Ranalli's on Clark
2301 N. Clark St. Map
CPC invaded Ranalli's on 6/25/08.
Ranalli's is a family-owned Italian restaurant that first opened on Lincoln Avenue in the 1970s. In addition to the current Lincoln Park location on Clark that we visited, Ranalli's also has restaurants in Andersonville and on Montrose. Each location offers a variety of pizza styles in addition to standard Italian fare, with a few Mexicanish staples mixed in.
The indoor dining room of the Clark Street location seats about 100 and is set up as a typical Lincoln Park bar/restaurant. Because our visit took place on a lovely summer evening, we elected to dine on the outdoor patio facing Clark to accommodate member Fred. We were joined by enough others to order all five styles of pizza on Ranalli's menu. We also took advantage of a couple of notable offers. With respect to the pizza, you can order any number of toppings and all the toppings after the fourth are free. You can also get a bucket of six beers for the price of five, which were priced pretty reasonably even without the bucket.
We ordered the following pies:
- Super thin wheat crust pizza with mozzarella, cheddar, swiss, provolone
- Thin crust I Heart Mexico pizza
- Pan pizza with capicola, mortadella, genoa salami
- Stuffed pizza with basil and tomatoes
- Double Decker pizza with sausage, bacon, garlic, tomatoes, green peppers, mushrooms, onions
Although the reviews reflect fairly divergent opinions among our members as to whether the pizza as a whole passed muster, most agreed that the toppings made Ranalli's stand out a bit. The variety was excellent, and most of the toppings themselves were pretty good. The various pork products we tried won't be mistaken for having come from your favorite Italian deli, but pork is pork, and pork tastes good.
The thin, pan, and stuffed pizzas are in line with what you typically find at a pedestrian Chicago pizza place, but I was not sure what to expect from the Double Decker. It is, in fact, exactly what it sounds like: a thin layer of crust topped with sauce/cheese/toppings, followed by another thin layer of crust topped with sauce/cheese/toppings. It also had a very thick circle of bread/crust around the edges. The crust was no more remarkable than with any of the other pizzas, but we were impressed that the layer of crust in the middle of the pizza stayed crispy. And the wild toppings party ordered up for the Double Decker made each bite more interesting than most of the other pies.
The Mexican pizza was different from taco pizzas we have tried in the past. This pizza seemed to have more beans than usual, and it had no tomatoes or lettuce. Or sauce, as far as I could tell. Also, don't order it if you're not willing to get three to four jalapenos in every bite.
The cost came out to $13/person for those abstaining from fun, I mean beverages, and $16/person for the rest of us. Note that Ranalli's will validate your parking in the adjacent pay lot for up to 90 minutes.
Overall, I'm not sure why some of our harsher judges were so disappointed. I did not think any aspect of any pizza stood out as bad, though the failure of the crust, sauce, and most of the cheese to stand out at all is why I found the pizza a bit humdrum. Kate-D. gives Ranalli's a 5.5.
Petey gives Ranalli's 4.9375 / 10.
Dan and Fred enjoying their post-pizza afterglow...
Where it went down...