Pizza perfection in Old Town


There is an abundance of pizza options in the Lansing area, but there are just a handful of restaurants making wood-fired pizza, which is one of the best styles, in my opinion. The crisp, thin crust, though a textural delight, takes the backseat flavor-wise and really lets the toppings shine.

One restaurant doing wood-fired pizza right is The Cosmos, which I first visited after Lansing Pride last year. All the food vendors had closed, and the restaurants in the heart of Old Town were packed, but I drove a couple of blocks down Cesar E. Chavez Avenue and noticed that The Cosmos’ parking lot was relatively empty. After seeing the restaurant pop up pretty frequently in the 2022 Top of the Town awards, I knew it was probably a safe bet.

We sat in Zoobie’s, which has an incredibly charming and eclectic vibe. The string lights on the ceiling, the funky wallpaper behind the bar and the wall-to-wall gallery of framed photos give it sort of a divey atmosphere, which is then elevated by the unique and elegant lighting fixtures that spotlight the bar and tables in the otherwise dim room.

The staff was authentically friendly, the service was speedy, and the food was excellent. As somewhat of a connoisseur of meat-lovers pizzas, I chose the Meat Lovers Classico and was elated with the quality and variety of the meats, some of which I had to search on Google. It was a step above any other meat pizzas I’ve tried in the area, and I’ve tried quite a few.

I made a return visit last week, finally ordering the raved-about duck-fat fries. Let me tell you, if you haven’t been told dozens of times already: These fries deserve every ounce of praise they receive. When I was looking at my notes to write this review, I realized I had written the word “perfect” three times. They’re amazingly crispy — potentially the crispiest fries I’ve ever eaten — but they’re so thick that the insides can retain that tender and lightweight texture. They’re served hot but not so hot that they burn your mouth, with a sprinkling of sea salt to draw out the subtle flavor of the duck fat. I’ve tried precious few fries as good as this in my quarter of a century on this Earth, and I ate about half of the portion, meant to be shared among a table, before my pizza arrived.

The Sweet BBQ Pork pizza is loaded with mozzarella, smoked cheddar, pork, bacon, pickled onions, fried onions, roasted red peppers and finished with a drizzle of sweet barbecue sauce. It’s a flavor explosion, akin to what I imagine a sandwich made by Scooby Doo or Shaggy would be like. The pork, bacon, cheddar and barbecue sauce impart levels of smokiness, and the bacon and fried onions give every bite a satisfying crunch. It’s satisfyingly salty, with notes of sweetness from the barbecue sauce, acidity from the pickled onions and gooey richness from the cheese. My one note is that the red peppers don’t really add anything to the pie, but they don’t take away from it, either, with its loud and proud medley of ingredients.

When all was said and done, I had half a portion of fries and half a pizza left over. Two hefty, high-quality and handmade meals aren’t a bad deal for $24, plus tip. If you’re a fan of wood-fired pizza, both the Top of the Town voters and I would contend that The Cosmos is a must-try.

Sweet BBQ Pork pizza


Duck-fat fries


The Cosmos

1200 N. Larch St., Lansing

11 a.m.-10 p.m. Monday-Thursday

11 a.m.-11 p.m. Friday

Noon-11 p.m. Saturday

Noon-10 p.m. Sunday

(517) 897-3563


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