This place makes incredible pizza. I like all styles of pizza and am a serious pizza-phile. This review updates my first one, because now I can speak to the dine-in as well as take-out experience.
The pizza style here is a relatively little-known Chicago thin-crust style (little-known, in that most people think of Chicago as deep-dish town). The bottom crust is somewhat toward the thin, crackery end of the spectrum--crisper than the NY style. that you might find at, say, Yummy Pizza. It's cut tavern-style into squares. The balance of elements in crust and toppings is perfection. The large pizza margherita--the basic, simple test of a pizzaria--was just outstanding. That was my initial take-out experience.
For the dine-in more recently, I saw a lot more, quite literally. With a group, there were three different pizzas plus an unbeatable lasagna and much better than average side salads (better because more generous with ingredients other than simply lettuce).
In addition, the attentiveness of the people at this genuine family shop is beyond anything I've experienced. When I arrived a bit before my friends, Michael introduced himself, his son, his wife, and then a further assistant. Then he took me on a tour of the kitchen (once he gathered that I was pretty interested in pizza and make my own in several styles). Not only was he a jovial delight--he'd make a perfect Chicago-Italian Santa Claus--but I was impressed with their equipment and ingredients. Their cheese is a premium-priced Grande brand, but instead of buying it pre-shredded, they keep it in their fridge in large sealed blocks and run cheese as needed through a commercial extruder, so it isn't shredded but instead "tubed," ending up like a fat diced spaghetti noodle. That means their pizza and lasagna, etc., does not have those anti-caking agents used in pre-shredded cheeses, so it melts (and reheats later) much better. They use a premium flour that is actually a kind of pastry flour (the low protein helping for thinner, crispier crusts). Michael even explained to me that he has used slightly different flours here and in Chicago just because of the effect of different water supplies. The man pays extravagant attention to food and to people.
I count this place among a few others in the region that I truly value: Giannettos (for Chicago deep dish, a wholly different animal); Stop 50 in Michigan City, MI, and Venturi in Goshen, IN (both of which do Neapolitan-style, in wood-fired ovens). And happily, this place is not so far away from me.
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