Chicago-Style Pizza in OC
Hi all, are there any pizzerias in OC that have a good Chicago style? Something that will instantly transport you to Pizzeria Uno or Gino's? BJ's doesn't quite cut it. I tried Selma's but it was just not there. I see Pizzeria Uno is in San Diego but I'd like a bit closer to home if poss.
What's your favorite Chicago-style pizza in OC? Best pizza I ever had in OC was Haus of Pizza in CM but I want some Chicago.
Thank you all for your input. I went to Tony's and it was just what the doctor ordered!
I still recall almost 14 years ago going to the original Gino's East. Not having the slightest concept about such pizza, to me it was a dark restaurant with a cool vibe, like the writing on the wall, but I had no expectations. We ordered a pizza how I would typically like it, probably a sausage/pepperoni. After waiting 40 minutes, I was thinking.... when in Rome... However, when I got the pizza, the earth stood still. And I've been thinking about it ever since, contemptuously in some cases, such as when eating from Pizza Hut or Papa John's.
Fast forward to now and having seen too many foodie shows that feature Chicago style, the time has come.
I had no idea what to expect at Tony's. There are no photos on the web site. So I called to make a "reservation". Hint, there are no reservations. Order at the counter and they bring it. When I arrived, the place was hopping. Tables full, line almost out the door, beers being poured. The place was a almost a scene - very casual, but quite enjoyable. The various Chicago kitsch all over the walls was a nice touch. This place is from another time. Placentia has changed but this place reminds me of the great pizza places I remember from the '70s, where survival was by quality of product, and not a corporate design based on a cost structure.
I ordered the sausage deep dish for the family. Seeing the various pies about the place, if looks were a good indication, this was going to be very good. Unfortunately the wait was almost an hour. But sure enough, this work of art came out and it was a bubbly, gooey, crunchy bit of heaven. Now I can't say it's entirely Chi-town style. In fact, in some ways it was somewhat generic. But the combination of liberally portioned ingredients, perfectly cooked , soft in the middle/crunchy on the outside crust and just the right proportion of cheese to meat to sauce... ambrosia (not the stuff with marshmallows). For very good pizza, extremely casual/crowded atmosphere, this is enjoyable, and I will return soon!
Incidentally, I ordered a 4 pack of pizza from Lou Malnati. While the sauce had a great flavor and the pizza was overall good, I'd rate the pizza "a very good frozen food" and nothing more. There is no magic of Chicago pizza. The pizzas are 9" jobs and quite enough for two. It cooked up nice, but I'm glad you all pointed me to Tony's.
Matt, you hit it head on, which is why I have been touting Tony's here for probably close to 10 years. A shame it's 20+ miles from home, but then again, maybe that's a good thing. The stuffed crust is even better! Others worth trying are Chicago Pasta House in Moreno Valley, Banducci's in Lakewood, Romano's in Riverside, and a SoCal outpost of Rosati's in Corona.
Today for lunch I had a deep dish sausage pizza at Tony's. As usual, it was excellent. The crust has enough corn meal to give it crackle without going overboard, and they cook the pies well done in the best Chicago style. The sauce has great tomato flavor without overwhelming with sweetness. Overall the whole package is very balanced and you can't go wrong with Tony's.
If you are looking to be transported, have lous send you a pizza... or make your own at home, it's not that hard, just need a good crust recipe (We use King Arthur Flour's) and a super hot oven and a cast iron skillet...
But CLOSE is Tony's Little Italy in Placienta... they got the basic idea, just not the soul...