Cost: About $15 per person
Typically when I go to eat in Evanston there's only one place on my list... Buff Joe's. Occasionally I can be swayed to check out other places (you know, ones with clean bathrooms and food you need a fork to eat). I'd heard from a whole bunch of people that there was a pizza place worth making the trip north for. So my friend Leah and I got together last week to try out Union Pizzeria.
The setup at Union is kind of interesting. They've got a bar right when you come in where you can start with some drinks or stay and have your whole meal. Also in the entryway they have a bunch of couches set up if the bar isn't your fancy. The center of the restaurant has a large brick oven pizza, and in general there's a pretty busy vibe. I don't think they take reservations, and luckily we were just a party of two. Otherwise we might have waited a bit. They've also got a bar and back room where they put on concerts, but we didn't check it out.
The service was spot on. The waiter never interrupted us, and although the place was bustling we never really felt that rushed. I thought the cost was fair at pizzas in the low teens and salads for $6. A pizza and salad was plenty to share between the two of us portion wise. They also have a pretty good beer selection.
So as I said, we split a salad and a pizza. We got the Village Salad which was a combination of green beans, tomatoes, olives, feta, and cucumbers. It was lightly dressed, and the vegetables were crisp and flavorful. It reminded me of the specialty salads that they serve at Rose Angelis. Then we went for the Artichoke Pizza which also came with peppers, olives, mozzarella, garlic, and basil. The dough had a nice substance to it for how thin it was. It came apart a bit with all of the toppings though. Clearly there's a heavy focus on quality vegetables, but they may have overwhelmed the other pizza components. The sauce was subtle, and the cheese was proportioned nicely without leaving behind any oily mess. I was surprised that with the brick oven that the crust didn't have a more unique flavor.
The Village Salad
The Artichoke Pizza
For the most part I thought this was a pretty average pizza that got the edge from some extremely fresh ingredients. The veggies did all of the work throughout our meal, and that kept us happy. I'd go back for a concert, but I don't know if the pizza is worth the trek up north for all you city dwellers. I'd probably stop half way there and get something from Great Lake. I'm giving Union Pizzeria 3 out of 5 Pearls.