4849 W. 95th Street
Oak Lawn, IL
CPC invaded Palermo's on 12/11/08.
Palermo's is our first fan request Chicago Pizza Club Meeting. It was on our list of places to try, but since we received maybe 5 emails over the last few months suggesting we try their thin-crust pizza I moved it up on our priority list. It's been a long standing Italian restaurant in Oak Lawn for over 30 years. In that time, its thin-crust pizza has developed a following around the city as one of the best although a quick tour of less illustrious review sites reveals real "love it or hate it" opinions from other customers.
Palermo's and the nearby Italian restaurants on this stretch of 95th street all have a similar cavernous space divided into many small and cozy nooks. And they all know how to fill them up - they always seem to be operating at near maximum capacity even on a cold Thursday evening. After some drinks and chatting with one of the owners, we placed our order. We were given the options of having the pizza come out at the same time or staggered as they came out of the oven as well as a choice in our deep dish and stuffed crusts between regular, slightly burned, and slightly undercooked. We chose to have the pizzas delivered with regular crusts and asked for them to be brought out as soon as they were done baking.
- Thin crust with pepperoni and mushrooms
- Regular with pineapple and half canadian bacon
- Stuffed with spinach
- Deep dish with sausage and onions
The toppings were perfunctory and abundant. They had a hard time standing out amidst the sauce on the pizza. I will note that it appears that the mushrooms were canned, although I personally didn't notice the canned mushroom brininess right away, and the spinach, while excellent, appeared to be frozen based on the color and way it was chopped. The cheese was the standard pizza mozzarella. I enjoyed it and found that they put on a good amount, except for the stuffed pizza which was tightly stuffed with lots of spinach. By choosing to sell four pizzas, they essentially choose to sell you four different crusts. The regular is that kind of in-between crust that you find in Chicago. I found ours to be soggy and collapsed. The thin crust is nearing the cracker thin crust of bar pizzas in Chicago and had a nice breadcrumb coating on its underside. This crust was certainly crispy and had a good crunch to it. The deep dish pizza crust was surprisingly light and crisp for a denser crust. Finally, the stuffed pizza crust did a good job of holding the heft of its contents and still being noticeable despite the avalanche of spinach. Word to the wise, they bring these pies out piping hot from the oven. Let them sit for a few minutes before digging in, maybe even longer for the stuffed pizza.
Tony and his staff made frequent stops at our table to make sure everyone was kosher. At the end of the meal, they gave us dessert wine and a platter consisting of creme brulee, tiramisu, and Nina's cake, a variation on the Italian cassata. Nina's cake was new for me, a cake with rice pudding as the filling. The pizzas came out in an appropriate time frame despite the heavy rush of diners and large volume of take-out and delivery orders. The bill came out to $14 apiece for all the pizza we could eat.
Petey gives Palermo's a 5.975