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Thursday, November 08, 2007

Exchequer Restaurant & Pub [Meeting #47]

Exchequer Restaurant & Pub
226 S. Wabash Avenue (Google Maps)
Chicago, IL 60604
(312) 939-5633

CPC invaded Exchequer on 11/01/07.

Searching the plastic tubes of the internet for new pizza locations, I came across Exchequer Restaurant & Pub, located in the heart of the loop. Initially, I was surprised that I had not heard of a downtown pizza location that resident extra large movie expert Roger Ebert identified as one of the four best pies in Chicago. Upon further inspection, I noticed that the portly cowriter of such cinematic masterpieces as Beneath the Valley of the Ultra-Vixens endorsed this place in 1984. Additionally, most of the rest of the endorsements came from Brits. Brits don't know shit about pizza. Still, the Chicago Tribune allegedly identified Exchequer as the best deep dish pizza in the loop in 2001. I say allegedly because the link to the article was conveniently broken.

I was intrigued enough to suggest the locale as the next Pizza Club destination. My first thought upon entering was that I can't wait for the smoking ban to go into effect in Chicago. My second thought as we walked to the back of the restaurant and passed walls completely covered in Chicago sports decor, movie posters and various photos of quasi-famous people, was that I was surprised how crowded the place was. My third thought was that I noticed I did not see anyone eating pizza.

I began to have serious doubts about the place when the waiter was shocked that we were there for the pizza. Despite the optimism his reaction instilled, we proceeded. Exchequer offers three different types of pizza, deep dish, thin crust and crispy crust. Of course, the club sampled one of each. We ordered a sausage and garlic deep dish, a spinach and feta thin crust, and a Meat Eaters crispy crust. For good measure, and in honor of the restaurant's Greek roots, we got the Aegean pizza as an appetizer.

The Aegean came first. Served on a crispy crust, it came with
Artichoke, Plum Tomato, Red Onion, and Feta Cheese. It seemed as if they made a cheese pizza and then put the ingredients on. I liked the artichokes. That was about it.

Next up was the sausage and garlic. I tasted the garlic and I definitely saw the sausage, but this pizza was pretty much a pile of rapidly congealing cheese that overwhelmed the crust - a knife and fork was required. I finished my slice and it was fine. But I like cheese. However, I also like sauce and this pie had very little. In its favor, this particular pizza was just as tasty when I ate it cold the following morning.

The spinach on the thin crust was interesting. It tasted like creamed spinach. Seriously, I think the spinach was cooked with cheese before it was put on the pizza. That said, I like creamed spinach and this pie was interesting. The crust held up, but it was nothing special. Not bad, but not great.

The Meat Eaters pie had a lot of meat - Cheese, Sausage, Pepperoni, Ground Beef, Canadian Bacon. Honestly, I don't remember much about it other than it was a lot of meat, some cheese, and as was apparently the style at Exchequer, very little sauce. Meat and cheese is always good. The crust was virtually the same as the thin crust. In fact, I don't think there was a difference between the thin crust and the crispy one.

The pizza at Exchequer was edible, but with all the dining choices in the vicinity, I am confident I will never eat it again.

Petey gives Exchequer a 4/10.

Happy Pizza Clubbers... (and what awesome shirts they have...)

Thin crust & spinache

the Aegean appetizer pizza

The Meat Eaters crispy crust

Where it went down...

Exchequer Pub on Urbanspoon


  1. I was wondering if I could tap the expertise of the Chicago Pizza Club. I'm staying at The Drake for a business trip next week and will have two dinners in town. I'm hitting Lou Malnati's Monday night, but would like some thin crust on Sunday night.

    I remember loving Aurelio's when I was a little kid and noticed their Harrison location is about 3 miles from the hotel. Also, I heard Father & Son Pizza mentioned online and they're about two miles out.

    I'm leaning toward Aurelio's, but would greatly appreciate your advice on the best thin crust in town (super thin, square slices, etc.).

    Thanks much.

  2. I had high expectations for this place and was pretty disappointed... mainly because the cheese was just a big greasey, gooey mess. Kinda ruined everything else. 4 outta 10

  3. I wouldn't go back to Exchequer again, but it was not awful. The Aegean pizza was surprisingly boring considering the promising list of ingredients. The deep dish sausage and garlic pizza was okay, but the cheese glob seemed determined to take up every last bit of real estate in my stomach and prevent me from eating any of the other pizzas. I liked the spinach on the veggie pizza, but the rest of it was pretty mediocre. The meat pizza was a greasy mess and I did not like it. I agree with the reviewer that all of the pizzas needed more sauce.

    If our baseline makes Domino's a 4, I give this place a 4.

  4. I need to add a score to my review. I also give this place a 4.

  5. Holy crap, you guys are SO wrong. Exchequer is the best of the best.

  6. You and Roger Ebert I guess, Ben. Exchequer was okay, and I could see how some people might like it more than others, but calling it the "best" ... I can't understand.

  7. Someone who wanted smoking to be banned in a old, dark, pizza joint doesn't deserve to grade pizza.

  8. who the hell is "the chicago pizza club" anyways. Maybe if your reviews are next to Roger Eberts, or in the chicago tribune, like the exchequers actual reviews are I will consider reading it. When the Exchequer gets reviewed by people who actually know shit about pizza, like the chicago sun-times critics, they get extremely high reviews. The "chicago pizza club" knows jack shit about real chicago pizza.

  9. Herkie, have you eaten there in the last few years? How anyone can claim that this pizza is very good is beyond me. I advise you to see a neurologist. Your sense of taste is seriously compromised.

  10. Yes I have, and the food/pizza tastes better everytime. That is why this place has been around for over 40 years. The business does not lie my friend. So I think that it is not me that needs to see a neurologist, but in fact you and the rest of the so called "Chicago Pizza Club". Come talk to me when you get your facts straight.