Recently, I found myself in Southern California for some meetings and as one is wont to do, we ended up at a pizza place. This place wasn't a local outlet, however. It was one of the outposts of the Grimaldi's Coal-Fired Oven 'chain'. I say 'chain', because I didn't know it was a chain. I've read and heard all about Grimaldi's and Patsy's (and presumed they were one and the same!) and have recently dug around to understand the current dynamics and who *exactly* is behind this current Grimaldi's. Turns out Patsy Grimaldi founded Grimaldi's, but then sold that place to a dude back in 1998. Patsy is still in the pizza biz, but under another name. From GrubStreet : Christening a restaurant is never simple. But the question of what Patsy Grimaldi would call his new pizzeria was further complicated by the fact that he was legally barred from following the long-standing tradition of just naming it after himself. He couldn’t call it
Showing posts with the label chicago pizza snob
Earlier this year, I came across this story in Full-Service Restaurant Magazine (yes...I occasionally read pizza trade outlets!) that spoke about how Sanfratello's was expanding in the Chicago area . What struck me was that that this place that calls themselves the 'original Southside pizza' was crowing about how they were expanding to the 'Northside'. The problem? The new location is in Naperville. Not *exactly* what I'd call the 'Northside', right? Anyway...from the story: Sanfratello's Pizza, Chicago's original Southside pizza since 1969, announces its first north side location. The fifth location is company-owned and is celebrating its grand opening on March 30 at 1299 S. Naper Blvd. in Naperville. To celebrate the company's venture to the north, Sanfratello's is giving away two styles of Southside pizza—tavern style thin crust and pan. From 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. on March 30, all carryout guests will receive a free small cheese t
Earlier this week, I posted the photos of my new cutter pans for Chicago thin crust pizza making and here as you likely guessed, it didn't take long for me to try to put it them through their paces. I grabbed a Aurelio's clone dough formulation from the PizzaMaking.com forums and dressed it with my usual set of ingredients: Chellino Scamorza cheese , pepperoni, hot Italian sausage and some red peppers. Finished with some parm and basil after it baked. Consider this step one in a long journey towards my next pizza quest: tavern cut, Chicago thin crust. We're living at Equation Boy/Man's house and thus, using their ovens. I haven't quite gotten enough practice to know how they'd perform. I put the pan on a lower rack and placed my baking steel on a rack just on top of the pie. Thinking...that there would be some thermal mass baking the top. That, indeed, worked great. The top of the pie came out perfectly well done. But the bottom? A little too we
Well, well, well. Look at what showed up over the weekend at our house. That's three brand new, pre-seasoned, permanent-coated 14" cutter pans for Chicago-style thin crust pizzas. If you are looking for your own set, you can find them here . I will caution you that they actually manufacture your pans and don't have them in stock. Really. Like it took a month to get them. I first heard about Lloyd Pans and their cutter pans on the PizzaMaking.com forums . Same place that I sourced my Detroit-style blue steel pans that I've put through their paces over the past four-ish years. This is part of the email I had with the Lloyd Pans customer representative - who couldn't have been nicer. We are the manufacturer of the pans you see on our website. We build them here in Spokane, WA so these will be "hot off the press" for you! :) We are booked heavily in production right now, but are running extra shifts to get the work out sooner if possible
Earlier this fall, we went to MOD Pizza right on St. Charles Road in Elmhurst as it was the first of the 'fast' pizza places that had opened around here. I posted about the experience here on the blog . I really liked it and would recommend trying both the pizzas and the salads. Right across the street - and I mean *RIGHT.ACROSS.THE.STREET* is another of the pizza joints called Pie Five Pizza Co. Earlier this week, after a bit of Christmas shopping, we took the kids to try Pie Five. The girls ordered kids pizzas (one had pepperoni and the other had bacon), while Nat had one of their pre-made combos (a Tuscan-something with sun-dried tomatoes) and I created my own (sausage/pepperoni/peppers). I also ordered a salad. But, unlike MOD Pizza, the salad selections are pre-made. Meaning, you get either a garden salad (with pre-set ingredients) or an Italian (with pre-set ingredients) or a Caesar (with the normal Caesar stuff). The place is HUGE. Like 40 tables huge. W
Last night we packed the kids up and went out to try Mod (or is it MOD?!?) Pizza on St. Charles Road near Route 83 in Elmhurst . It is located in the same plaza as Total Hockey and Potbelly's on the south side of St. Charles. Mod Pizza is best described as "The Chipotle of Pizza"; meaning you walk along the line with the pizza maker as they assemble your pie based on your choice of ingredients. Nat and I both got the 'Mod size', which is the normal size, but they also have a kids size that is a bit smaller. What's interesting is that DIRECTLY across the street from Mod is a newly opened PieFive Pizza - which, I think, is the exact same concept. What happened with burgers three years ago (lots of burger places opened) and fro-yo two years ago (four fro-yo places opened in town!), appears to be happening with the quick-serve pizza concept. We decided to try Mod first. And it was pretty good - considering that they're just getting started with th
We found ourselves up in the northern suburbs last week and made a spur of the moment decision to give Burt's Place a try. After trying to call them ahead of time (per the rules) and getting a strong busy signal (thinking Burt just pulled the phone off the hook once he had enough orders for the night), we just 'popped in' and asked if they had any availability that night. The guy who greeted us at the door turned and asked Burt, with his long grey beard, slung in a back booth, who said: "Nope. Not tonight." We thanked them and said "we took our shot". Off to Pequod Pizza we went. (That's for another post). We went to Burt's back in 2011 and I wrote a post about the experience here on the blog .
This place came in at #12 on the list - which is surprising once you find this place. It is way out on Lake Street under the El tracks and kind of isolated. At least for this suburban guy, it felt isolated. The place from the front couldn't be cuter, though. In the front part of the store, they have a deli/bakery in each of the front windows. I don't think they're actually open to the public (I don't think you can come in off the street and buy meats to take home), but it seemed like they're using it to 'serve' the restaurant. When we were walking out, a waitress was picking up a salami plate from the deli counter and was set to deliver it to a table. This is one of those places that you must have to *know* is here to get there, I suppose. But since it was on the list, we had to try it. For those keeping track at home, here's the full list of pizza places we're trying . This was NOT the best Neapolitan pizza we've had. I'm c
Well, Well, Well. What do we have here . According to a tip from one of my pizza spies - Equation Boy/Man - Downtown Elmhurst will be graced with a second wood-fired pizza oven. Joining Rosalia's Deli wood-fired oven on North York Street, it appears that a place named Pazzi di Pizza is opening on the other end of York at 105 S. York Street - right next to Cafe Amano's building. It is taking the place of the shuttered Wine & Vine and appears (see the map below) that there will be outdoor seating. Link to the Pazzi di Pizza website that I screen-shot above: Here . This wood-fired craze has been lighting up the pizza scene across the country with new ovens popping up left and right . Interesting to see the trend hit home right here in Elmhurst. The return to this bare-bones pizza shop - where the glowing oven is front and center - is good for the pizza business and good for consumers. I don't know the breakdown of pizza consumed out of the house vs. inside t
A few days ago, my favorite news outlet on the entire web, Slice , put up their Chicago pizza map . Green = recommended. Yellow = recommended with reservations. Red = not recommended. While I'll quibble with the dearth of true Western Suburban or Southwestern Suburban pie joints, I have to love the hard work they put in on this. Not to mention the mapping product they chose to use! View Pizza - Chicago in a larger map
Allow me to let you in on a little secret: After a life-long search for the tastiest, best cheese for pizza, I am happy to tell you that the journey is over. Here it is: Chellino Brand Scamorza Cheese. I've been using Chellino Scamorza for 2 or 3 years after first reading about it on PizzaMaking.com and then seeking it out and finally finding it at Zeppe's Italian Market in Naperville . It is NOT cheap - a few more bucks per pound than your run-of-the-mill mozzarella, but that few dollar expense is more than worth it. This particular brand of Scamorza - which is, as I'm told by the guy who answers the phone at Chellino Cheese Co in Joliet, IL, is the only Scamorza made this way (the rest it sounds like are a bit more like fresh mozzarella). It is the perfect blend of creamy and salty. And the key part? It looks, grates, and smells just like mozzarella. But it tastes a bit different (better) and it must have a different (higher?) burning point because it browns
The first time I had pizza in our new house in Elmhurst, we ordered from Pizza Palace . We were having a painting party with our relatives and had to order something on the spot. One way or the other, I ended up with getting a few pies delivered and I was happy. I've subsequently started to order from Mama Maria's, but recently decided to head back to give an in-person try to Pizza Palace. Nat was going out for the night and it was going to be me and the Babe alone for dinner. What better thing to eat than sausage and pepperoni, right? Pizza Palace is on Addison Street - right behind the main drag called York in Downtown Elmhurst. The place is a pretty unassuming bar with a dining room bolted on the side. We sat in the bar in a booth and waited to see if someone would join us in this fun 70's era table. Since my dining companion is 14 months old, we chose to eat at 5:30 pm on a Wednesday. Aside from one older lady by herself at the bar, we were all alone. By t
Sadly, the original Home Run Inn didn't make the top 25 pizzas in Chicago, but it should have. We went down to the restaurant and checked out the place in all of it's glory for a Score 670 live radio appearance. It was A LOT of fun and made the experience more interesting. As you all know by now, I have a go-to pie: sausage and pepperoni. The good folks at Home Run Inn are VERY deft and churning out that particular pie. It is very tasty. The store has expanded to cover the corner, but look at this old photo! They should bring that old-school logo back. "The Pizza King". Pretty rad. Oh...and is that BI.7 the phone number?
*NOTE* Yes...This post is out of order. We went to Pequod's a while ago, but I forgot to post the pics and review. We drove up to Morton Grove planning on hitting up Burt's Place for some deep dish pizza on a random Tuesday - not heeding any warnings about pre-ordering our pies or any of that jazz. Pulling up to the place, I was excited: this place is a dive! But...being the #8 pizza on the list, I was sure this would live up to they hype. The place seemed quiet. Eerily quiet. Turns out...they're NOT open on Tuesdays. Bummer. But....lucky for us, all was NOT lost. You see, Burt Katz - the proprietor of Burt's founded a little place called Pequod's - which just so happens to be on the list, too. And the best part? The original Pequod's is LITERALLY right around the corner from Burt's. Off we went. My only experience with Pequod's was their City of Chicago location, but turns out this place was where it all began. Established in 1979,
Coming in at #16 on the Top 25 pizza places list, I was excited to give this place a shot. Natalie had scored us a groupon or living social coupon for half off, so we had already committed the money to this place, so there was no turning back. We decided to go to the Montrose location without doing a lot of research. The location was closer to the expressway and being suburban folks that matters A LOT. When we arrived, I was surprised by the size. This is a take-out place! There is only 2 tables and a counter to sit at! Fortunately for us, we were the only ones dining in. That probably was because we arrived before 6 - baby dining out hours. We took two of our nephews with and had a great time in the car ride down - watching Garfield and giggling along. When you walk in, you see the pizza prep area right away. There were two guys working hard to create the pies. The ovens are conventional gas ovens so they're tucked away on the left side. Apart must do a heckuva lot