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Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Lunch Date: The Lagoon

posted by on November 11 at 12:00 PM


(Once or twice a week, I take a new book with me to lunch and give it a half an hour or so to grab my attention. Lunch Date is my judgment on that speed-dating experience.)

Who’s your date today? The Lagoon, by Lilli Carré.

Where’d you go? Pizza Fusion, across the street from La Spiga.

What’d you eat? Personal meat pizza ($7.95).

How was the food? It was fine, thin-crust pizza, although the sauce and cheese could both use a little more pep. The cheese was a little on the bland side and the sauce, although peppery, required a whole lot of garlic salt to make the pizza memorable. As a side note, I know I can be an idiot sometimes, but it honestly didn’t occur to me until I looked it up just now that Pizza Fusion is a coast-to-coast franchised restaurant. When I thought it was just a start-up, locally-owned restaurant, the slogan (“Saving the World…One Pizza At a Time”) seemed annoying, but Seattle-earnest and tolerable. Now that I know they have branches in Kansas, it’s flat-out obnoxious. I feel vaguely manipulated, although I have nobody to blame but myself.

What does your date say about itself? “Each member of a family reacts differently to the seductive siren song that can be heard down by the water after dark in Lilli Carré’s haunting and lyrical debut graphic novel. Rhythms—Grandpa’s taps, the ticking of a metronome—are punctuated by silences in this “sound”-driven story. Readers are invited to imagine an enigmatic creature’s haunting, ever-shifting tune as it reverberates through weedy waters, eventually escaping the lagoon to waft through the windows at night…”

Is there a representative quote?

Will you two end up in bed together? Well, we would’ve, except for I read the whole thing at lunch, twice. It’s a really nice story, about a lagoon monster and his relationship with a family. The art, to me, resembles Richard Sala and Charles Burns making sweet, sweet love. I reviewed Carré’s short work in the Best American Comics 2008 here, and I was charmed but not blown away. As a first long-form work, though, this is phenomenal.

RSS icon Comments


"Lunch Date" is back? Does that mean the election is over?

Posted by Sarah | November 11, 2008 12:16 PM

"Personal meat"??? Ugh...

Posted by Jubilation T. Cornball | November 11, 2008 12:20 PM

Yes, I scratched my head a little when I saw the new place going into Cap Hill's new trendy area was a Florida-based chain. Huh?

That said, it was decent enough pizza but why bother when there are better, cooler local places?

Posted by Jason | November 11, 2008 12:23 PM

Local is good. But Pizza Fusion is good too. It's a really responsible business, for a chain.

Here's a profile:

In February 2006, college buddies Vaughan Lazar and Michael Gordon started throwing around ideas for starting a side business for fun. Lazar owned a printing and design firm, and Gordon worked for a real estate company.

“He was fed up with what he was doing, and I was bored with my business,” says Lazar, CEO of Pizza Fusion. The two decided to start a pizza restaurant because they liked pizza—eating and making it—and because it made good business sense; Americans eat approximately 100 acres of pizza each day, or about 350 slices per second. It didn’t take them long to start thinking of ways they could green their dream company.

The first thing they talked about was delivering pizza in hybrid cars. But pizza and hybrids didn’t get them excited enough. “We were greedy in wanting to do more and more for a good cause,” says Lazar.

Lazar’s diet was about 20 percent organic at that time, and it didn’t take him long to realize there was a huge void in the market for convenient organic food. So that became the vision: quick, organic, delicious pizza, eaten in a family-friendly restaurant or delivered to your door in a green car.

The two opened their first Pizza Fusion restaurant in Deerfield Beach, Florida, in July 2006, and enthusiasm for their product quickly grew. They are set to launch 50 franchises across the US in 2008. Their gourmet pizza is all-natural, organic, and baked in a natural gas oven. They also offer organic salads and sandwiches, as well. Ingredients come from local markets as well as national organic distributors. But Lazar and Gordon didn’t stop there.

Lazar says they feel a responsibility to the business community and the community at large, which is reflected in Pizza Fusion’s commitment to preserving and improving the environment. Each trendy restaurant is offset by 100 percent wind power. Employees wear organic cotton uniforms, and receive health insurance for working over 20 hours a week. Pizza Fusion customers will find compostable salad containers made from 100 percent corn starch, cutlery made from sugarcane, and napkins made from 100 percent post-consumer fiber.

In 2007, Lazar and Gordon decided that every new Pizza Fusion restaurant would be built according to Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification standards set by the US Green Building Council.

“The food industry is one of the worst in terms of leaving a footprint on the Earth,” says Lazar. “We wanted to change that.”

With 500 requests for new franchises since March 2007, Pizza Fusion is set to continue spreading its social and environmental vision—and set to continue making delicious, organic pizza.

—Alissa Dos Santos

Posted by Drew | November 11, 2008 12:45 PM

the art reminds me a lot of a more Western Persepolis.

Posted by Jill | November 11, 2008 2:36 PM

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