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Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Aurelio's [Meeting #65; Meeting #8 Revisited]

Aurelios's Pizza
18162 Harwood Ave
Homewood, IL 60430

CPC invaded Aurelio's on 9/17/08.

Aurelio's Pizza is a local favorite of the south suburbs of Chicago. It has been so successful that it has spawned many franchises in six states scattered throughout the Midwest. The original building is no more, but the current one in Homewood is just down the street from the original. It was moved to the current cavernous location because they needed more space to seat their large customer base. Joe Aurelio opened the original in 1959 and rapidly outgrew his 4 table operation. They claim on their website that their 12,000 square foot restaurant is the largest pizzeria in the world. I was unable to substantiate that claim, but suffice it to say that it is very large. Although they have over 40 franchises, the flagship location in Homewood is still owned by the descendants of Joe Aurelio. It took 20 minutes from the time we ordered for our pizzas to start trickling onto our table.

We ordered:

  • Medium thin with onions, garlic, and meatballs
  • Medium thin with pepperoni and canadian bacon
  • Lil taco
  • Medium stuffed with sausage
Aurelio's is best known for its sweet sauce on thin crust pizza. They use a party cut and a metal rack to hold the pizza. I forgot to ask if the pizza is cooked on a rack or not, but I doubt it. There would be no way to cut a pizza on a rack. I'm not sure if the function of this rack is to allow the pizza to cool or to allow any grease to drip off to keep the crust dry and crisp. I had fond memories of the sauce at Aurelio's over any other specific part of the pizza and it remains on the sweeter end of the spectrum. Luckily, they don't skimp on the quantity the place on their pizza either.

Of the pizzas we ordered, the general consensus was that the onion pizza was the best. The onion opened up the full profile of the sauce and the meatball. I did not remember that Aurelio's made a stuffed pizza until we got to the restaurant. This is a true stuffed pizza - the top layer of crust is more substantial than you normally find. It might be more accurate to call it a calzone with a layer of sauce on top. The thin crust, whether aided or not by the rack, was crisp and held up well to the toppings. It was a medium thickness flour crust. No cracker, cornmeal, or buttery crust here.

Aurelio's bills itself as a family pizzeria and we were willing to see what they could offer us. After the meal, we spent some time playing their carnival games and one member managed to win the claw game and fish out a patriotic and needy teddy bear. Score! We also certainly appreciated the proximity to the award-winning and just flat out excellent product at Flossmoor Station Brewery. We headed over afterwards to let the pizza settle and play with our new toys before making the trek back into town.

Petey gives Aurelio's a 7.625


The sign doesn't lie...


Bosco Sticks!


The Meatball, Garlic and Onion thin crust...


The 'Lil Taco!


The Pepperoni and Canadian Bacon thin crust...


El Presidente orders me to document the meatball...


The Stuffed Pizza with Sausage...


We work hard and we play hard...


Where it went down...


Aurelio's Pizza on Urbanspoon

5 comments:

  1. I enjoyed this pizza (mainly the thin crusts), but I'm afraid to say my mind wasn't blown away. The sauce was good, but for as sweet as it was I felt that they used too much of it. The crust was not disagreeable, mainly serving utilitarian purposes. The main highlight I thought for me was the cheese. Overall, the meatball, garlic and onion was far and away the best pizza we ordered… all of the toppings were delicious and worked very well together. The pepperoni and Canadian bacon pizza was overpowered by the pepporoni. The stuffed pizza probably had the biggest upper layer of crust of any stuffed pizza I'd had, and I did enjoy that, but again, being a stuffed pizza there was a lot of sauce and it overpowered. But this is all nit-picking mostly, and I greatly enjoyed the extra cooked cheese on the edges of the crusts on the thin crusts... overall I give this place a 7.5

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  2. Only do what you do well. I wish more pizzerias would follow this advice.

    Aurelio's does a fabulous job at a thin crust pizza, but because we got a boutique taco pizza and a stuffed pizza, they are going to get downgraded. The pepperoni and canadian bacon pizza didn't work well. It might as well have been a pepperoni pizza because other than bulk, the bacon had no flavor. As mentioned before, there was a real synergy in the other thin crust with the sauce, subtle onions, and robust meatball. The pepperoni, sausage, and meatball all had strong flavors and I would get any of them on a topping here. Finally, a note on the sauce: it is sweet and they put a lot of it on the pizza, but I really like that they do.

    Overall score - 7.1

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  3. I was pleasantly surprised by Aurelio's. Albeit definitely the furthest I have ever, and will ever travel for pizza again, I am happy I went. Starting off with Bosco sticks was a great idea since it took six days to get to Homewood and we were starving by the time we got there. They were delicious, but it was a tad bit gluttonous of us (gluttony is not recommended for those on the 'don't be ridiculous diet').

    As for the pizza, I LOVED the sweetness of the sauce. It was very nicely complimented by the ingredients on the meatball pizza. I burned the roof of my mouth on the first bite which was so delicious couldn't wait for the pizza to cool down to take the second bite, so I burned my mouth again. I'll agree with the other's that I wish I could have tasted more of the Canadian bacon over the pepperoni on the next pizza. I think that these ingredients would have also been a lovely compliment to the sweet sauce, but the pepperoni was way too overwhelming. I did like the stuffed sausage, but it wasn't my favorite. The sausage was great, and I loved the abundance of sauce, but I think the crust was just a bit too much for my liking. All three pizzas were delicious cold for lunch the next day. The pepperoni mellowed out so I could actually taste the Canadian bacon and the stuffed pizza crust had absorbed the flavors of the sauce.

    I wish I could say as much for the taco pizza. I am a firm believer that taco pizza CAN be good! Unfortunately, it is not the case at Aurelio's. Throwing cold cheese, toms, olives, and lettuce over a thin layer of beans does NOT equal taco pizza. There was no taco flavor what-so-ever. It was lame and nobody liked it. I agree with ElP, only do what you're good at, and Aurelio's should just churn out meatball pizzas!!!!!!!!!!

    I give Aurelio's a 7.4/10.

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  4. Aurelio's has a unique combination of sweet sauce and tangy cheese topping that you don't find in the city. The cavernous interior is lit by stained glass lamps that give a cozy feel even though it's a large establishment.

    Bosco sticks are an unholy union of seasoned breadstick and mozzarella stick, with marinara dipping sauce. Be careful otherwise you might blow your appetite on them...

    The pepperoni and canadian bacon pizza was more pepperoni. Canadian bacon isn't going to stand out if it's layered with pepperoni, but the pepperoni, sweet sauce and tangy cheese compliment each other especially well.

    The meatball, onion and garlic pizza looked like a macaroon. I've never had this combination before but I would definitely try these bold flavors again.

    I was one of two people who enjoyed the lil taco. I've only had two others with pizza club, and out of the three, this one had more mexican seasoning. I have yet to try a truly outstanding taco pizza but this one was decent.

    The stuffed pizza had a generous layering of sauce which helped, as I find these types often dry or too doughy. The sausage was solid. Nonetheless, I would stick with their signature thin crust pizzas.

    Don't forget to check out the charming game parlor tucked in the back before you go...

    Aurelio's get's a little nostalgia bump (I grew up near the area and had a few childhood birthday parties there). Though you might feel nostalgic too with it's classic pizza parlor feel. With it's unique recipes for sauce and cheese, it's one of the best pizzas and environments in Chicagoland.

    8.5

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  5. We did in fact blow our appetites on those damn Bosco sticks! They were good but evil.

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