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:


Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Burt's Place [Meeting #32]

Burt's Place
8541 N. Ferris Ave.
Morton Grove, IL 60053
(847) 965-7997

CPC invaded Burt's place 5/3/06

Our initial foray into Burt's Place was fraught with peril. Actually, it just went largely undocumented. Luckily, we ended up going again and this time - we have proof! Check it out here.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Barcello's [Meeting #31]

1647 N Milwaukee Avenue(Google Maps)

773 486 8444

CPC invaded Barcelo's on 4/13/06

This family-owned Bucktown pizzeria has been making their pizza from a top secret recipe developed in Calabria, Italy back in the early 1900's. Eat your heart out, Colonel Sanders. They have a prime location just a block of the intersection of North, Milwaukee, and Damen. Thankfully, Milwaukee Avenue seemed to offer enough parking to accomodate all 13 of the CPC members that attended.

We went on a Thursday night at 7:30 and were the only diners in the restaurant for a good portion of our meal. The decor was nicer than the picture on their webpage suggests and they added a nice touch of tall white flowers (Kelly tells me they are calililies) on every table. It’s nicer than your typical walk-in pizzeria and good for a group of friends but not a romantic place that will impress your first date. The wait staff was pleasant but looked at bit bored by the slow evening. They were helpful over the phone when I made reservations and made a special point of informing me that the restaurant was BYOB. We came armed with Sam Adams, Goose Island, Bass and Guinness.

The menu offered a wide range of pizza sizes (baby 10” – party 18”) and some gourmet ingredients including giardiniera, prosciutto, artichokes, shrimp, cappers, sundried tomatoes, red peppers eggplant, zucchini, and ricotta cheese. They also have a couple specialty options including a taco pizza and a double dough pizza. Barcello’s serves a full menu of Italian dishes and appetizers. Diners on a budget should look for coupons on their takeout menu.

We had the following:
Thin Crust (taco pizza)- tomatoes, lettuce, parmesan cheese, and ground beef
Thin Crust - (veggie pizza) - green peppers, broccoli, spinach
Pan Crust - italian sausage, prosciutto
Stuffed - sundried tomato, spinach
Thin Crust - giardiniera, blue cheese, artichoke (yes, you read that correctly)

The first round of thin crusts took about 45min to arrive, which was a little surprising since we were the only ones in the restaurant. Either there was a busy delivery service that runs in and out the back or they had to pre-heat the ovens when our group walked in. The stuffed crust that I was told would take 45min came at the 1 hour mark. However, when we added another thin crust they were very accomodating and the turn around was only 15min.

Petey gives Barcelo's a 7.35.

The veggie pizza, ready for action

Mmm... cheesey stuffed pizza

And here's the pan crust

Noam digs in

A thin crust

Where it went down

Barcello's on Urbanspoon

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Lou Malnati's [Meeting #30]

Lou Malnati's
6649 N. Lincoln Ave.(Google Maps)

CPC invaded Lou Malnati's on 4/12/06

Lou Malnati’s pizza is a long time Chicagoland treasure. The original pizzeria in Lincolnwood is a converted house into pizza joint. The place has been remodeled numerous times over the years but you can tell the bar area, where we dined and which is as smoke filled as it gets in Chicago lately, is somebody’s old family room. Upon arrival you notice the bartender paying off a NCAA debt to a regular customer as he tops of his Sam Adams. The bar area unlike the rest of the restaurant is old and poorly lit, but filled with character that says, “We come here to escape the wife/husband/boyfriend/girlfriend and have some good pizza.” In the 80’s the kids at the grammar school nearby could always come to Lou Mal’s for a quick game of Mrs. Pac Man and a smoke.

The place is filled with memories and some kick-ass pizza. We ordered these great selections:

  • A thin crust pepperoni pizza
  • A Lou’s, which is a Chicago style deep dish pizza and consists of fresh spinach, mushrooms and sliced tomatoes covered with a blend of mozzarella, romano and cheddar cheese served on a butter crust.
  • Finally we ordered the new crustless sausage “crust" pizza with garlic.
First off, the service was great. We had a great server, Ralu, who was very interested in CPC and seemed very genuine in her concern for our enjoyment of the pies. She was timely with our drinks and generally made sure we had a good time. The pizzas all arrived at the same time, 36minutes (I think) after we ordered them. They were all hot and each had something great to offer.

The sausage crust pizza, designed during the Atkins craze of two ears ago is a carb counter's dream come true. Instead of bread crust there is a layer of sausage which serves as a de facto crust. The sauce on the pizza was plentiful as was the layer of mozzarella cheese. The sauce was different from all the other pizzas as there seemed to be more of it (perhaps trying to make up for lack of crust). The garlic we added was strong and noticeable upon arrival to the table, so watch out on a first date.

The Lou’s was great as well. The veggies were fresh and the sliced tomatoes added something to the sauce. As said earlier, there was less sauce on this pizza and the sauce itself had chunks of tomatoes, which is always nice. The butter crust comes with the pizza so you don’t pay extra for it, but it was not as buttery as some other places CPC has been to. The cheeses all blended together and make you think you are in cheese heaven.

The thin crust pizza was also terrific. The pepperoni on it was nice and spicy. The crust was crispy, but not burned. The cheese was nice and gooey. The sauce also tasted different than the other two pizzas. (It makes one wonder if this place has different sauces for different types of pizzas.) This sauce was hidden beneath the cheese and only came squirting out after each bite. It was a quality thin crust.

Petey gives Lou Malnati's an 8.875.

Mood lighting!

What we came for

Our lovely server (Ralu)

Oh! The carnage!!

Where it went down

Lou Malnati's Pizzeria on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Spacca Napoli [Meeting #29]

Spacca Napoli
1769 W. Sunnyside (Google Maps)

CPC invaded Spacca Napoli on 4/5/06

What to say about Spacca Napoli? First off, this restaurant is located in the Lincoln Square neighborhood and from appearances seems to have opened somewhat recently. They serve vera pizza napoletana, cooked in an imported wood-burning oven, decorated with a tile mosaic by the owner's, Jonathan Goldsmith, wife, Ginny Sykes (some of her art also graces the walls). Some internet research tells me that the oven is made of 13,000 pounds of brick, sand, and tufo imported from Italy and was built by three craftsmen from Naples. In addition to what we would all agree is a very serious oven, this Neapolitan-style pizza place takes their ingredients very seriously, using (among things) fresh whole-milk mozzarella (fior di latte mozzarella), imported Italian flour and olive oil.

The atmosphere of the restaurant had a nice contemporary feel to it, with touches of the Old Country, mainly the paintings on the wall, and the tile mosaic of the pizza oven. We went on a Wednesday night and the place was packed to the gills, with several people (besides us) waiting to be seated. The service was top notch, the owner was very accommodating to our large group, and was also very apologetic about us having to wait for our tables despite having a reservation... the fact that they gave us free champagne and bread while we waited also tends to help. Also, the waiters were very helpful in translating the menu and explaining the differences in the three Italian beers that they serve.

Spacca Napoli serves individually sized pizza's, about 10 inches in diameter. So rather than ordering a few pizzas for the group to share (as we usually do), the Chicago Pizza Club let each member fend for themselves. Everyone's meal averaged out to about $23 per person, and this included a beer and a tip for our server. Orders came pretty quickly, in about 20 minutes (no surprise, considering the size of the oven), and once everyone had tried what they ordered members then started to trade slices in order to sample the variety that this restaurant offers.

We ordered the following:

Marinara tomato, oregano, garlic, basil, olive oil
Margherita tomatoes, oregano, fior di latte mozzarella, basil, olive oil
Funghi tomatoes, fior di latte mozzarella, basil, mushroom, olive oil
Salsiccia tomatoes, fior di latte mozzarella, basil, italian sausage, olive oil
Funghi E Salsiccia tomatoes, fior di latte mozzarella, basil, mushrooms, italian sausage, olive oil
Bufalina tomatoes, basil, mozzarella di bufala, olive oil
Prosciutto E Arucola pizza bianca with provola, prosciutto di parma, arugula shaved parmesan olive oil
Salsiccia E Broccoletti pizza bianca with italian sausage, rapini, fior di latte, olive oil
Bianca Con Bufala pizza bianca with mozzarella di bufala, basil, olive oil
Quattro Formaggi pizza bianca with fior di lette, gorgonzola, ementhal, fontina

Petey gives Spacca Napoli a score of 7.25/10

Ooooh! Exterior Lighting!

The oven, in all her glory

Anti-pasto, the opening act for the main event

Look at that fresh basil!

Man, that looks good... wish I had one right now

Time for your close up Mr. Pizza...

Ryan goes to town

The Chicago Pizza Club in action

Where it went down

Salerno's Restaurant on Urbanspoon