can fill your belly at the beginning of a busy weekend.
It would be plain weird if a pizza place didn’t offer a breakfast version of its signature dish, and Pizza Luce provides two: the Greek Breggfast Pizza ($14) — essentially, the Mediterranean-influenced Athena Pizza, plus eggs — and the Western ($13) with ham, bacon, bell and poblano peppers, and red onion. The Greek proved to be mildly addicting after my intended two-slice serving became three. Blame it on the crispy crust and blend of feta with artichoke hearts, olives, and tomatoes. The slightly salty scrambled egg fell into place with the other toppings, neither standing out nor fading too far into the background.
The breakfast burrito ($8.49) surprised us with its sheer size and noticeable heat — it’s not for someone looking to ease his or her way into the morning. Available with meat or mock sausage and with scrambled eggs or tofu (Pizza Luce must be commended for its attention to vegetarians, vegans, and the gluten-intolerant), the burrito was stuffed with everything you could possibly want in a breakfast wrap and rested atop a pile of jalapeño hashbrowns that gives you an extra kick, just in case the peppers in the burrito weren’t enough. The Truly French Toast ($9) wasn’t the best we’ve ever tasted, but it’s hard to argue against a version that’s layered with slices of melty brie and coated with banana maple syrup. Plan on going to the gym before ordering this dish — there’s no way you could possibly attack the treadmill after ingesting three slices.
Less successful was the Salmon Benedict ($9) — substituting dry salmon cakes for ham didn’t put it on the must-order list. The enormous pancakes ($6 for three) were palatable enough for a 3-year-old, but the adults at the table found the flavor lacking despite a pleasantly fluffy texture. More exciting for the 21+ set would be the menu of mimosas and Bloody Marys; you’re charged $6.50 for one drink, but the generous pour really makes it two.
The restaurant’s roomy interior makes it a good destination for large groups — moms and kids grabbing a post-Gymboree bite or several couples catching up before a day of errands. While the food may not be worth driving across town for, Pizza Luce is a convenient neighborhood brunch spot that offers more than enough to satisfy your Sunday craving for a big, eggy meal. Chances are, you won’t think about food again until dinner.
BEST BET: The Greek Breggfest Pizza ($14) successfully modifies Pizza Luce’s beloved Athena Pizza for the brunch lover, and at 10 inches, it’s generous enough to share.
Brunch in Hopkins
210 Blake Rd N
Hopkins, MN 55343
HOURS: Mon-Wed 7am-1am
Sat 8am-2am (brunch served 8am-2pm)
Sun 8am-1am (brunch served 8am-2pm)
VEGETARIAN / VEGAN: Yes / Yes
ENTREE RANGE: $6-14 for brunch