Archives For Chicago pizza

I arrived back from India just about a week ago, but then headed right to Chicago to visit a client there for the balance of the week.  But before leaving it was important to have more Chicago Pizza!  While I do find places around the country with pretty good NY style pizza, I yet to find a Chicago style pizza outside of the Chicago area…

Me - Ready to Eat Some Pizza!

Me – Ready to Eat Some Pizza!

It took about an hour to get seated – this is the downtown location, right in the center of the city.  But it was worth the wait…notice how thick these pizzas are (Second picture down).  This is not like the UNOs pizza you get in the franchise stores around the country…but then in the third picture you can see the construction of this pizza.  Unlike a good NY Pizza, this pizza has a thick layer of cheese on the bottom, with the toppings melted into the cheese.  Then there is a sauce, which is not at all like the pizza sauce I might find in Manhattan, on top of the cheese.  The sauce was saucier, sweeter, and had some tomato chunks in it – unlike most pizza sauce.  And unlike a NY pizza, the sauce is on top, not on the crust.

In this case I ordered meatballs and sausage.  Normally I would try the pizza without toppings first, just to make sure the pizza itself is good.  Once you know it’s good pizza, it’s okay to add toppings. But I can’t really imagine eating a Chicago pizza with this much cheese, without any toppings.  I think that’s why  this is called “Stuffed Pizza” rather than Sicilian Pizza – a thicker type of NY Pizza, or Pan Pizza – which you might find at Pizza Hut. Notice they do not call it deepdish pizza…it’s simply, stuffed pizza…

Stuffed Pizza

The crust on these pizzas is also interesting…it looks like NY pizza dough when they are making in the back…but it’s much thicker on the pie, and the taste is completely different.  That’s because they add a small amount of corn meal to the dough to give it more body.  You don’t really taste the cornmeal – but you do feel it.

My wife, who joined me for this adventure, says the salad dressing is also excellent – so it’s not just the pizza…I try not to eat bunny food when I am eating pizza.  Somehow it doesn’t make sense to fill up on other things when there’s a great pizza sitting in front of me.  One thing that is always somewhat disappointing – it’s hard to eat several slices of this stuff like I would in NY…it is really filling.  Figure on 1.5 slices unless you’re still in the teenage years.

So next time you’re in Chicago, give Giordano’s a try.  But call ahead to get your pizza started – it takes about 45 minutes to cook one of these things.

Notice the Construction

Notice the Construction

If you’ve followed my pizza posts – you know I like pizza, and you know I don’t like most of the pizza in Charlotte – my home town for the past 24 years!  But, things have changed.  My wife recently came across Lorenzo‘s in Ballantyne, and what a surprise!

I find it amusing to read comments from other patrons.  When I visit other states I often find that people raised outside of NY don’t necessarily like NY pizza.  For me it’s the standard by which all pizza should be measured (I am speaking of Manhattan, NY here).  That is unless you we are talking about Chicago style pizza, which is good, but which is a whole different category of pizza.

One person writes, “The crust doesn’t seem to be completely cooked – it bends!”  If you come from NY you know why this is funny.  If not, you might actually think this is a problem – for instance, those who like Donatos, Ohio style pizza (if there is such a thing).  Those from NY (and those who like real pizza) consistently (and correctly) give this place a five star rating.

We ordered a regular pie and one with Sausage and mushrooms.  It’s important to taste the pizza without toppings before you rate it.  If it needs toppings, it’s not good pizza.  Once you know it is good, it is fine to add your favorites.  Italian sausage ranks high on my list of pizza toppings.

It’s just like eating at Pronto pizza as far as I’m concerned, or maybe Ray’s Original (which one?).  The crust folds like it should, the sauce has just the right sweetness, and the cheese mixture is perfect.  They serve an 18 inch pie like any NY pizza parlor would (why do these chain pizza places down here insist that a large pie is 14 inches?).  We topped off our meal with freshly filled cannolies…I highly recommend eating here next time you visit Charlotte – and for those who are attending next week’s Business Planning and Strategy Meeting, guess what?  Yes, we are having lunch at Lorenzo’s on Saturday.

© 2012, David Stelzl

Real Chicago Pizza

May 16, 2012 — 2 Comments

After the four month diet, a 25 lb weight loss, and no pizza during that time, I was excited to be able to dive into a Gino’s East pizza – my first official stop on this trip to Chicago. Not that I am going right back to my old habits of eating junk food, but an occasional pizza gives me something to look forward to after many salads, no sweeteners, no gluten, and nothing that has preservatives, dairy or cheese in it. In other words, my four months consisted mostly of salad, veggies, all-natural chicken and beef, and rice – and lots of water.  The great news is, my  triglyceride count went from 500 to a little over 200 in the first 2 weeks of the diet – without any medications.  I’ll have the new numbers within a week, which will include my cholesterol numbers as well.  I expect some pretty good readings.

All of that aside, you haven’t had Chicago pizza if you haven’t been to Chicago.  Having traveled all over the world, I have yet to find a city that has a real Chicago style pizza.  Knoxville has a pizza place advertising it, but it’s not real (I think it’s called Stephens).  Then there’s the Chicago pizza chain, which is also a far cry from the real thing.  Charlotte, my home town, has just recently made it to authentic NY style pizza with Tony’s.  I expect it will be a while before we have Chicago pizza.

Now that I’ve had my pizza fix, it’s time to go to work…

© 2012, David Stelzl