Albanian-inspired pizza with a Lazer-like focus in Surfside Beach

For Weekly SurgeNovember 26, 2013 

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    Lazer’s Pizza is at 1500 U.S. 17 Business N. in Surfside Beach, and the number is 232-0001. It’s open daily for lunch and dinner starting at 11 a.m.

Setting the Table

Forget a grand opening day, Lazer Lekani is having a grand opening month with half-price pizzas.

Lekani says his life philosophy came from his father, Zef Lekani, who said, “If someone does you a kindness, you return it 10 times more.”

The restaurateur escaped from Albania during the Cold War and launched his first American dream in Ware, Mass., as the owner of Lazer’s Pizza & Roast Beef. He had that for eight years, but he didn’t enjoy the weather.

Lekani and his wife, Valbona Lekani, and their three children moved to the Grand Strand earlier this year. The adults recently opened Lazer’s Pizza at 1500 U.S. 17 Business N. at the former site of St. Angelo IV, which was founded in 1983.

The building has been completely renovated. The dining room is bright and airy with peach colored walls decorated with hand-painted grape vines. Booths ring the walls, and four-top tables are in the middle. A few televisions keep everyone informed.

At the rear of the dining room is a fully-stocked bar with several seats, and a wall on the bar’s left features a colorful mural of wine bottles.

Down the Hatch

After his new pizza oven was installed, it took Lekani three days to calibrate the temperature and figure out how to make Surfside Beach water produce his thin and crispy/chewy crust.

Pizzas come in 10- or 16-inch sizes, and most specialty pizzas are $10 or $14.50. A few of the choices include Roma, Sicilian, Mediterranean, chicken kabob, Canadian and tropical. We had an Albanian pie with sautéed peppers, onions, garlic, feta cheese and oregano and were thrilled with the crust and enjoyed the toppings’ flavor combinations. All the specialty pizza styles can also be served as calzones.

A friend mentioned she had a hot sub ($7-$9, comes with chips and a pickle), and said it was delicious and impressively portioned. A few of the many subs are roast beef, veggie stir-fry, veal cutlet, pastrami, steak and cheese, eggplant Parmesan and sausage Parmesan. The Lazer’s house special steak sub is piled with onions, peppers, mushrooms, cheese and barbecue sauce. All subs can have the following toppings at no extra charge: mayo, ketchup, mustard, oil and vinegar, hot pepper relish, lettuce, tomatoes, pickles, onions, green peppers, olives, banana peppers, American cheese and provolone.

There are also cold subs, 5-inch round sandwiches, club sandwiches and quesadillas. Mediterranean specialties are $7.50-$9 and include gyros, kabob subs, Lazer’s veggie sub, pita sandwiches and wraps. Spaghetti and ziti meals (comes with salad and garlic bread) are $7-$10, while baskets that can be filled with wings, chicken fingers, burgers and sandwiches, plus fries or onion rings, are $8-$10.

Check, please

Finger foods include spicy French fries, but they weren’t spicy at all, or even particularly flavorful. My server said customers may request to have them made extra spicy.

Children have four special choices (grilled cheese, chicken fingers or cheeseburger, all with fries, or pasta with marinara) for $5. Desserts are $4 each: brownies, baklava and fried dough.

About that grand opening: It’s taking place the entire month of December, and every single pizza will be sold at a 50 percent discount. The delivery area extends five miles.

Becky Billingsley serves up fresh news daily at

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