Pizza Club Chicago

PIZZA CLUB CHICAGO

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meeting #35: Gullivers

The expectations for Gullivers weren’t crazy, but I think we knew we were in for something good upon arriving to the Howard Street location on Wednesday night. 

Originally founded by Pizza God Burt Katz, this place is old school. The neighborhood isn’t great, just south of Evanston in a not-very-nice area of N/NW Chicago. But that doesn’t matter at all. The interior is decorated with stained glass lamps and marble statues as far as the eye can see. A very appealing and massive outdoor patio also exists at Gullivers.

When they say “World Famous pan pizza” and “fresh” ingredients, they are not fucking around. Maybe the finest pan pizza I have ever had (Burts would give it a run for the money) this pie is amazing. The sauce is as good as pizza sauce can be. Ample, fresh toppings adorn the delectable pan crust, creating a perfect balance between Pequods & Burt’s Place—not too saucy or heavy, but not too purist or minimal. If they had more cheese, however, it wouldn’t hurt anybody. Don’t bother with the thin crust. It was just fine, but the pan pizza shines at Gullivers.

I knew the scores would be high, but was pretty amazed when they scored a 7.9, falling into a 3rd place tie for best of Pizza Club Chicago, after 34 previous meetings.

It was awesome. You should go here. 

3/20/14

# of people in attendance: 8

# pizzas sampled: 3

pizzas: 1/2 sausage/onion 1/2 pepperoni/mushroom pan, spicy sausage & garlic pan, and a 1/2 roasted red pepper & bacon, and 1/2 salami/giardiniera.

SCORES

assmosphere: 8.6

sauce: 8.1

cheese: 6.9

toppings: 7.8

crust: 8.6

price: 7.6

overall score: 7.9

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meeting #34: Da Nella

Heading into Da Nella, the expectations were high. Lots of praise has been sung about this place that makes authentic neapolitan pies. “Truly Italian pizza”, winner of Diners Choice award on Open Table. We’re talking big time stuff here guys.

Well, the pizza was pretty delicious. A nice place to eat in Lincoln Park, it had more of an Italian Restaurant feel to it than a pizzeria. The pizzas were more or less single serving pies or 1 1/2 people per pizzas. Our group was 9 people and we took down 7 pies.

It’s hard to find a better crust than this. Thin crust, bubbly and chewy, it cooks in about 90 seconds in a one thousand degree wood burning oven. Toppings were excellent and the cheese was great too. Not plentiful per se on either, but it’s not intended to be “loaded” style. Fresh, delicious and flavorful, mostly. 

Worth checking out for sure if you dig the neapolitan. Very good.

3/20/14

# of people in attendance: 0

# pizzas sampled: 7

pizzas: margherita, mare & monti, prosciutto e rucola, diavola, funghi e salsicca, cafone, and florentina.

SCORES

assmosphere: 6.1

sauce: 6

cheese: 6.1

toppings: 6.6

crust: 7.9

price: 4.7

overall score: 6.1

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meeting #33: Home Run Inn

Home Run Inn is a Chicagoland institution, no doubt. Mostly in the suburbs or outskirts of the city, it’s a place people know through their various locations or via the frozen pizza variety that is widely available around these parts as well.

For PCC 33, we went to the birthplace of HRI, the 31st street location on the south side. The assmosphere is exactly what it should be. Comfortable booth and table seating with stained glass round lamps above each table, a few tvs with “the game” on,  and a warm family-ish feeling overall. 

The pizzas do not disappoint in girth. Between 11 of us, 4 larges was more than enough. They lay the toppings, cheese and crust on thick, with solid marks all around.

Being a Chicago joint, they came correct on meat-heavy pies. We added a tomato & spinach pie to balance things out, and of course a classic standard to the mix for control. All in all, if you want to taste a classic that’s evolved into a metropolitan empire both in pizzerias and the frozen variety, give HRI a taste.

2/16/14

# of people in attendance: 11

# pizzas sampled: 2

pizzas: Laura’s Favorite, Garlic Fireball, Chicago’s Best, and 1/2 sausage + onion 1/2 pepperoni + mushroom.

SCORES

assmosphere: 7.1

sauce: 6.6

cheese: 6.9

toppings: 7.8

crust: 7

price: 6.7

overall score: 7

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woof. Congress Pizza in Chicago might not be so good. Can’t say for sure as I have not had it, but it’s safe to assume we won’t be having any PCC meetings there anytime soon….

woof. Congress Pizza in Chicago might not be so good. Can’t say for sure as I have not had it, but it’s safe to assume we won’t be having any PCC meetings there anytime soon….

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meeting #32: Reno

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What a great way to start out 2014. We visited Reno on a cold & snowy evening and instantly were welcomed by their warm, inviting assmosphere. 

The pizza was simply awesome. We went with a number of their specialty pizzas and a standard to see how they fared with the basics, and everyone was thoroughly impressed.

Reno’s crust is ideal. Crispy and slightly charred on the bubbly outside and chewy on the inside, it’s nearly perfect, if not perfect. The toppings excel too, with the smoked sausage and onions giving the pies some amazing flavor. The Hog featured carnitas and cilantro, and actually tasted a lot like a Chipotle burrito, which was incredible.

While the score didn’t crack the top 5 (not an easy feat) due to a lack of sauce and not a ton of cheese, don’t let that deter you. This place is great and I feel lucky to have it in the neighborhood for sure. Can’t wait to go back. 

1/24/14

# of people in attendance: 7

# pizzas sampled: 5

pizzas: Hog, Fancy Nancy, Butternut, Combo, and 1/2 sausage + onion 1/2 pepperoni + mushroom.

SCORES

assmosphere: 7.1

sauce: 4.7

cheese: 6.5

toppings: 8.6

crust: 8.9

price: 7

overall score: 7.1