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Sunday, April 08, 2012

Jimmy’s Pizza Café [Meeting #108]

Jimmy’s Pizza Café
5159 N Lincoln Ave (Google Maps)
Chicago, IL 60625
(773) 293-6992

CPC shoehorned into Jimmy’s Pizza Café on March 29, 2012.

It was only two meetings ago that I lamented the state of Chicago’s Pizza by the Slice offerings, both in terms of quantity and quality, and I still stand by the fact that for a city to be as bike and pedestrian-friendly as our new mayor and everyone else around town seem to want it to be, we need to have a plethora of suitable single-serve dining options- first and foremost, Pizza by the Slice.

So it was with great pleasure that I read the CPC email suggesting Jimmy’s Pizza Café for our next meeting. Jimmy’s is just a few short blocks from my apartment, and since they opened late last year, I’ve been there at least 2-3 times a month to get down with their New York (and New Orleans- more on that later) style goodness.

Jimmy’s is designed in the simple, traditional, small-tables, pies-on-display, order-at-the-counter pizzeria manner, but based on the size and tastes of our group, we decided to order whole pizzas rather than slices.

The first pie up was half-jalapeno half-spinach. Though lighter on the toppings and meat than most CPCers would ordinarily prefer, this pizza went over quite well. The jalapenos were hot- more than a few were pulled off of slices around the table, but this relatively simple pie was the perfect introduction to the Jimmy’s experience. Simply put, Jimmy’s is amongst the elites as far as NY style pizza in Chicago goes. From the perfectly crisp bottom layer up through the moist chewiness of the mid-dough, the sweet tang of the sauce, perfectly adequate but never excessive blanket of mozz, to the occasional char bubbles around the crispy/chewy collar, these guys nail the foldable savory sweetness that New Yorkers have justifiably loved and bragged about for decades.

Next up was the sausage and mushroom. The fennel-heavy sausage was a universal crowd-pleaser, and while the mushrooms didn't appear to be anything more than regular button mushrooms, they were surprisingly flavorful and stood up well to the sausage.

Last but undoubtedly not least was the bulgogi kimchi (props to LTHforum for letting us know about it in this post), a special, off-menu pie that requires pre-order notice a few days ahead of time. This monster, topped with bulgogi, kimchi, garlic, scallions, sesame seeds and egg, was thoroughly enjoyed, though a few CPCers seemed a bit overwhelmed by the intensity of the flavor combination. Additionally, as this pizza was far more heavily topped than their ordinary offerings, the crust was hard pressed to handle that much weight, and this was definitely the soggiest of the three pizzas we ordered, limp crusts sagging under their mighty burden.

In addition to this fantastic pizza, Jimmy also offers Intelligensia coffee and homemade beignets— pillowy New Orleans style doughnuts topped with powdered sugar—and dang if they weren’t the perfect ending to our meal.

Jimmy’s Pizza Café has so much working in its favor- let’s just hope the slightly out of way and inconducive-to-walk-ups location at the corner of Foster and Lincoln Avenues doesn’t keep people from checking out this north side gem.