Monday, July 19, 2010

The Art of Pizza

Everyone's got their favorite Chicago pizza place. The suburbanites like Lou Malnati's, those from Lincoln Park like Pequod's, the hipsters like Piece and Crust, the Streetervillians like Gino's East, and those that don't know any better like Giordano's. From cornbread or burnt crust to massive amounts of cheese and whole tomatoes in the sauce, every place has their own gimmick that keeps people coming back. Well sure enough my buddy Steven moved to the city this year and brought another cult favorite to my attention. Luckily he lives on the same block and has truly become a neighborhood regular at his favorite place, The Art of Pizza (sorry no website, but it's on the corner of Nelson and Ashland on the Western border of Wrigleyville).

The Art of Pizza is an order at the counter kind of restaurant. If they have it ready when you get up there they hand it to you, but if not they'll bring it out. It's not like they waste their time with a table number system like Noodles or Go Roma, but rather they just yell out the food item and wait for someone to raise their hand claiming it. That being said, we didn't have to wait for a table or in a line, but when we got up to leave, the line to order food may have been 20 people long.

We only ordered pizza which had just come out, so we were served immediately. The majority of people seemed to wait a little bit for their food but no longer than 10 minutes or so. I don't think you can make a reservation, and I don't think you need one. There's a lot of seating overall, and most of the tables are large and group friendly. They offer delivery, and I did this once, but it took a long time and the pizza was somewhat cold when it got to me. I would strongly suggest eating in.

One major advantage that they have on other pizza places is their expansive and cheap menu. Although pizza is the star of the menu, they have a wide variety of pastas, salads, and sandwiches that look amazing. If you get pizza by the slice, it's $3 no matter how many toppings are on it. Also, they usually have some amazing daily special like an Italian Beef Combo with Fries and a Soda for $3.50. Universally, the food looks gigantic and comes with soup, salad, and a side for the most part. Most of the other entrees are around $5-$7 and will probably provide 3 meals worth of food.

The Food
As I said before, we stuck to the pizza. I got one Deep Dish Slice with Onions, Mushrooms, and Spinach, and one Pan Slice with just Cheese. Steven got a Pan Sausage Slice and a House Special Deep Dish Slice which was basically the same as mine with Sausage.

 The Deep Dish Pizza (Sausage [left only], Spinach, Mushroom, and Onion)
You may not be able to see the ingredients but they're packed in there

A View from the Back

The Pan Pizza (Cheese Left, Sausage Right)

There's nothing particularly unique to the pizza except that it does everything well. The sauce tastes a lot like Pequod's with a chunkier texture and yet no whole tomatoes like Lou Malnati's. There's a sweetness to it and a lot of Italian herbs. The amount of cheese was spot on as well. Sometimes at Lou's you'll get a pizza that looks like it's just crust and tomatoes while at Giordano's you basically have a solid block of cheese with a few other ingredients. At The Art of Pizza there is a nice happy medium to the cheese. It's enough to sink your teeth into, and yet you can take a bite without having a million strings of cheese between your mouth and the slice. The crust is very nicely done as well. It's a little denser than some places, but there's a ton of butter in it (especially the pan pizza) making it almost a delicious flaky bread stick at the end of your slice. For the most part, the Pan Slice is a nice change of pace and is extra cheesy, but I'd stick to the Deep Dish.

Really what it boils down to is that The Art of Pizza is good Chicago style pizza without all of the bells and whistles. They don't need any gimmick, just good solid pizza that hits on all of the important factors. It's about as cheap as you'll find good deep dish in the city, and it comes with large portions. Plus, it doesn't have any super unique quality that may alienate certain diners. Logistically, it's really convenient, and you mostly won't have to fight the insane crowds like at the other popular places in the city. Considering that at most other places it takes 40 minutes minimum to cook your pizza, this is pretty convenient. If you'd prefer a unique order you can always call ahead or wait around too. I'm giving the Art of Pizza 4 out of 5 Pearls. Some of you may realize that I gave Pequod's the same amount, and I'm still going to say that my favorite pizzas in the city are Lou Malnati's and Pequod's, but The Art of Pizza is pretty darn good. Thanks again to Steven for treating me to some of the better pizza around.

Art of Pizza on Urbanspoon


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    Poste Italiane IBAN : IT - 65 - N - 07601-03800-000093082899 No. Conto 93.082.899
    COD. BIC: BPPIITRRXXX - 1964/02/14 Michael Iapalucci

    Attività che sta per morire, telefono iapalucci.michele @ +393331239753

    PIZZA PER TE A VIRTUALE , qui un grande grazie


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