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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.

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Wednesday, September 03, 2008

[Chicago Pizza News] Environmentally Sound Pizza Chain Coming to Naperville

Fort Lauderdale-based Pizza Fusion, which bills itself as an environmentally friendly pizzeria, is coming to Naperville .

Established in 2006, there are currently 7 locations, 5 in Florida and one each in California and Pennsylvania. The locations page of the company's website indicates that locations in 11 additional states, including Illinois, are coming soon. Pizza Fusion does not intend to stop there - the planned expansion includes 40 locations in Chicagoland over the next five years.

Using organic ingredients in their food and hybrid cars to deliver them are just a couple of the ways that Pizza Fusion is setting itself apart from other pizzerias. The company also offsets 100% of its power consumption with renewable energy certificates, and it builds LEED-certified restaurants.

The company's website and press clippings say far less about the quality of the pizza than the environmental impact of the restaurants. They are oval-shaped thin crust pies that use almost all organic ingredients, and the meat toppings are either free range or, in the case of lobster and shrimp, caught in the wild. They also offer a couple of vegan pizzas and a gluten free pizza.

4 comments:

  1. Dear Mr. Collins,

    Thank you for your interest in Pizza Fusion. My name is Eric Haley, Vice President of Communications with Pizza Fusion. I wanted to take a moment to direct you to our 'What Separates Us' section that goes into detail about the quality of our food, which you might have overlooked - http://www.pizzafusion.com/menu/what-separates-us/default.aspx.

    We take great pride in the quality and taste of our food; especially our pizza, as we've invested numerous hours of research and development into creating an outstanding pizza. Every single ingredient, from the all-natural sea salt and organic olive oil to the organic flour in our crusts, has been meticulously taste tested and handpicked to ensure a premium pizza through and through.

    Coming from the south suburbs of Chicago myself, I wouldn’t work for Pizza Fusion if their product was anything less than outstanding. While we’re not the traditional Chicago deep dish style, we do have a delicious thin crust that has created a strong following of customers here in South Florida and beyond. Furthermore, the taste of our pizza is the most important detail to every franchisee who considers opening a Pizza Fusion. With 75 franchises sold in 15 states since launching our franchise program in 2007, I think that’s a testament in itself of the quality of our food.

    Again, thank you for your interest in Pizza Fusion. We’re very excited to be expanding in the Chicago area. Please feel free to contact me directly if I may answer any questions – 954-449-7244.

    Sincerely,

    Eric Haley

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  2. Just to clarify: What I wrote was that, "The company's website and press clippings say far less about the quality of the pizza than the environmental impact of the restaurants." I looked at every page of the website, including the one Mr. Haley highlighted, and I stand by that statement.

    I think the concept is great, but I do find the lack of comments on and/or reviews of the quality of the food to be a bit odd.

    I did some additional research and found a couple of positive reviews of the food, including one in the Palm Beach Post. I do look forward to trying Pizza Fusion. The fact that they sell pizza will get me to try it and the concept has me excited about it, but the quality of the food will determine whether I return.

    I would be remiss if I did not point something rather troubling I discovered in my research, which was inspired by Mr. Haley's comment. I also looked at Yelp, where I found that someone named Eric H. in Fort Lauderdale reviewed two different Pizza Fusion locations in glowing terms. So glowing in fact, that I have to think the Eric H. from Ft. Lauderdale is the same Eric Haley who commented above, and who works for Pizza Fusion. Here's a link that shows both reviews.

    I admire Pizza Fusion's aggressiveness in promoting the restaurant the owners obviously believe strongly in (Here's a link to one of the owners' youtube page which has a collection of news clips on Pizza Fusion), but posting reviews of their own restaurant, without identifying themselves...well that's just wrong.

    In any event, I'm sure the CPC will hit up Pizza Fusion at some point, likely after there is a location in the City. I look forward to trying it.

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  3. Fair enough. If it tastes good i'm happy to support them.

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  4. I visited Pizza Fusion's Naperville location this week for the 1st time. It was clean and earth friendly. In fact they took time to explain to me all the various earth friendly items were used in the building. My meal was interupted for this dialogue, I didn't ask.

    The food took a very long time to come out to the table. The salad that would feed four, was very small compared to other restaurants, had barely any salad dressing on it, and was over priced for what I got.

    The pizza itself was very good. Crispy, fresh and very flavorful. I was impressed with the quality. I was however surprised at the small size. While it tasted great, for $20.00, I expected more! Generally when I buy a large pizza, we have leftovers for the next day. Not so at this restaurant. I had an $8.00 appetizer flat bread at California Pizza Kitchen that was the same size and more filling than my meal at Pizza Fusion. As we were leaving the restaurant, I overhead the man at the table behind us state, "This is supposed to be a $20 pizza? It's pretty small don't you think!"

    I agreed with him.

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