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Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Pizzeria Serio [Meeting #100]

Pizzeria Serio
1708 W. Belmont Ave [GoogleMaps]
Chicago, IL
(773) 525-0600

CPC invaded Pizzeria Serio on 10/12/10.

We had previously been invited to Pizzeria Serio for a tasting prior to their official opening. We decided to give them a few months to work out the kinks and get their business running before heading back for an official visit. I'll note that Scott, the owner and pizza-maker, knew we were coming and gave us some complimentary calzones that we would not have otherwise ordered. How his knowledge of our attendance affected the pizzas is unknown because the restaurant wasn't packed this evening and he was making all the pizzas that night anyway.

Since our previous report, Pizzeria Serio has opened and acquired the sought after alcohol license. They had some nice bottles and drafts of local microbrews and I settled in with a Three Floyd's Alpha King to enjoy my pizza. Despite initial concerns that the city wouldn't allow him to burn wood in his oven, he was able to make the necessary changes to the hood to incorporate wood burning into his gas-fueled oven.

We happened to be there on a Tuesday and there is a nice special for pizzas - get 50% off your second pizza. We ordered 6 pizzas (and got the 50% for 3 of them):

  • Marinara
  • Margherita
  • Margherita Con Carne
  • Sausage and Peppas
  • Diavolo
  • The Big Cheese
Initial plans for 2 sizes of pizza have been scrapped and they settled on a 14" one-size-fits-all pizza. No major changes have been made to the crust from the initial review and usually it holds up well. I think that in trying to make The Big Cheese and Sausage and Peppas fully topped, he does a disservice to his crust. It is obviously overpowered and left soggy by the ingredients. In contrast, I felt that the crust on the Margheritas was excellent largely because they were approriately topped. The Marinara was quite good, although I thoroughly enjoyed the excessive amount of garlic. I was excited by the Diavolo, but in the end found it too spicy for my tastes (and I usually enjoy spicy food). The pepperoncini were all I could taste of the pizza. The sauce is sweeter than you would expect to find on this type of pizza, but not as sweet as an Aurelio's (or most South Side places, for that matter). I thought it worked well - particularly on the calzone.

I think the single most impressive thing I ate this night were the calzones. The bread was spot-on and the simple ricotta and mozzarella filling puts the focus squarely on the bread and a little bit of sauce. Last time, I really enjoyed the soppressata and I failed to get it this time - mistake. I think that in general, the best pizzas here tend to be the more simple ones. Scott is working on adding a spinach pizza to the menu, but otherwise he's locked in.

Pizzeria Serio is not touting itself as a NYC pizza place, but that's what its pizza most closely resembles. There are more hits than misses here, with the misses coming mainly from excesses - toppings, heat, . I find that a less complicated pizza from Serio really shines and showcases their technique better than more convoluted options. They have multiple large HD screens and a nice bar upstairs for watching sports. This western edge of Lakeview is short on pizzerias and Serio fills the void for a good neighborhood pizzeria.