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, December 11, 2006

Chicago Pizza & Oven Grinder Co. [Meeting #38]

Chicago Pizza & Oven Grinder Co.
2121 N Clark St. (Google Maps)
(773) 248-2570

CPC invaded Chicago Pizza & Oven Grinder Co. on 12/21/06

Well, it took two tries and we still only had three people show up, but the 38th Meeting of the Chicago Pizza Club was an unqualified success as we tasted a pizza like no other – Pizza Pot Pie at Chicago Pizza & Oven Grinder Company.

On February 14, 1929, the Valentine’s Day Massacre took place directly across the street. Rumor has it, the current home of Chicago Pizza & Oven Grinder Company was a house used as a lookout by some 1920s gangbangers. No word on whether the owner of the restaurant invented the rumor.

Anyhow, the place takes no reservations but balances that out with a full bar. When we got there, there was no host hanging around, but there was a large crowd of people, some vocalizing their frustration about the wait. Every so often a host does stroll over. He had no pad of paper and does not want anyone’s name. He simply asks how many are in your party and no matter what you say, he tells you the wait is 40 minutes. He remembers the order in which people arrive, so there is no need to hover around the front of the line (though we did so anyhow). It seems the no name policy may be a throwback to the gangbanger days of Lincoln Park’s past – the place also accepts no credit cards. There is no record of anyone ever eating there.

The ambience was nice – fairly dark with wood paneled walls and large wooden booths. The Christmas decorations were a needless reminder that the majority of Americans believe in Creationism.

We arrived at 7:32, gave our number (3) at 7:40 and were told it would 40 minutes. 50 minutes later, we were seated and handed menus. Service was fast and friendly. We sat at 8:30, ordered at 8:35, and got our salad at 8:40.

That’s right, salad. In a break from Pizza Club tradition, we ordered the Great American Salad - lettuce, delicious smoked ham, provolone and Swiss cheese, onions, green peppers, tomatoes, cucumbers, artichoke hearts... tossed with freshly grated Romano cheese. Topped with creamy garlic dressing, sweet and sour poppy seed dressing, fresh ground pepper, and/or an interesting mix of largely unidentified seasonings, the salad was quite tasty.

If one goes to Chicago Pizza & Over Grinder for pizza, the choices are limited. There is only Pizza Pot Pie, no regular pizza. There was some debate as to whether a meatball oven grinder could fall into a broad definition of pizza, we opted not to open that door. Within the pizza pot pie genre, we were given the options of wheat or white, with or without mushrooms, meat sauce or tomato sauce, and ½ pound or full pound. We got three ½ pounders, 2 wheat and 1 white, all with meat sauce and all with mushrooms.

And none of the Pizza Clubbers were able to resist the Adam’s Apple, a delightful warm libation made of red wine, apple cider, whiskey, brandy, raisins and a cinnamon stick.

The pizza itself was good. Not great, but good. I enjoyed the meat sauce and both the wheat and white crust were good. I was expecting more of a pastry type crust as is commonly found in pot pie, but the crust was more of a chewy pizza crust. There was nothing extraordinary about the pizza – no wacky ingredients beyond the “doorknob size” mushrooms which were far smaller than any doorknob any pizza club member has ever laid eyes on. The meat sauce, while good, was also unlike any pizza sauce we’d ever tasted.

All in all, this was a pretty unique place which was good, but not great. The long line will forever remain a mystery. The pizza was good enough that I would not write it off as a gimmick, but not good enough to wait almost an hour for ever again.

Petey gives Chicago Pizza and Oven Grinder a 6.6/10.

Waiting for our "number"

A salad at Pizza Club?!?? Yes, it happened

Salads gone, let's get down to real business!

Pizza Pot Pie, ready to serve

Being born

Where it went down

Chicago Pizza and Oven Grinder Co. on Urbanspoon

Monday, December 04, 2006

Pizza Metro II [Meeting #37]

Pizza Metro II
925 N. Ashland Ave. (Google Maps)
(773) 772-3267

CPC invaded Pizza Metro II on 12/7/06

Is there anything better on an arctic-cold evening than nice hot pizza with friends? I sure as hell don't think so, and I'm sure the members of the Chicago Pizza Club who braved the cold weather last night will agree with me.

Pizza Metro II is (as the name implies) the second location of the popular East Village pizzeria, Pizza Metro. Their 2nd location boasts an expanded seating area and a larger menu with more pasta items. But dammit, we were there for the pizza and we wasted no time in ordering up three hot pies to warm our chilled innards. After careful study of the menu—which boasts several unusual ingredients as corn, peas, and potatoes—we made our choices. Pizza Metro serves rectangular thin crusts pizza which are quite large and hover somewhere in the realm of 'not quite a thin crust' and 'not quite a pan pizza.' Our selections were as follows:

  • Pepperoni & Garlic

  • Italian Sausage & Basil

  • Potato & Rosemary
Since Pizza Metro II offers you the option of ordering by the whole pizza, by the half pizza, or by the slice we ordered two whole pizzas and a half pizza of the Potato & Rosemary. Our pizzas came about 20 minutes after we ordered. And yes, they were all quite tasty. They all hide a nice crispy crust that wasn't too dry, and I remember enjoying the cheese quite a bit too. The Pepperoni & Garlic seemed to be the favorite of the group, with them using what we all agreed was just the perfect amount of garlic. The Sausage & Basil was also pretty satisfying as well. And I remember being initially impressed by the unusual flavor of the Potato & Rosemary pizza, but after a few more slices it soon lost it's lustre. We made the right decision in ordering that pizza as a half.

Take note Pizza Clubbers, these pizzas are BIG! The five of us who did manage to make it out last night found ourselves intimidated by the amount of pizza we ordered, but on the whole, too much pizza is never considered a problem. Overall, these pizzas didn't disappoint, but they didn't exactly blow minds either. I'd refer to this place as that "ole' dependable" kind of neighborhood joint that you'd support if you lived nearby, but not the kind of place you'd exactly go out of your way for. Rock-solid, but not outstanding.

Pizza Metro II is BYOB and also has a small cooler of sodas in bottles, cans and 2-liters. The seating area is fairly small (I'm curious to see the original Pizza Metro's seating area if this place is considered "expanded"), and last night it was a bit chilly in their restaurant, but we were soon warmed up with our pizzas. The prices were fairly average, with beverages and a LOT of leftover pizza to take home it came to about $14 a Pizza-Clubber. Since we probably had enough pizza left for another 4 members, it would have been less than $10 had more people shown up. The staff were all very helpful and friendly as well.

Petey gives Pizza Metro II a 6.75/10.

Italian Sausage & Basil to warm us up...

Potatoes on a pizza?! Yes, it's true

The crowd-pleasing Pepperoni & Garlic

Where it went down

Pizza Metro II on Urbanspoon