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Is there bad pizza in the Chicago area?

Is there bad pizza in the Chicago area?
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  • Post #31 - August 20th, 2006, 9:40 pm
    Post #31 - August 20th, 2006, 9:40 pm Post #31 - August 20th, 2006, 9:40 pm
    rdstoll wrote:The only bad pizza I've ever really encountered in Chicago is from places that tend to litter entire neighborhoods with menus and special offers. If a place has to go to such lengths to generate business, my only conclusion is that the end product is not enough to do so. This is a broad generalization but I can't recall seeing flyers and menus from any of my favorite pizza joints.


    I'd agree if I didn't know of two places that turned out excellent pizza that also cheapen their image by mass-flyering:

    Art of Pizza
    3033 N Ashland Ave
    (773) 327-5600

    and

    BoJono's
    4185 N Clarendon Ave
    (773) 404-9700

    Both are excellent in their respective specialities: Deep dish and thin (not cracker thin, but thin) crust.

    As for my "bad pizza"? The worst I've had is at the franchised Uno's chain out in Schaumburg. Yuck.
  • Post #32 - August 21st, 2006, 8:05 am
    Post #32 - August 21st, 2006, 8:05 am Post #32 - August 21st, 2006, 8:05 am
    hungryrabbi wrote:ready to pop like a cannon when bitten into, with some steamed kraut and spicy mustard on a soft white bakery roll.


    Reb,

    Mustard and kraut, you are showing your East Coast roots. ;) No 'garden' for me either, mustard/onion/sport pepper, unless I'm feeling Saucy, then I go giardiniera. Far as Steve's 4-lb natural casing, for the application he outlines, home grilling over coals, sounds a good choice to me, a skinny wiener is not a good choice for a hot fire.

    Far as Vienna spicing, Vienna offers many size/spicing/casing/length combinations to commercial customers, it's quite possible the spicing of the natural casing jumbos at E & M are markedly different then what's typically offered at hot dog stands. That said, I have not tried E & M's, though Steve's recommendation is more than enough get me to schlepp out to Dundee Road for a couple of pounds of kosher style wiener.

    Upon your next, hopefully soon, visit to Chicago I suggest you seek out stands that offer Red Hot Chicago hot dogs. The company was started by the grandson of the founder of Vienna and, according to company literature, and my taste buds, has a flavor profile similar to the original Vienna hot dog. In other words, more spice, garlic and overall kick.

    Enjoy,
    Gary
    One minute to Wapner.
    Raymond Babbitt

    Low & Slow
  • Post #33 - August 21st, 2006, 8:36 am
    Post #33 - August 21st, 2006, 8:36 am Post #33 - August 21st, 2006, 8:36 am
    The Supreme Court has ruled in the case of Chicago Pizza v. New York:

    Slate wrote:For instance, the lawyer and novelist Stan Pottinger has an interview show called Beyond Politics. "Really good pizza is chewy," decrees Justice Antonin Scalia, a guest. "It's not just crisp, but it's chewy, the dough is."


    http://www.slate.com/id/2147960
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  • Post #34 - August 21st, 2006, 2:21 pm
    Post #34 - August 21st, 2006, 2:21 pm Post #34 - August 21st, 2006, 2:21 pm
    At the risk of being sacreligious, I have to say that Uno has bad pizza. The last two times I was in Chicago, I went to P.Uno in the hopes of recapturing those halcyon days of my long lost youth in the '60s when Mather friends (Jim Weiner, Richard Rosenbaum, Ricki Stein, Mark Peckler were the regulars) and I would head to Uno's on a Saturday night to wait for an hour or more for what I considered the absolute best pizza in the world.
    My last two experiences were disasters. Both times the pizza had a watery red sauce that was pretty tasteless. The crust was not crust, it was closer to mush. Both times it seemed the pizza was underbaked. I sent it back once and it hadn't improved. As "recently" as the late 80's the pizza was still excellent. But, time seems to have taken it's toll on this icon and I won't be back unless Ike's ghost returns to the kitchen.
  • Post #35 - August 23rd, 2006, 12:45 am
    Post #35 - August 23rd, 2006, 12:45 am Post #35 - August 23rd, 2006, 12:45 am
    It brings to mind the question...how do places like Pizza Hut, Domino's and Papa John's survive at all in the Chicago area?

    Do they? I guess so. I've relied on Domino's, Papa John's, and even Pizza Hut to fill a pizza craving when I lived in other places, including other countries. At school down in C-U we lived on Domino's and Papa John's. But here at home in Chicagoland, I have never called or eaten at any of them. Not that I'm avoiding them, I just don't even think of them as options, or know if there are any nearby.

    Our top choice is Rosati's. Second choice is Malnati's. Personally I like Nancy's too but they don't deliver, at least not near us, so it's just a matter of if I ever drive by one of their stores.
  • Post #36 - August 23rd, 2006, 9:19 am
    Post #36 - August 23rd, 2006, 9:19 am Post #36 - August 23rd, 2006, 9:19 am
    hungryrabbi wrote:To me, the ideal frank is a kosher brand (Isaac Gellis, Heeb Nat, Shofar, Best, etc... ) slow grilled for a few hours til nicely colored all around and ready to pop like a cannon when bitten into, with some steamed kraut and spicy mustard on a soft white bakery roll.

    Rebbe, after reading your magisterial analysis in this thread, I was unable to sleep, exercised by its nuance and profound insight. Knowing no better soporific than Die Traumdeutung, I dipped into the master and was in Morpheus's protective custody directly. My ensuing nocturnal qualia were straight out of Dr. Caligari's cabinet, and I awoke questioning the soundness of my worldview on both pizza and hot dogs. I now find myself inexplicably craving a settling shot of Weeniecello.

    Joseph K
  • Post #37 - August 23rd, 2006, 10:35 am
    Post #37 - August 23rd, 2006, 10:35 am Post #37 - August 23rd, 2006, 10:35 am
    gleam wrote:The most unbelievably terrible pizza I have ever eaten, worse than any frozen pizza, worse even than airline pizza, was from:

    Chubby's Pizza
    1429 W 18th St
    Chicago, IL 60608
    (312) 829-5900

    It is difficult for me to describe how unbelievably godawful this pizza was. From the half-melted flavorless mealy cheese; to the not-even-hormel-quality pepperoni; to the crust that Totino's would be ashamed to put out; this is the worst pizza I believe anyone will ever eat.



    hungryrabbi wrote:In the spirit of the World Series of Poker, which was held this past week here in Las Vegas...

    OK, Gleam.

    I see your Pukey Pilsen Pizza, and raise you...

    Sonny's Pizza
    2431 N Western
    (773) 772-1092 (phone number included only in the spirit of thoroughness....not to call ahead for a pie, for Christ's sake)

    .......
    Girl: Did you want to wrap that up to take home?
    Me: No thanks.
    Girl: Umm... did you want something else?
    Me: No thanks, I'm just going to leave. Bye, now.
    Girl: I don't understand... you're not hungry? Are you waiting for someone?
    Me: No... (????) Thanks, goodbye.
    Girl: Well, tell me!! Was anything wrong??
    Me: (sigh) Sweetheart, I could shit a better pizza than that.

    I left immediately but not hurriedly after I said this, much in the same manner as Michael Corleone, who walks rather than runs out of the restaurant after shooting Sollozzo and Capt. McCluskey.


    How can anyone resist going to either of these 2 places after reading these well-written and alluring posts? Maybe I’m just a masochist and enjoy certain forms of culinary torture but deep within me, something tells me that trying anything potentially this bad will help me appreciate the few miracle workers out there and their culinary creations that much more.


    We first stopped off at Sonny’s, where 2 Mexican friends of the manager were enjoying some menudo from nearby Danny’s (the old Jimenez). As we waited for them to warm up the cheese slice, the newly hired Hispanic manager was boasting about how he was about to add things like beef sandwiches, corndogs, etc. to this pizzeria’s menu. With the tasty looking menudo staring at us and this newly hired manager telling us about their nightmare plan, our slice arrived.

    Image

    From my first and only bite of this thing, childhood memories of frozen pizzas (John’s, I believe) came streaming back to my consciousness. It was one of those moments that bring you down memory lane, much as a long lost aroma might do. This was a dead ringer for frozen pizza in every facet; the bland sauce, the totally flavorless “cheese”, and the inert pastry-like crust. If you look closely, the cheese isn’t even close to melted and the inner portion of the crust is totally uncooked.
    As the esteemed HR pointed out, quite accurately I might add, this thing was utterly foul. To boot, these guys had the nerve to charge over $3 for the cheese slice. A truly horrible experience in every way. Nice call, me Reb!


    Onto gleam’s version of Chicago’s nastiest, Chubby’s in Pilsen. I don’t know if it was because I was totally famished or not, but I have to admit that I thought these slices (sausage and cheese) had their merits. I don’t mean to claim that this is stellar pizza by any measure but I thought the plastic-y cheese actually had some sort of flavor and the sauce had at least a sweet element to it from adding lots of sugar. Like Sonny’s, the inner crust was completely and utterly uncooked.
    Although Chubby’s was a far cry from respectable pizza, I have to say that on this day, it was on a par with literally scores of other Chicago slice pizza joints. The very fact that they melted the cheese, on its own, makes Chubby’s superior to Sonny’s.

    I’m not insinuating that Chubby’s is useful for anything more than a post fully baked ingestion experience. Not by a long shot.

    Image

    If you’re down and out and feel like punishing yourself, for whatever reason, check out Sonny’s. They’ll put the final stamp on that depressed mood of yours with flying colors.



    Thanks, Ed and HR, for the 2 days worth of indigestion that I got after researching this post.


    Image
  • Post #38 - August 23rd, 2006, 10:45 am
    Post #38 - August 23rd, 2006, 10:45 am Post #38 - August 23rd, 2006, 10:45 am
    PIGMON wrote:Image


    Wow. That looks vile.

    :shock:

    And it cost $3...

    Wow...

    :shock: :shock: :shock:

    A
    Alle Nerven exzitiert von dem gewürzten Wein -- Anwandlung von Todesahndungen -- Doppeltgänger --
    - aus dem Tagebuch E.T.A. Hoffmanns, 6. Januar 1804.
    ________
    Na sir is na seachain an cath.
  • Post #39 - August 23rd, 2006, 10:48 am
    Post #39 - August 23rd, 2006, 10:48 am Post #39 - August 23rd, 2006, 10:48 am
    For what it's worth, my Chubby's experience was based on a whole pizza for carryout. I'm definitely not encouraging you to try that, but it *is* possible that the hours under a heat lamp had a positive effect on the pizza.

    I do think Sonny's would still win, though, because that looks horrendous.
    Ed Fisher
    my chicago food photos

    RIP LTH.
  • Post #40 - August 23rd, 2006, 11:10 am
    Post #40 - August 23rd, 2006, 11:10 am Post #40 - August 23rd, 2006, 11:10 am
    PIGMON and trixie-pea:

    too funny, you guys! Now you deserve a round of weenie-tinis (see Choey's hilarious link above).

    Amata

    p.s. My worst pizza experience (lately): Chuck E. Cheese on Fullerton... :x
  • Post #41 - August 23rd, 2006, 2:09 pm
    Post #41 - August 23rd, 2006, 2:09 pm Post #41 - August 23rd, 2006, 2:09 pm
    Image

    You should seriously consider placing warnings above such imagery. I just made a fool of myself at work by immediately bursting into a loud guffaw and then settling down into an uncontrollable fit of nasal giggling.

    --frank, whose wife is off with the kids on a 2+ hour round-trip trek to Burt's Place to pick up some pizzas
  • Post #42 - August 23rd, 2006, 2:21 pm
    Post #42 - August 23rd, 2006, 2:21 pm Post #42 - August 23rd, 2006, 2:21 pm
    PIGMON wrote:Image



    I almost gagged when I saw this because it seemed to be channeling Beefee's, the worst beef sandwich in Chicago.

    Image
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #43 - August 24th, 2006, 6:10 am
    Post #43 - August 24th, 2006, 6:10 am Post #43 - August 24th, 2006, 6:10 am
    The Penguin.

    Stick to the gelato.
  • Post #44 - August 24th, 2006, 7:00 am
    Post #44 - August 24th, 2006, 7:00 am Post #44 - August 24th, 2006, 7:00 am
    Talk about taking one for the team!
    Leek

    SAVING ONE DOG may not change the world,
    but it CHANGES THE WORLD for that one dog.
    American Brittany Rescue always needs foster homes. Please think about helping that one dog. http://www.americanbrittanyrescue.org
  • Post #45 - September 1st, 2006, 12:49 pm
    Post #45 - September 1st, 2006, 12:49 pm Post #45 - September 1st, 2006, 12:49 pm
    LTHForum,

    I submit for your consideration one of the worst pizzas in Chicago: Boni Vino on Van Buren, where I had the pleasure of attending a going-away lunch for our summer intern.

    Cardboard crust, a heavy slathering of sweet ketchup "tomato-sauce", and low-grade plastic "cheese". Downright inedible. I can't remember the last pizza that I've had that was this bad.

    At least it was baked all the way through.

    Best,
    Michael

    Boni Vino
    111 W. Van Buren St.
    312-427-0231
  • Post #46 - September 1st, 2006, 2:30 pm
    Post #46 - September 1st, 2006, 2:30 pm Post #46 - September 1st, 2006, 2:30 pm
    Interesting. Boni Vino used to have decent, if not great, Chicago thin crust. However, at some point a few years back, they started offering vile slices as big as your head and fitting your description. For a while, the slices and sit-down whole pies cooexisted, seemingly unconnected in any way except that both emerged from the back of BV. It seems as if the lower-denominator pie won the turf war. Too bad; Boni Vino has atmosphere.
  • Post #47 - September 8th, 2006, 2:08 pm
    Post #47 - September 8th, 2006, 2:08 pm Post #47 - September 8th, 2006, 2:08 pm
    stevez wrote:Another good choice for decent hot dogs is Romanian Kosher Sausage on Clark.

    Romanian Kosher Sausage
    7200 North Clark Street
    Chicago, IL
    773-761-4141


    As a direct result of this post, I went to Romanian for the hot dogs for our Labor Day cookout last weekend. I'm not exaggerating when I say the neighbors raved, and wanted to know where I'd got them. The 4-to-the-pound dogs at Romanian seemed a little too long to me (and too skinny for their length), so I got the 6-to-the-pound variety that were normal length and more satisfyingly thicker-around. (Or should I post this in the Innuendo thread?)

    Anyway, thanks Steve. Good call. Excellent dog.
  • Post #48 - October 14th, 2006, 7:09 pm
    Post #48 - October 14th, 2006, 7:09 pm Post #48 - October 14th, 2006, 7:09 pm
    After the festivities at Honey 1 the diehards adjourned for some additional beverages. Pigmon, Trixie-Pea, and I drove past Sonny's and decided it would be a shame not to stop for a slice of Chicago's Worst Pizza to share with the others. I'd say it solidly met expectations. If there's a worse slice of pizza to be had in Chicago I'd rather not know about it. The one good thing about a Sonny's slice is it feeds 8 with plenty left over. Luckily there was a trash bin directly outside the bar so Trixie could do an encore.

    Image
  • Post #49 - October 15th, 2006, 1:44 am
    Post #49 - October 15th, 2006, 1:44 am Post #49 - October 15th, 2006, 1:44 am
    stevez wrote:I almost gagged when I saw this because it seemed to be channeling Beefee's, the worst beef sandwich in Chicago.

    How can that be? They have a sign on the front of their shops that says it is "guaranteed" to be the best. :wink:

    I've never tried one of their sandwiches but judging by the external appearance of their places, I've never wanted to.

    Also, does anyone know if "The Original Mr. Beef" is the original or just someplace with that name?
  • Post #50 - October 16th, 2006, 10:05 pm
    Post #50 - October 16th, 2006, 10:05 pm Post #50 - October 16th, 2006, 10:05 pm
    I ate at Sonny's before my band played a show at the Mutiny many months back. I meant to report on this abomination, but figured since NOTHING could be so bad, it must have been a gustatory hallicunation.....a cardboard-tasting mirage of some kind. Evil exists on Western, my friends....and it's half baked. :twisted:
    Get a bicycle. You will certainly not regret it, if you live. --Mark Twain
  • Post #51 - October 16th, 2006, 11:02 pm
    Post #51 - October 16th, 2006, 11:02 pm Post #51 - October 16th, 2006, 11:02 pm
    Do not buy Uno's Suausage Thin Crust FROZEN Pizza in the stores, notably Jewel. It was unbelievably cardboardy bad. The few grey matter sausage dropplings and the indigestable crust will stop you in your tracks.

    It's bad - stick with Malnati's frozen if you have the choice.
  • Post #52 - October 17th, 2006, 4:43 am
    Post #52 - October 17th, 2006, 4:43 am Post #52 - October 17th, 2006, 4:43 am
    Snark wrote:Do not buy Uno's Suausage Thin Crust FROZEN Pizza in the stores, notably Jewel. It was unbelievably cardboardy bad. The few grey matter sausage dropplings and the indigestable crust will stop you in your tracks.

    It's bad - stick with Malnati's frozen if you have the choice.


    Why buy either one of those brands frozen when a nice fresh piping hot pizza is just a phone call away?
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #53 - October 17th, 2006, 7:23 am
    Post #53 - October 17th, 2006, 7:23 am Post #53 - October 17th, 2006, 7:23 am
    Why buy either one of those brands frozen when a nice fresh piping hot pizza is just a phone call away?


    Perhaps the difference between $6 and $20 bucks (with tip), and twenty minutes in the oven versus 45 minutes to an hour+ on Friday/Saturday nights?

    Sometimes you just gotta go Tombstone.
    Writing about craft beer at GuysDrinkingBeer.com
    "You don't realize it, but we're at dinner right now." ~Ebert
  • Post #54 - October 17th, 2006, 7:26 am
    Post #54 - October 17th, 2006, 7:26 am Post #54 - October 17th, 2006, 7:26 am
    stevez wrote:
    Snark wrote:Do not buy Uno's Suausage Thin Crust FROZEN Pizza in the stores, notably Jewel. It was unbelievably cardboardy bad. The few grey matter sausage dropplings and the indigestable crust will stop you in your tracks.

    It's bad - stick with Malnati's frozen if you have the choice.


    Why buy either one of those brands frozen when a nice fresh piping hot pizza is just a phone call away?


    When we lived out-of-range of Lou Malnati's, we often kept a Lou's frozen sausage pizza stashed away for emergencies. They are a surprisingly good approximation of the freshly-made pies.

    Best,
    Michael
  • Post #55 - October 17th, 2006, 8:49 am
    Post #55 - October 17th, 2006, 8:49 am Post #55 - October 17th, 2006, 8:49 am
    whiskeybent wrote:Sometimes you just gotta go Tombstone.


    I have yet to encounter that time. :?
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #56 - October 17th, 2006, 8:52 am
    Post #56 - October 17th, 2006, 8:52 am Post #56 - October 17th, 2006, 8:52 am
    eatchicago wrote:When we lived out-of-range of Lou Malnati's, we often kept a Lou's frozen sausage pizza stashed away for emergencies. They are a surprisingly good approximation of the freshly-made pies.


    I agree. They are quite evocative of a real Lou Malnati's pizza. When I visit Kansas City, I often bring a couple of them with me. They are very well received by the natives. I'd never eat one here, though. Besides my immense dislike for all things frozen, it's just as easy to drive to a restaurant and pick one up fresh from the oven as it is to drive to Jewel and buy a frozen one.
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #57 - October 17th, 2006, 5:54 pm
    Post #57 - October 17th, 2006, 5:54 pm Post #57 - October 17th, 2006, 5:54 pm
    The last time I went to Gino's East thew sausage was in the form of a flat one-piece disk that covered the entire crust, instead of individual pieces. Awful.
  • Post #58 - October 17th, 2006, 6:02 pm
    Post #58 - October 17th, 2006, 6:02 pm Post #58 - October 17th, 2006, 6:02 pm
    Cogito wrote:The last time I went to Gino's East thew sausage was in the form of a flat one-piece disk that covered the entire crust, instead of individual pieces. Awful.


    This is also how Lou Malnati's handles it. I consider it to be the opposite of awful.
  • Post #59 - October 17th, 2006, 6:06 pm
    Post #59 - October 17th, 2006, 6:06 pm Post #59 - October 17th, 2006, 6:06 pm
    Cogito wrote:The last time I went to Gino's East thew sausage was in the form of a flat one-piece disk that covered the entire crust, instead of individual pieces. Awful.


    You can specify "crumbled" if that's your preference.
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #60 - October 17th, 2006, 8:13 pm
    Post #60 - October 17th, 2006, 8:13 pm Post #60 - October 17th, 2006, 8:13 pm
    Oh yeah... there is plenty of bad pizza to be had. It took us about four months to find a decent local place when we moved, seven years ago. And I'm pretty happy that our new place lies in the same delivery zone (Chicago Pizza Authority - CPA, in Palatine). :D

    My husband and I have very different tastes in pizza... he actually craves Pizza Smut every once in awhile (and I check to make sure I hae heartburn medication before I'll touch the stuff). The thing I don't get is the local Pizza Smut, half the time, can't seem to cook the pizza fully. Nothing worse that raw BAD dough.

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