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Sunday, March 02, 2008

Albano's Pizzeria [Meeting #53]

Albano's Pizzeria
5913 W. Roosevelt Rd (GoogleMaps)
(708) 863-0060

CPC invaded Albano's on 3/4/08.

This Cicero establishment on Roosevelt Road is well known for its giant pizza puffs!

CPC arrived at Albano's Pizzeria at 8PM on a Tuesday night. Parking was easy as there is a lot adjacent to the restaurant off of Roosevelt Road. Albano's is set up more like a carry out establishment but has a dining room that is simple and clean with 6-8 red booths and 3-4 round tables. Orders can be placed at the window though the friendly staff provided us service at the tables and brought out soda, cups, ice, and plates. Pizza was served as it came out of the oven. Clientèle includes Chicago's Finest so plan your next heist at home before you come in to eat.

The menu is extensive but pizza is featured prominently on the first page. Also drawing attention on the menu is the claim "Chicagoland's Largest Homemade Pizza Puff". Nobody at our table was prepared to dispute this designation. Be aware that no alcohol is served at Albano's and it's not a BYOB.

Pizza sizes range from 10" - 18". Types include Regular, Pan, Stuffed, and Pizza Puff. There is also the option for thin or thick crust on request though thick crust will cost you an extra $1 to $1.50. There is an Albano's Special which is a bargain price for a pizza with 4 or 8( ! ) toppings. Topping choices are numerous and include shrimp, meatball, broccoli, bacon and tomato in addition to the standards you expect.

We had 7 members in attendance and ordered:
1) 16" Regular crust: bacon, sausage, onion, and tomato
2) 16" Pan crust: meatball, mushroom
3) Pizza puff: pepperoni
4) Pizza puff: sausage
5) Pizza puff: spinach and olives
Two 2 liter bottles of pop included with the order. (There is a coupon on the menu but they were included without us asking.)
Total price - $65 without tax.

The regular crust came in about 20 min and the three puffs followed 10 min later. The pan pizza took approximately 40 min.

The crust on the square-cut 16" bacon, sausage, onion, and tomato pizza was crisp and tasty throughout. No soggy middle pieces on this pie. Toppings were plentiful except for the tomatoes. Bacon was tasty with good sizes pieces and sausage had a nice amount of spice. The sauce was flavorful without being particularly sweet. Sauce fiends may be disappointed as it doesn't ooze out the sides of the square slices but there's enough to get a good taste. Onions were thin cut.

The pan crust was thick and crisp but on the dry side. The meatball topping was very tasty and well-liked though several CPC members commented the flavor was "steaky". Mushrooms were likely canned but well portioned. Overall, this was a popular choice for the group.

Now for the famous puffs! Basically it's an 8 inch pizza folded in half with a golden brown outer crust. They've been described as football-sized and this a pretty good literal estimate. We had underestimated the size and had plenty to box up and take home. If anyone out there was planning to knock one out solo they can do me a favor and to say hi to Kobayashi on the circuit. The fried browned crust is crispy and rich. Plenty of cheese and toppings pour out once the cutting begins. The only significant neg was the pepperoni slices that seemed a bit bland. The sausage and spinach/olive combinations were preferred at our table.

In summary, Albano's was a hit! The pizza puffs were huge and tasty. The table consensus was that a meatball puff would be a killer combination. Crust on the regular pizza was nice and crisp and toppings were generally tasty and plentiful. Minor complaints were the amount of sauce and the blandness of the pepperoni.

A delicious Pizza Puff... from the inside...

The Meatball Pan Pizza... mm... steaky...

The Bacon Pizza goes fast... as it should...

The CPC and the CPD...

Where it went down...

Fred enjoys Pizza Club leftovers...

Albano's Pizzeria on Urbanspoon


  1. First off, I loved the sauce on this pizza, and they definitely don't skimp on the toppings... especially the bacon! The crust on the thin crust was a little bland, but I did like how sturdy it was (this place definitely gets points for pizza construction), the cheese was pretty generic and gooey though. The pan pizza and the pizza puffs had a much better, buttery dough. Overall I'd give this place a 7.5

  2. This could be the best pizza puff in the world. I think they may have used lard in the crust. As mentioned in the review, there were a lot of toppings and not a lot of sauce on the pizzas. The lack of sauce was fine on the thin crust, but the pan pizza, with it's thick layer of flavorless crust and abundance of cheese, could have used more sauce. This morning, I had some thin crust, some pizza puff and some pan pizza, all served cold (as is proper). The thin crust was the best in the morning with the pizza puff not far behind. The pan pizza was not good cold. The dough tasted uncooked. However, Phred loved it. I bestow a 7.1 on Albano's.

  3. I enjoyed Albano's. The sauce was tasty, and though I would have liked a bit more, it did not turn out to be as important as I thought it would be when I first glimpsed the faint red presence on the pizzas. I thought it was interesting that the crust varied so much between the three different types of pizza. It was some sturdy bread in all three forms, to be sure. It was a bit bland on the thin crust, which was maybe 1/4 inch thick, and had a crunchy bottom and bready top beneath the rest of the fixings. Then the pizza puff was flaky like pie crust, and I almost imagined it was a bit sweet like a pastry. But it was clearly slathered in lard or at least a lot of butter to get to its crispy, golden goodness. The pan pizza fell in the middle of these two, in part just a thicker version of the thin crust, but with a modest dose of butter. As for the toppings, the cheese was pretty average. The bacon was perfect - well-done but not too crispy. I liked the meatballs and I did not think the mushrooms tasted canned. The bland pepperoni was the only disappointing topping in my opinion. Loved the puffs other than that, though, in all their oozy goodness. I give it a 7.5.

  4. This place was great. The place reminded me of one of those old 1970's pizza joints were the lighting isn't great and the old lady behind the counter is little salty and the booths haven't been replaced since the Nixon administration. It bring back memories of the good ol' fashion pizza parlor before the health nuts and department of public health came in and made us feel bad about eating deep fried pizza puffs. I think the pizza puff with bacon was a brilliant idea. The bread on all the pies had a great aroma and made you want to pick at the crust all night. The cheese was pretty plain and the sauce was not enough for me but the pizza puff made up for all that. If you go be prepared to share a pizza puff with 2 of your friends or just go by yourself but be really hungry. I give this place a 9/10.

  5. Extra points for the puff

    the pizzeria gets a 6.2 from me, but I think it's wise to order the puff rather than the pizza. The pizza had too many cookie-cutter elements to it, especially the cheese. The score is dragged down by the deep dish. If we had only ordered a thin and a puff, I would have given it a 6.8.