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May 20, 2007 10:07 AM

Pizza to Bake at home

A friend of mine that used to live in Chicago was telling me about a place he used to go for a gourmet pizza that you can take home to cook. He's not sure of the name but he remembers there being long lines. I know this may be a shot in the dark. Does anyone have any ideas what the name of this place may be?

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    1. It definitely is homemadepizza company. A nice thing to avoid the line is that they deliver. I know, you're thinking, why would they deliver an uncooked pizza? Who knows, but I have done it and it is more convenient than waiting in the line there!

      1. We were a little addicted when our Home Made Pizza on Dempster in Evanston first opened. I think we had 30 pizzas in the first three months they were open (in the first month, I think two out of three dinners were from there...). Our location doesn't deliver -- but calling in advance means it's ready to go when you arrive for pick up. I've never waited more than two minutes to be rung up and most of the time I walk up to the counter. I'd strongly recommend asking for your crust to be "extra thin" -- cooking it at 450 instead of 425 for 15 minutes in our oven results in a truly crackly crust.

        Don't miss the caesar salad -- a great combination with the "Savory" pizza.

        8 Replies
        1. re: sfcng

          I've had HomeMade Pizza before, and it's good. But to me, one of the primary advantages of ordering a pizza from a pizza restaurant is the oven they cook it in. To me, a home oven just doesn't do any pizza justice; not when there are a million good pizza places from which to order. Thus, despite living right near a HomeMade Pizza outlet, I've only had it a couple times.

          1. re: JJ.

            I'm sure I've seen some Papa Murphy's in and around Chicagoland. It's a take-and-bake chain. Never tried it. Never will, either. I'm with JJ on this one and am baffled at the concept.

            1. re: ML in Naperville IL

              Well i think they just opened in Naperville, I'm going to try it.

            2. re: JJ.

              I'm with JJ too. I tried the Homemade Pizza. Once or twice. It was about as good as what you buy at the grocery store. If you live close to one of the many great pizza places in the Chicago area, you can do much, much better.

              1. re: nsxtasy

                The founders of the chain are not chowers in the same sense many of us are, they are more "San Fran foodies" (even though they have north shore roots and they hatched the idea while in NYC).

                The idea is "artisanal ingredients" . I have no problem with that, but frankly I'd rather just buy my own free range sausage, my own buffalo mozzerella, my own organic basil and build my own artisanal pizza OR just get a classic Chicago pizza without caring how the pig was treated...

                1. re: renov8r

                  I think the attraction for us was at least that it was something quite different from other pizzas available to us in Evanston. Personally I'm not a fan of Chicago deep dish, although I see the attraction for many folks. OTOH, finding thin crust pizza in Evanston that wasn't either totally bland or wet cardboard by the time it was delivered was a challenge.

                  I'd definitely be interested in suggestions for thin crust, but the thread that covered it wasn't practical as a 2x/week fix for us. We used to regularly order from LaRossa on Golf but despite having a great oven, the pizza is often soft on delivery.

                  We were looking for something like Amici's in San Francisco. By ordering from HomeMade and getting the crust extra thin and cooking it at a high temp, you get the combination of crackly thin crust, great ingredients and some really tasty flavor combinations. Plus, there's something nice about eating a pizza at home that's actually hot.

                  I don't think there's any way you could compare it with any supermarket pizza I've had from Whole Foods, Wild Oats or Dominicks (the ones I've tried in Evanston) -- which we did as due diligence. They were frequently doughy and sturdily durable, nothing like the thin pizza we were aiming for.

                  I have no doubt that this post won't sway many folks, but for those of us who want a regular dose of really thin crust at home, I'd highly recommend trying HomeMade ordered and cooked the way I suggested.

                  1. re: sfcng

                    >> OTOH, finding thin crust pizza in Evanston that wasn't either totally bland or wet cardboard by the time it was delivered was a challenge. <<

                    Have you tried Trattoria DOC yet?

                2. re: nsxtasy

                  Wow. Do you all live next to Spacca Napoli? Because down here in Hyde Park, the choices for pizza are limited. It's impossible to find thin crust that doesn't taste like cardboard, isn't smothered in tons of gloppy tomato sauce, and/or isn't covered in cheese that bears no resemblance to mozzarella. I had HPC's special last night. Prosciutto, chevre, fresh garlic, and rosemary... I'm sure most of the pizza places around here have never even heard of those things. I love the way the crust bubbles too and I've never gotten that with supermarket pizzas. Plus they have delivery and service that is actually nice (that's a rarity down here). I'm thanking my lucky stars that they moved to 55th and Lake Park!

            3. I've never seen a line at Homemade Pizza, and it's a fairly new place. I'm guessing that your friend was talking about Unos -- the original one on Ontario or Ohio. They have frozen thick crust pizza that you take home and bake. Very tasty.

              4 Replies
              1. re: wexstone

                For those of you living closer to Naperville, I just discovered that a Homemade Pizza Company outlet just opened (the sign says "now open") at the corner of Ogden Ave. and Washington St. where there is also a Jewel store. It is in a group of new stores next to or near a phone store (Cingular or Verizon). Looking forward to trying it.

                1. re: CJT

                  I think HomeMade Pizza actually is opening two stores in Naperville. The first one you mentioned at Ogden and Washington, and then I saw another one yesterday at 59 and 95th in the Crossings Mall. The sign said they are opening today, and this one is close to me so I'm excited. We used to have HomeMade all the time in the city when we lived in Lakeview -- their first store was on Belmont and then it moved to Southport. The thing we liked about it was that it was the perfect easy thing to serve when we had friends over, or even to take it to a friends' house with a nice bottle of wine or something -- really good food that doesn't take any work. Like someone said earlier, the crust cooks up unlike anything else I've ever had and their ingredient choices are really great.

                  1. re: michaelc

                    Any suggestions or recommendations on which of their ingredients/toppings make a good pizza?

                    1. re: CJT

                      What they do is they have a bunch of pre-set combinations to choose from, which are fantastic, or you can build your own. If you like vegetarian, they have a thing called the Miesian (sp?) that's really light with fresh tomatoes, basil, roasted garlic and mozzarella cheese -- very good. Or they have a really great one called a Sausage and Carmelized Onion. But my favorite one is called the Georgia (or Georgian?) that has poblano peppers and southwestern chicken sausage. They have a website with their food on it, which has pictures so you can get a good idea of what the pizzas look like. I think it's just

              2. Yikes! I haven't lived in Chicago for MANY years, but I used to LOVE to go to the REAL Uno's and bring one home to bake at my leisure!

                3 Replies
                1. re: ChefJune

                  I'll second that. I've eated and loved Unos (the original -- NOT the chain!) all my life and STILL don't think that any pizza is better than theirs. They still sell ready to bake pizzas.

                  1. re: chicgail

                    I don't get the comparison. Uno pizza is heavy -- thick crust, tons of ingredients piled on -- don't get me wrong, it's really good, although I've never had the take and bake -- but it's a totally different kind of pizza experience. HomeMade pizza is more of a thin-crust experience -- light and airy crust. It's about the freshness and flavor of the ingredients and not about how much cheese you can take in at one sitting.

                    1. re: michaelc

                      I like Homemade, but for me it's more of a healthy nouveau experience. I even get it with whole wheat crust. Agreed that Uno's is a totally different animal -- not espcially healthy, but a blast of nostalgic mouth pleasure.

                      And you can take home a half-baked to prepared hot and fresh in your own kitchen.