This is the blog and public record of the Chicago Pizza Club. We eat a lot of pizza and share our thoughts on it as well as post any relevant pizza news we come across.

We invite you to post any comments on anywhere you have eaten under our review of that establishment. If you have any questions, please read the FAQs on the sidebar first to see if it has already been answered. Please note that we are at capacity and are not seeking new members. And finally, if you have a place you think we should try, have some other inquiry, or want to send us love/hatemail then please contact us at:


Monday, February 27, 2006

Salerno's [Meeting #24]

1201 W. Grand Ave. (Google Maps)
Chicago, IL

CPC invaded Salerno's on 2/23/06

Located in the trendy River West area, Salerno's gives you the impression it's not too happy about all the new people moving in despite the higher disposable income they bring to the neighborhood and their own coffers. Just to the south are warehouses (abandoned and functional) and to the north old apartments and new condos. Inside, it's like a lounge from the 70's except that the smoke isn't so thick.

This place is surprisingly large on the inside and had a few families dining when we arrived. We kept hearing random words coming form the bar and we discovered that on Thursday they play a Chicago trivia contest. No word on what the winner receives, but it's probably secondary to knowing you are a Chicago expert and the jealous and hard looks from your defeated competitors are likelyto be sufficient. Of note, they have a nice take out window adjacent to main dining area where jokes are cracked.

Ok, the food:

  1. Regular Crust, artichoke and mushrooms

  2. Regular Crust, pepperoni, sausage, green peppers, mushrooms, and onions

  3. Thin crust, roast beef and zucchini
And to boot, they offer the standard Italian beers served with a healthy slice of attitude by your waitress. This place is actually not the original Salerno's (the original being in a suburb), but it takes some effort to drag Petey outside of his urban environment. The price was right, about 60 bucks for 3 large pizzas that fed 9 of us.

Petey gives Salerno's a score of 4.2

The Roast Beef and House Special pizzas

The Mushroom & Artichoke pizza

Noam has trouble digesting his cheese...

Kate enjoys a slice

"Pizza goes in here..."

Stelio contemplates Roast Beef...

Where it all went down

Salerno's Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Friday, February 17, 2006

Candlelite [Meeting #23]

7452 N Western (Google Maps)
Chicago, IL

CPC invaded Candlelite on 2/16/06

This bar has a classy sign reminiscent of 1950's Las Vegas except that instead of mobsters running gambling joints, it's probably mobsters making good pizza. Inside is a pretty clean bar with standards on tap (and apparently $3.50 Stella on Thursday) and nice tables near large windows.

The pizzas: All were very good. Signature cracker crust, light on the sauce, and they use what I believe to be low-fat mozzarella cheese. It didn't melt quite like cheese usually does. We got all thin crust pies.

1. Basil, Pesto, and Spinach - More like basil and cheese. Enjoyable, but I could have used more pesto as a tomato sauce substitute. The spinach was unremarkable.

2. Fungus Among Us (Mushrooms + Sausage) - Probably had the most sauce of any of the pies. Appropriately salty, the sausage was not very strong but tasty and the mushrooms were fresh.

3. Bringing the Heat (Pico de Gallo, Pepperoni, Jalapeno) - A crowd favorite, but I found it to be kind of boring. The Pico de Gallo tasted like it came out of a can and the pepperoni didn't mesh well with the sauce and the jalapeno peppers. The peppers were fresh though.

4. Roast Beef - Nice, generous cuts of roast beef splattered across the pizza. Plain and simple, big taste.

And we polished off three orders of their delicious garlic fries. Pictures courtesy of G Wiv on LTHforum. Check out this great foodie site.

Seriously though, I'd kill any and every member of CPC for some of those garlic fries right now.

Petey gives Candlelite a score of 8.0

Candlelite Chicago on Urbanspoon

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Pizano's [Meeting #22]

864 N. State Street (GoogleMaps)

CPC invaded Pizano's on 2/9/06

I always have a warm spot in my heart for a bartender going above and beyond. I must just be a grouchy miser, but I hate tipping bartenders at dive bars when all I (can) order is MGD and all they have to do is reach down and twist the cap off. That just made a $3 beer a $4 beer. That's a 33% markup!! The bartender at Pizanos's, where I sat while I waited for our ever-punctual crew, was real bartender. He made mixed drinks well and quickly, lit cigarettes, told jokes, gave directions, hit on his female customers, and never let my glass get empty. I happily ponied up for this high quality service. You can eat at the bar if you like, but we were able to get reservations for our large party. It's not a large restaurant, so we took up most of the back room. It's typical Chicago in here; dimly lit, smoky bar, a straightforward menu and service.

This is Pizano's original location, established in 1991. They have a second in the Loop and a third somewhere in the vast wilds of Wrigleyville. The owner is a certain Rudy Malnati Jr. You know, the son of a Chicago legend, Rudy Malnati Sr. of the Pizzeria Uno, and I'm sure junior borrows something from that restaurant. It depends on who you believe, but Rudy Sr. was a bartender and manager and most people believe he helped create the special recipe and cooking style of deep dish pizza. Of course, he also has close ties to Lou Malnati's pizzeria since Lou is his brother. We're talking Chicago pizza royalty with these three restaurants and Rudy Jr is the forgotten son at this point. He does not have the fame of his brother and certainly not of his father, but the real important issue here is, how does his pizza compare to those pizza giants? For what it's worth, all you Penny Pollack fans should know that she declared it the best pizza in town in her book Everybody Loves Pizza by virtue of it being the only pizzeria in Chicago to make her nationwide top 10 list. So like I said, take her ringing endorsement for what it may be worth.

We ordered 3 pies:

  • Deep Dish, Spinach and Garlic
  • Thin Crust, Rudy's Special (Sausage, Green Peppers, Onion, Mushrooms)
  • Thin Crust, Rudy's Veggie Special (Green Peppers, Onion, Mushrooms)
I don't have the cooking time for Pizano's since I hadn't thought of recording it yet. Due to a paper trail of checks, we know that it was $15 for food and beer and $10 for food alone; not bad. We took the bus here, but some members were able to find parking since it was a weeknight. Oh, and they had some decent beer on tap. No MGD twist-offs for me, just smooth bar talk and hoppy ales.

The CPC has not yet scored Pizano's.

Pizano's Pizza & Pasta on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

PreBlog Meetings

This is a list of meetings that occurred prior to the start of the blog.
Places that have been revisited or had their paper reviews transcribed are crossed out. Thanks for your patience while we update these.

Nick and Vito's
Bolzano's (now closed and with good reason)
Brick's Chicago
Pizza DOC
Pompei's (This was a highly controversial meeting)
Nancy's Pizza
Villa Napoli
The Baked Tomato
Guy's Pizza
Pie Hole

Regrettably, these were visited but have no written documentation:
Pat's Pizza
Art of Pizza
Lucky Vito's