Being from Chicago and an absolute foodie I was very interested in tasting what many (small minded locals) call "the best pizza ever".
The original shop on college ave is a quaint shop with Chicago signage but little other Chicago paraphanalia. So I approched with skepticism to its autheniticity.
They are famous for their spinach/mushroom cheese pizza (figures berkley hippes dont make the one with meat famous). I know that the spinach pizza is famous at Edwardo's in Chicago I began to wonder if this was stolen.....Since I wanted to make a true comparison to a classic chicago pie I chose to go with the Zachary special (Sausage, onion, green pepper, and mushrooms) a classic combo. I chose a 12 inch pie (medium) which translates to a small in Chicago.
Sticker shock wold be the best word to describe the price. Almost $26 for 12" pizza. 35minutes later I get the pie. The weight was good, the aroma was that of your local deep dish shop in Chicago. Garlicky sweet with a small hint of the pool of cheese that awaits.
Upon opening the box I noticed its authentic look. The thickness was a little shallow. The thick crust was sturdy enough to lift the pizza but the soft soggy bottom gave away its contents.
The first bite was reminiscent of th pizza shop in my home town. Also a local favorite.
HOWEVER that was where the Chicago in this "Chicago" pizza stops.
The sausage was OK, The sausage is key to the pizza as it creates a base of flavor to which the onion and bell pepper acentuate. So needless to say the follow up was about as shallow as the pie its self. The attempt to fill in the space with italian spices and chunky tomatoes in the sauce is failed attempt to feed hungry senses. The dough left an old sour taste in my mouth as the dough cooled. Any good pizza can be eaten just as well cold as hot. THere is just something mising....somekind of authenticity that I can not point my finger on.
Bottomline this pizza was WAY to over priced and MUCH TOO OVER hyped. True this may be the closest thing to Chicago pizza I have eaten in the Bay area. I have tasted better attempts in both Seattle and San Diego for much much less. The pizza was good and close to Chicago deep dish however its price, shallowness (less than 1/2 inch depth), poor dough, and lack of cratsfmanship keep me from saying "This is the best pizza ever". This pizza is far from it. While techincally baked in a pan or deep dish this pizza is far from thick. The pool of cheese was non existant. This is a regular pizza with a really tall crust.
I could get a pizza twice as good for $12 at Lou Malnati's in Chicago. They even sell them frozen. Ill be bringing some back with me when I go home. Better than the dissappointment I just ate.
Nice try Zacharys but you need more work. And shame on you Californians for tying to critique something you could not know anything about.