A good first time out.
We went to Lucia's Italian on Rt 52 in Helena for dinner tonight. It was fun (an accordion player)! We started with an order of the fried calamari (best I've had in Birmingham), lightly breaded, rings and crowns, served with capers, lemon wedges, pepperoncini rings, and a cup of delicious ragu bolognese (I think) for dipping. We then shared a very reasonably priced medium sized meatball and eggplant pizza. The toppings were of great quality and generously applied. The crust was a little unusual....apparently not made with high-gluten pizza flour, but a somewhat more biscuit-like consistency, and while not what I expected, quite good. (By the way, high gluten pizza dough flour is certainly available around here....I saw a whole pile of sacks of it at Trattoria Centrale not too long ago).
I had a Good People's IPA which I'm loving these days. Wife had a glass of Bluefeld Riesling (http://www.snooth.com/wine/blufeld-ri...), $7 for the glass, and she liked it. We finished with a piece of the peach cake which was pretty killer, very moist and peachy, and HUGE! We brought half of the pizza and more than half of the cake home for future enjoyment.
Service was very friendly, but not particularly attentive. Our waitress was new and she tried.
The vibe is similar to Joe's Italian in Alabaster (Lucia's owner is Joe's son, I think.) His wife/co-owner/dessert chef was really friendly and talked to us at length about the desserts and our common heritage (turns out both of us have Puerto Rican roots).
It's quite a truck for us to go out to Helena, but we'll be back.