This is the blog and public record of the Chicago Pizza Club. We eat a lot of pizza and share our thoughts on it as well as post any relevant pizza news we come across.

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Wednesday, June 16, 2010

[Meet the Members] Adrock

Screen Name: Adam Young

Real Name: Adam

Came out of the Oven: Hinsdale, IL

Favorite toppings: I am very much a fan of sausage and mushroom. For less traditional pizza, I enjoy plum and Roma tomatoes, pesto sauce, and some of the harder cheese varieties (Romano, Parmesan, and Asiago). Garlic!

First Pizza Club Meeting: July 9, 2009 at Union Pizzeria.

Favorite Deep Dish Pizza: Malnati's, no doubt. I remember the first time I had their pizza, which was my first deep dish, ever, and thinking how amazing the copious amounts of cheese and the chunky sauce on top was. They're consistently good and have yet to disappoint.

Favorite Thin Crust Pizza: Pizano's "thin" crust is not quite as thin as convention would have it, but man, it is ethereally good. When ordering it, the "butter crust" option is mandatory for this guy (they just add yet more butter to a crust that may not really need it). Another thin crust pizza worth mentioning here that vies for champion is the four-cheese plum tomato pizza from Marcello's. It is the lobster of pizza - very, very rich in flavor, and yet not without nuance and delicateness. So good.

Favorite Pizza outside of Chicago: I'm going with Monical's (they are a chain existing mostly south of Interstate 80 in Illinois) - they do a beautiful thin crust, and their french dressing made in-house is an odd but delicious accoutrement on each slice. Also worthy of honorable mention is Quatro's in Carbondale, Illinois. It is just all-around tasty pizza! I especially crave the caramelized pan crunchiness/chewiness their pizzas generally all have, and which is perfectly complimented by the more acidic sauce.

Had Pizza in the Motherland? I will make my way there, but as of yet, no.

What Do You Do When Not Eating Pizza? A strange amalgam of playing bass in rock situations, fishing/hunting, golfing, watching 'period' films, riding my vespa, and camping. Under obligation to manage luxury condos during the week.

Personal Pizza Statement: Great pizza is what makes you happy at the precise moment you eat it - some pizzerias just seem better at achieving this goal with consistency than others.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Edwardo's Natural Pizza [Meeting #97]

Edwardo's Natural Pizza
1212 N. Dearborn Street (Map)
Chicago, IL
(312) 337-4490‎

CPC invaded Edwardo's Natural Pizza on 6/14/10.

According to the information I've gathered from Marla Collin's Husband's review on Slice, Edward Jacobson founded Edwardo's Natural Pizza in 1978 after he split from the Broglio brothers (then the owners of Giordano's). The first Edwardo's Natural Pizza Restaurant opened on the far northern border of Chicago in Rogers Park and a year later, this time on the south side in Hyde Park, he opened his second location. Edwardo's early on sought to carve out a niche wtih a healthier version of stuffed pizza and they introduced a spinach-soufflé-stuffed pizza. They also had hydroponic basil and oregano grown in each of their pizzerias. In the early 1980's Edwardo's tried out a whole-wheat crust (available on pizza orders for an extra dollar) and were also known to make use of San Marzano tomatoes in their sauce.

By 1984, when Jacobson then entered into a relationship with Chicago real estate investors Ivan and Jeffrey Himmel, there were six locations. Soon thereafter, Edwardo's expanded to Minneapolis and Milwaukee. In the meantime, the Himmels's company took over Edwardo's entirely and expanded its food empire to include Gino's East. Edwardo's has suffered some setbacks in recent years, but today there are still nine locations, seven of which are in the Chicago area, with one on the outskirts of Milwaukee and another in Muncie, Indiana.

The Chicago Pizza Club decided to go to the Gold Coast location in Chicago due to its central location for our members. Tonight we ordered the following pizzas:

  • Fresh Spinach stuffed pizza
  • Edwardo's All Meat Combo stuffed pizza
  • BBQ Beef thin crust special pizza
There's been talk that the quality of Edwardo's has been dropping in recent years and this visit leads me to believe this is true. I'd have to say it is definitely the weakest of the major Stuffed Pizza chains in Chicago. The crust on the deep dishes were generally crisp but also pretty bland. The sauce was overly sweet and the cheese didn't really stand out at all. The meat toppings on the stuffed (sausage, pepperoni, bacon and Canadian bacon) were middling at best, and in the case of the sausage, downright embarrassing. The Spinach stuffed pizza was definitely the highlight of the evening, but that's not saying much. The BBQ Beef special (with sliced Italian beef, Monterrey Jack cheese, red onions, green peppers and BBQ sauce) was ordered on a whim and was entirely missable.

Whether our pizza tonight was a reflection on the state of Edwardo's pizza in general or on the location we chose to go to remains to be seen. But honestly, I don't think we'll be making too much of an effort to find out.

Petey Pizza gives Edwardo's a 3.77.