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, November 23, 2011

Papa Ray’s [Meeting #106]

Papa Ray's
2551 W. Fullerton Ave (Google Maps)
Chicago, IL 60647
(773) 661-2113

CPC crowded into Papa Ray's in the Logan Square neighborhood on November 10, 2011.

We’ve all had pizza-by-the-slice, and to some extent, it’s usually pretty satisfying (more than likely because we’re starving when we get it; on-demand pizza greatly appeals to the under-satiated). The quest for some is to find the best slice they can in that genre to fill the gaps between more refined pizza meals where whole pies are made to order, and generally have greater breadth in topping selection and customization.

One small chain of pizzerias that strives to be the aforementioned go-to for top quality pizza-by-the-slice is Papa Ray’s Pizza & Wings. Founded at the turn of the last decade by George and John Rayyan, Papa Ray’s busted out of the gates with 3 Chicago locations all within a few miles of each other and established in close proximity, timewise. The Chicago Pizza Club visited the Logan Square location on November 10th.

As eluded to above, pizza-by-the-slice is not always the most gratifying food for the discerning palate, and for those who insist on only the best in every aspect (organic, super-fresh and/or exotic ingredients, pristine presentation, delicate proportions, etc.) Papa Ray’s will likely disappoint. However, if you fancy large servings of blue collar, no-frills pizza, this could be the place you hang your proverbial hat.

Potential drawbacks here are the expected inconsistency in freshness of the slices since they can potentially sit uneaten for some time, as well as the caliber of ingredients being appropriate to the genre and price point. As of this writing, you can get a massive slice with a refillable soda for $4.41 after tax. On the evening we went the choices were cheese, sausage, pepperoni, or bacon and the Pizza Club got one (or more) of each and split them up. The meats seemed to be a click or two above what you’d expect for fast food pizza – the sausage was not too rubbery; the pepperoni pretty standard; the bacon actually pretty decent and thick. As for the cheese, nothing about it was outstanding – same pre-packaged stuff you get at the grocery store. The sauce did have a bit of salty/canned flavor, but was more or less benign. The crust is actually pretty good with a pleasant fresh baked essence – one member commented and I thought I overheard “frozen” mentioned.

We shall see what the members had to say, but for the price and convenience, I think Papa Ray’s does a great job. And, if you decide to eat it there, they put that day’s newspaper in a clear plastic holder that spans the length of the counter so you can stay current while stuffing your face (at least, this is true at the Fullerton location).