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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Monday, November 30, 2009

Jason Reitman Goes the Extra Mile (4,000 of Them) to Get Giordano's

Jason Reitman, director of films including Juno, Thank You for Smoking, and the new Clooney vehicle, Up in the Air, loves Giordano's. He also loves to collect airline miles.

One time, to preserve his elite status in an unnamed frequent flyer program, the Los Angeles-based auteur needed to pick up 2,500 miles. He could have gone anywhere and the man chose to fly 2,000 miles to Chicago, pick up a Giordano's pizza, and then turn around and fly another 2,000 miles back home. That's an extra 1,500 miles of travel for some pizza.

The best part - the dude's not even from Chicago. The article doesn't say where the Canadian developed his love of stuffed pizza, but I'm going to go ahead and guess it came from his father Ivan Reitman, who surely got plenty of exposure to the pies through Bill Murray and Dan Aykroyd.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Marcello's [Meeting #88]

645 North Ave [GoogleMaps]
Chicago, IL 60610
(312) 645-2550

CPC invaded Marcello's on 11/23/09.

Marcello’s has been serving their signature thin & crispy pizza in Chicago since 1947. There are 2 locations in the city; one in Lincoln Park and the other in Logan Square. Two years ago they opened a third restaurant in the northern suburb Northbrook. For this meeting the Chicago Pizza Club converged upon the Lincoln Park/ Old Town location at 645 W. North Ave. The restaurant anchors the west side of a strip mall that bears a large sign advertising Father & Son plaza (before changing their name to Marcello’s the pizzerias were known as Father & Son). The North Ave location has a large dining room, banquet hall, bar and an attached bakery. In addition to the pizza, Marcello’s has a full menu with entrees ranging from Italian food to BBQ ribs.

All of their pizzas are available on three different types of crust; thin & crispy, N.Y. and whole wheat. In addition to the crusts listed, gluten free is an option available in limited sizes. The thin & crispy “tavern style” crust is what Marcello’s is known for and was chosen for all the pizzas ordered for the review. Four 14” pies proved to be just enough for the crew of eight. As a special treat, 2 desert pizzas were ordered in addition to the four main ones. The six pizzas were:

  • Four Cheese & Plum Tomato — plum tomatoes, mozzarella, parmesan, romano and fontinella cheese with fresh basil & olive oil sauce
  • Thai Chicken — ground chicken breast, spicy peanut sauce, mozzarella cheese, green onions & shredded carrots
  • Sausage and Garlic — sausage, garlic
  • Margarita — whole mozzarella, plum tomatoes and roasted garlic with fresh basil & olive oil sauce
  • Very Berry Dessert Pizza – blueberries, cranberries, blackberries, custard
  • Hot Toffee Apple Pizza – apples, cream cheese

With an unusual, but delicious peanut sauce base the Thai Chicken pizza seemed to be a surprise hit for the group. The plum tomatoes were a real stand-out on both the Margarita and the Four Cheese pizzas although the addition of the pesto base on the Four Cheese seemed to put it a notch ahead. Sausage and garlic worked fine as toppings on the fourth pie but when put up against the other three it seemed to lack any particular outstanding quality. The apple desert pizza had a wonderful buttery crust layered with cinnamon, apples and a streusel topping. A berry desert pizza was also ordered and although good, a strong tart flavor from the cranberries took away from the otherwise sweet pie.

Of the four dinner pizzas ordered all of them managed to come out with same high level of consistency. Marcello’s has an obvious interest in quality as was evident by the special pizza pan used for serving so that crusts don’t get soggy. With a solid tavern-style pizza and some surprisingly delicious and innovative topping combinations, Marcello’s might well be the best pizza in Old Town.

The CPC gives Marcello's an average score of 6.8 / 10.0.

Marcello's Father & Son on Urbanspoon