Remember when there wasn’t much to eat in Loveland other than a handful of locally owned restaurants, most of which were mediocre bar food at best, and the rest of the town was filled with chains? I remember. I remember well, because when people would ask me to review restaurants around there I’d think to myself, “I’m never there, because there’s nothing worthwhile to eat for the drive.”
Boy how times have changed over a handful of years. Now with the increasing popularity – and expense – in Fort Collins, many businesses and homeowners are setting their sights to the south, which has caused Loveland to experience a cultural boom of their own – more events, more residents, more culture, and more dining. And not just more, but better.
There have been some restaurants in Loveland have have been changing the dining perception of the area for a few years. Burgers and gyros, while lunch crowd staples, are being replaced by tapas, wood fired pizza, and other dishes expected from contemporary restaurants. There’s been an elevation evolution in Loveland, and Origins has been a part of it.
Photo Credit: Origins Facebook
Origins Wine Bar and Wood Fired Pizza opened May 23, 2015. In the year they’ve been open, they’ve made a significant impression with their culinary creativity. Inspired by art and culture in general, they showcase that influence directly in their menu through the pizza titles – Bernini, Michelangelo, Dali, Picasso, Van Gogh are all featured wood fired pizzas.
Photo Credit: Origins Facebook
In addition to wood fired creations, they also serve a unique selection of bruschetta, paninis, tapas, charcuterie, and of course – a large selection of wines.
I’ve not had the opportunity to delve into their entire menu, despite my standard two visits for reviews. Such is life when you’re reviewing pizza and you have to order a whole pizza. Considering I’m not a bottomless pit for food, this will have to do.
However, the good news is that having ordered a pizza on both visits to assess consistency and deliciousness, I do think they have pretty fabulous pizza in a lovely atmosphere. Their pizza is baked in a Neapolitan oven, imported from Naples, Italy providing some old world flavor.
On my first visit I had my standard choice of Margherita – tomato sauce, fior di latte, sea salt, basil, grated parmesan, and olive oil.
It was a little more sophisticated than the typical margherita pizza, and it tasted like it too. The crust wasn’t charred, just crispy enough yet thick enough to be chewy, and the sprinkle of sea salt was perfect, especially on the fior di latte (fresh cow’s milk mozzarella). It was a simple pizza… elevated.
On my second visit I started with a glass of Pomegranate Citrus Rose Sangria. It sounded like the most refreshing way to enjoy a lunch chat with a friend, filled with light spring flavors and a little bit of bubble. It was lovely.
This time I ordered the Van Gogh pizza – pistachio cream sauce, sweet Italian sausage, fior di latte, shaved red onion, rosemary, sea salt, olive oil, and crushed pistachio.
I have never seen a pizza like this on any other menu. They totally knock it out of the park on culinary creativity here. While some people might look at that ingredient list and think, “What? God. No!” I see it as a dining adventure, ready to take a bite and experience new flavor combinations for the first time.
This pizza had a mild sweet and creamy flavor, with little hints of pepper that came from the sausage. It wasn’t as crazy as you might think, and it was very well balanced with the herbs. I really enjoyed it, and I hope more people take on dish risks like this.
When I think of a restaurant deserving high praise for a dining experience, I always ask myself, “Do I want to come back? How much of the menu do I want to order on return visits?” For Origins, it’s a lot. I want to come back for more wine and bruschetta. Their salads look intriguing. And then there are a few paninis I’d like to taste too. They have the attention of my tastebuds from my pizzas, and I wouldn’t hesitate to make the drive to Loveland for more.
Origins Wood Fired Pizza and Wine Bar
500 North Lincoln Avenue, Loveland
Kid-Friendly? It’s not too stuffy for families, and they have a kids menu.
Parking: Downtown Loveland street parking. Better than 4th Street parking, though.
Healthy Options? Lots of vegetarian options and gluten-free pizza available (with clarification about cross contamination possibilities, which I appreciate).
Budget-Friendly? Average price per plate is $15
Recent Health Inspection: Good