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:


Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Caffe Florian [Meeting #28]

Caffe Florian
1450 E. 57th Street (Google Maps)

CPC invaded Caffe Florian on 3/29/06

Caffe Florian is one of many restaurants in Hyde Park that make pizza. During orientation at the U of C you quickly become familiar with The Medici, Caffe Florian, Pizza Capri, and Edwardo's since every function you attend has pizza from all of these places. Surprisingly, the university neglects to provide its students with Cholie's Pizza, but that's a different story. There are three reactions to the pizza offerings at these meetings. You can be (1) a rube and declare how delicious it all was compared to the standards (Pizza Hut and Domino's), (2) from Chicago and feel disheartened that Hyde Park doesn't contain good pizza, or (3) an East Coast snob and hate the pizza because it wasn't made in New York and OMFG, did you realize we're not in New York anymore???

Eventually you come to realize a few things

  • Cholie's is bad in a good way; the adjacent Falcon Inn is just bad
  • The pizza wasn't so bad, it was just laying in cardboard boxes for half an hour before anyone touched it
  • On second thought, the Medici really is that bad. Just because they let you carve your name anywhere you want doesn't mean the overpriced pizza is any good.
Though Hyde Park residents are split on their favorite pizza, Caffe Florian always has supporters that endorse its crust as the only one in Hyde Park worth a damn. Plus, it is BYOB, a handy touch for the cheap, the discerning, and the underaged. We sat down at the big booth in the back and ordered the following pies:
  • Thin Crust, Pepperoni, Garlic, Onion
  • Pan (regular), Ham, Basil
  • Pan (wheat), the special Artichoke Pesto pizza
It was pretty empty on this Wednesday evening and the pizza came very quickly, in 22 minutes. Our waiter was quick and unobtrusive, a refreshing change from our recent experiences and I didn't mind giving him his 18% gratuity for parties of 6 or more. All the ingredients that were sliced (ham, garlic, onion) were finely diced. I appreciated this because it ensured a better flavor distribution even if there is less texture. The artichoke pesto pizza was still covered in tomato sauce and not just pesto. As I said earlier, Florian is BYOB and good thing. For 3 pizzas and 7 people, it came to $9.50 per person. For anyone in their delivery area, I remember that they include little packets of cheese, oregano, and red pepper flakes in their orders. Now that's service. It's also right next to the 57th street Electric Metra line if anyone is going home to the south suburbs and wants some pizza.

Petey gives Caffe Florian a score of 8.6

The pepperoni & garlic goes fast...

Ham & Basil

The last slice...

"Do you like Pizza? Yeah, me too"

Where it went down

Caffe Florian on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

D'Agostino's Pizza and Pub [Meeting #27]

D'Agostino's Pizza and Pub
1351 W. Addison St. (Google Maps)
Chicago, IL
(773) 477-1821

CPC invaded D'Agostino's Pizza and Pub on 3/23/06

I don't know the history of D'Agostino's, but I like to let my imagination test its legs in cases like this. I imagine some dude, Mr. D'Agostino, opens his restaurant in 1968 (this is actually true) and watches as throngs of Cubs fans walk by on their way home after yet another loss and wonders why they don't come into his restaurant. So he labours in the kitchen, trying to improve his recipe, and dies. At this point, his wife and sons continue his life's work and they finally realize that the fans haven't stopped in because they're too full of Old Style to want to eat anything. In this rather unrewarding process, the pizza has gotten pretty good and now that the original hard scrabble Cubs fans have been displaced by the young, the upwardly mobile, the urban professionals who pride themselves on good taste, business finally flourishes.

Ok, it's a lame story, but my job stifles creativity and the story does underscore how I feel about the food and the Cubs, both of which are important. To me.

I don't remember the sizes, but who really cares? We ordered:

  • Sundried Tomato Pizza, a special with goat cheese, basil, and sundried tomatoes
  • Thin Crust, Pepperoni, Mushroom
  • Pan Pizza, Sausage, Onion
  • Stuffed, Spinach
So after negotiating the false entrance, we were given a large table by the very same false entrance that fooled most of us as we tried to enter the restaurant. It provided considerable amusement throughout the night to observe people pulling and tugging on a door that won't open only to finally read the sign posted directing you to another door for entrance. Our waitress was atrocious. It took her forever to come to our table and when we told her we weren't quite ready, it was a kiss of death. She decided that we since we were unable to order 2 minutes after sitting down, we surely must need half an hour or more. So after finally tracking her down, we placed our order and 35 minutes later our pizzas started emerging.

Let's begin with the sundried tomato pizza. The goat cheese was mild and I almost forgot the basil was on the pizza, but the sundried tomatoes were excellent. The pepperoni pizza featured D'Agostino's sweet sauce, and I mean that in a positive way. The have ample amounts of sauce under the cheese without making the crust soggy. The mushrooms imparted a stronger flavor than one would expect and I enjoyed it. The pan and stuffed pizzas were both good stabs at Chicago classics. The crust held up well under the weight of the ingredients. Another affordable night out; pizza was about $10 per person.

A few more things of note regarding D'Agostino's:
  • I've ordered takeout from their River North location many times. It's pretty good, but not as good as Dine-In
  • Wednesday diners get a large pizza with one topping for half price
  • They had Goose Island Honker's Ale and Sierra Nevada Pale Ale on tap
  • I once saw my friend's band play in their basement, also known as the Monkey Room. Don't expect touring bands to play here, it's likely all local, but they have beer down there and it's a fun space
  • The Chicago Bar Project reviews the bar side of the restaurant here
Petey gives D'Agostino's a score of 6.8

Delicious stuffed crust

Their Pan Pizza

The two thin crust pizzas

The lay of the land

Where it went down

Monday, March 13, 2006

Waldo Cooney's Pizzeria [Meeting #26]

Waldo Cooney's Pizzeria
2410 W. 111th street GoogleMaps

CPC invaded Waldo Cooney's on 3/15/06

Waldo Cooney's is a name many people associate with South Side pizza. It has 6 locations and was established in 1981. Mainly known as a take-out operation, it does have a few tables at each location. After calling another location, we chose this one because it had the most seats of any location within city limits. It had 6 tables with seating for 22. We were greeted by two high school-aged employees behind the counter. Now, maybe they thought we were older or just really lame, but I noticed halfway through the meal that the radio station they had on was playing bands like Wilson-Phillips, Celine Dion, Aaron Neville. Aaron Neville was a treat, but every other band on the radio sucked.

Ok, on to the pizza. We ordered 3 pies this time:

  • 18" Thin Crust, Sausage, Green Peppers, Onions, and Mushrooms
  • 18" Thin Crust, Green Peppers, Onions, Mushrooms
  • 14" Thick Crust, Spinach
The pies took about a half an hour to arrive, and were served unceremoniously in take out boxes. This is not an indictment of Waldo's, since they're not usually a dine-in establishment. They gave us plates and some knives and we got a free 2 liter bottle of RC-Cola. They have tons of Coca-Cola paraphernalia on their walls, but interestingly, in true South Side Style, they feature RC Cola. The pizza was, in a word, unimpressive. The two thin crust pizzas featured fresh ingredients and the sausage was average. The sauce was sweet and not overly seasoned, but was hardly present in any appreciable quantity. The thick crust pizza, not to be confused with pan or stuffed, turned out to be the winner of the bunch. I'm not sure if the spinach was fresh or not, but it tasted good and there was enough sauce so you didn't have to imagine tasting it. I think as a group we were all underwhelmed by Waldo's and it appears their reputation exceeds their quality; I hope that at some point they were able to actually meet it.

Our costs came to about $10 a person for these three pizzas. Incidentally, they have a great offer of a large slice and a pop for $2.89 if you're travelling solo.

Petey gives Waldo Cooney's a score of 4

The first victim...

Mmm... crust!

The club in action

Dave goes in for the kill!

Where it went down

Waldo Cooneys Pizza on Urbanspoon

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Home Run Inn [Meeting #25]

Homerun Inn
4254 W. 31st Street (Google Maps)
Chicago, IL 60623
Phone: 773-247-9696

CPC invaded Home Run Inn on 3/1/06

Snap, this isn't just a frozen pizza company?

Founded in 1947, Home Run Inn has been serving up tasty pizza and classic pasta, sandwiches, and salads since its birth. Plus, it's on the South Side so you know it's good. It's basically 5 miles west of Comiskey Park, standing as a landmark in yet another Chicago neighborhood to undergo massive change in the last half century.

On the outside, you'll quickly notice that they have three parking lots, all of which appeared pretty full. This might be due more to the well organized and busy takeout service they offer than it is to the sit down diners. The dining room is relatively small and has long tables that can accomodate 2 people or can be put together to seat 12. They offer a pizza feast, which is basically $10 a person and you get an order of chicken tenders, cheese sticks, toasted ravioli, garlic bread, salads for everyone, and a one-topping pie for every 4 people.

Our waitress was pleasant, even when it took us awhile to order. This place is not cheap and the ingredient list wasn't as thorough as many places offer nowadays. They do have specials listed and we decided that we had to go with the specialty pies. They are:

  • Garlic Fireball - sausage, jalapenoes, giardiniera, all on garlic butter crust
  • Laurie's Favorite - spinach, plum tomatoes, all on garlic butter crust
  • Nick's Super - sausage, mushrooms, pepper, onions
  • Chicago's Best - sausage, pepperoni, smoked bacon
  • BBQ Chicken - baked chicken, Sweet Baby Ray's sauce, onions, mozarella, and cheddar
We went with the first two, one medium and one large. The order was placed at 7:52 pm and we recieved our food at 8:13 pm. Nice turnaround. Coke fans, beware: this is a Pepsi joint and when you ask for a Coke they will surreptitiously bring you a Pepsi in its stead. One more thing, they offer a garlic butter crust on all your pizzas for an additional $1.50 (unless it's already on the specials). I don't see how you avoid getting it. The total damage was $15 apiece for 5 people. Not cheap, but not breaking the wallet either.

Petey gives Home Run Inn a score of 8.7

I'd like to leave you with a few deep thoughts before you look at the pictures:

This place really hit it out of the park!

Or, this place is a grand slam!

Or, don't swing and miss, come to Home Run Inn!

I may have a future in advertisements and/or talk shows.

Batter up...

Going, going.... gone!

Where it went down

Home Run Inn on Urbanspoon