Mezza Luna Pizzeria was one of the first restaurants I ate at in Eugene, for one simple reason: they offer a fantastic lunch special. For a then-starving student, the prospect of huge, affordable slices of pizza and free refills on soda was too much to pass up. I think I read most of Chekhov at their downtown bar.
The slices-of-the-day run from $2.75 (cheese) to about $4 (meat/specialty), and you can add a plain or Caesar salad for $3 at lunchtime. Since the slices are the size of my head, one does it for me, though I did occasionally venture into salad land -- where the candied pecan, gorgonzola, and cranberry combo became an instant favorite.
Still, the pizza is the star, here. It's made in enormous, flat pies that have just the right amount of sauce (whether tomato, pesto, vegan, or olive-oil-and-garlic) to keep things moist and together, but not so much that the crust gets soggy. The tomato sauce is mild but still -- miracle of miracles -- actually tastes like tomatoes. If you build your own pizza, things can get expensive, and tasty, very quickly, as they offer a respectable list of not-quite-the-usual ingredients (three kinds of mozzarella cheese, for instance; roasted eggplant and roasted rosemary potatoes; chicken sausage). Each addition costs $2.25 on top of a large ($17 base).
You don't have to spend a fortune here, though you easily could. Their lunch special slices aren't just the typical cheese and pepperoni (though these are often included). The last time we visited, they had those two standards plus a pizza with roasted red and yellow bell peppers and pineapple; one with an olive oil base, feta cheese, and sliced kalamata olives; and an Italian sausage number. I had the pepper pizza, and it was divine -- pepper chunks large enough to require more than one bite to finish them, pineapple oven-seared into sweetness, and cheese and tomato blithely tying it all together.
That's a pizza. Now, if only they delivered.
Mezza Luna now has two locations: downtown (on Pearl) and way up North (in Crescent Village). Both locations offer indoor seating at tables and a small bar; the Crescent Village location also has about three outdoor tables, in good weather. Both also offer wine and beer in addition to soft drinks and juices. Both offer excellent people watching, as well, though the crowd to be viewed will be very different depending on the locale.
Location: Downtown: 933 Pearl Street
Crescent Village: 2776 Shadow View Dr.
Hours: Downtown: Monday - Saturday: 11 a.m. - 10 p.m.; Sunday: Noon - 9 p.m.
Crescent Village: Monday - Thursday: 11 a.m. - 9 p.m.; Friday and Saturday: 11 a.m. - 10 p.m.; Sunday: Noon - 9 p.m.