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Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Coalfire [Meeting #42]

1321 West Grand Ave
Tel: (312) 226-2625

CPC invaded Coalfire Wednesday, May 30

Bittersweet pizza memories will be associated with this meeting. We bid adieu (temporarily) to Michelle, Dave, Ryan, and shortly, to official CPC photohrapher Kelly. Luckily, I think finding this new pizzeria more than makes up for their departure.

Coalfire was so internet hot that it ran out of dough a few times right after its opening. LTH and Chicagoist and the papers all stoked the flames early on. It's pretty clear that there is a market for traditional pizza in this town since DOC and Spacca Napoli are always hopping. Coalfire bills itself as a Massachusetts cum Italian style cooked with a coal oven. The oven is no artwork like what you'll find at Spacca Napoli, but it gets pretty damn hot just the same.

We ordered essentially every pizza on the menu. Size-wise, unless you're really hungry most people will have some leftover with each pizza. They're perfect for sharing with one person and still leaving room for an appetizer. Our pizzas started rolling in as they were coming out of the oven; 20 minutes after our order was placed.

Speaking in generalities, the ingredients were all fresh - no cans here except for those involved in the sauce. Bari Foods supposedly contributes to the meat toppings, a positive sign. Ingredient distribution is even on all pies. None of that business where all the toppings are on one quarter of the pizza and the rest is bare. What most people have been talking about, deservedly, is the crust. It's what makes this place a destination. The edges are burnt and sooty, the inside is soft and chewy but never soggy. It's also quite consistent. We ordered 10 pizzas and all were perfectly cooked.

Briefly, the service is quick and economical. Not much rest for a busy staff and they were able to accommodate our request for a 12 person table despite what I'm sure was an inconvenience to them on a busy weeknight. Our order had no mistakes and our water glasses were full.

To our departing CPC members, fare thee well. I'm just glad I still live in Chicago and only 2 blocks away from this place. Don't feel bad guys, I'm sure you'll find great pizza in Ohio and Miami too.

Petey gives Coalfire a score of 7.325/10.

Holy Basil!

The Pizza Club does anchovies...

Coal Fire cooked goodness

Don't let the burnt crust scare you

Coalfire on Urbanspoon