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Hollywood Pies - FINALLY some decent Chicago Pizza in LA

There was an Eater LA profile on Monday about a new Chicago Pizza place - delivery or pick-up only - called Hollywood Pies, so this past Friday I figured I'd give them a try.

I was born and raised in Chicago, and love deep dish Chicago style pizza. I had gotten used to the fact that there is no real Chicago pizza to be found in LA - I've had Masa, I've had Tony's Little Italy, they're fine but they're not quite 'it". I was fine mail-ordering some Lou Malnati's every so often. But I'm always game to try something claming to be authentic Chicago pie.

I ordered a large sausage and a small spinach, and about an hour later I picked them up from their place, which as it turns out is right across from the Largo on La Cienega. It was formerly the Acapulco on La Cienega. I called them up again and they came out with my pizzas. It felt just a little bit like a drug deal, but then proper Chicago pizza is kind of a drug, right?

I gotta say, this is good, authentic Chicago pizza. I think they got it just about perfect. To start with, it's heavy. I mean, it has a proper heft the way a real deep dish pizza should. The crust is very nice, not too buttery or greasy, no corn meal on the bottom but they laid down a little netting mat under each pizza to keep it from unifying with the box. The back crust is nicely crispy and flavorful, the bottom crust is not too thick or doughy. Just about perfect.

There is then a nice pully layer of mozzarella on top of the crust, then the toppings, then the tomatoes and spices. For the sausage, it was broken up into smallish bits with good spice and flavor, some fennel seeds in there, and mixed with ricotta. It added a nice smoothness and richness to the overall flavor. The spinach was sauteed with some garlic and chopped fine.

The tomatoes on top were especially good, nicely garlicky and with a great smack of oregano that really helped to make the taste that much more authentic. Then a layer of parmesan on top of the tomatoes.

I managed three pieces before getting very full - again, it's nice and dense - and my wife, who is from LA but a Chicago pizza convert from our visits there, enjoyed it as well.

I'm now convinced that proper Chicago deep dish pizza exists in Los Angeles. And they're in my neighborhood! I grew up eating at Malnati's, Giordano's, Carmen's and Due. Lately when I go home we've been going to this place Delisi's which was truly amazing, though they closed recently. Hollywood Pies ranks right up there with my favorites from Chicago.

Tim

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Masa Restaurant
2063 E Colorado Blvd, Pasadena, CA 91107

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  1. This sounds great. The problem is, I live in Northridge, probably an hour away with no traffic. Since we can't eat there, do you think the pizza will travel such a distance?

    2 Replies
    1. re: brandygirl

      The good thing about a proper Chicago pizza is it's an endurance food. I let the ones I got sit in the oven for a couple of hours until dinner time, popped them in to crisp the crust back up a bit, and it was perfect. I'd say it should survive a car trip to Northridge.

      1. re: brandygirl

        Yes... they are very nice and place it on a netting on top of the crust. While the crust does sog a bit, it helps it from completely melting on itself. We had to take one to go for some distance, and it survived very well... well enough to be able to eat a slice with your hands... quite an accomplishment with this type of deep dish.

        --Dommy!

      2. Sound very promising and by the looks of these pics, looks very promising!!

        http://www.yelp.com/biz_photos/dFBpwp...

        14 Replies
        1. re: reality check

          I dunno. I'm no expert on Chicago-style pizzas, and I'll certainly give them a try, but the pies and slices in the Yelp photos look a little dried out/stale to my eyes. Compare them to these pictures of the pie I had at Zachary's Pizza in Oakland last year. Now THAT was a deep-dish slice of heaven!

           
           
          1. re: Arthur

            The pies I had were by no means dried out. They were just about right - not too greasy, not too stale.

            1. re: TimToyGeek

              I agree.. however, that was my one issue with Hollypie's crust. It was very biscuity, which what give its dull appearance on the photos. The pros of it being biscuty was that it held together nicely, had a great buttery flavor and actually made the pizza lighter than most other Chicago styles I've had (Tony's pizza in Placentia leaves me feeling like I ate a brick if I eat more than one slice... with HP, I ate two slices and salad and was happily full)

              However, the cons with a biscuity crust is not 100% what I think of in Chicago style, and it was a little more doughy than I would like. It almost reminded me of the mini pizzas my Mexican mom would make me using Pillsbury dough...

              --Dommy!

              1. re: Dommy

                That's funny! A friend of mine always swore that Pizzeria Uno's original crust could be recreated pretty accurately with Bisquick!

                1. re: Dommy

                  Hey Dommy, have you ever had a real Chicago pie? (Like one of the famous ones, Gino's East, etc.) I never have.... Chicago pizza has always been an enigma to me.

                  I ask because I'm wondering what benchmark you're comparing your Hollywood Pies experience to (other than Tony's in Placentia). My admittedly inadequate understanding of the stuff is that it's supposed to be kind of a crumbly crust, so the Bisquik descriptor doesn't sound strange to me. (I only recently found out from reading a Cooks Illustrated recipe for Chicago pizza at home that it was never meant to emulate the gluteny-elasticy pizza dough of My Homeland.)

                  Anyway we've got a bunch of enthusiastic Chicagoans at my work who know what a proper Chicago pie is meant to taste like. We're all going in for lunch tomorrow (HP will open for lunch and deliver for a minimum of 10 smalls).

                  Will report back...

                  Mr Taster

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                  Hollywood Pies
                  385 N La Cienega Blvd, West Hollywood, CA 90048

                  1. re: Mr Taster

                    I have.... LOTS. I used to travel to Chicago often and ALWAYS stop by My Pi in Lincoln Park and also Due.

                    Anyway, while I'm not one to take an MBA from Vermont as the authority of Chicago Pizza. YES, the dough on Chicago style does not resemble the dough on new style at all. In fact, it's supposed be a bit biscuity. But because it is a biscuit based crust, it's still a yeasted pizza dough with olive oil and because it toasted on the bottom in an oiled or buttered pan, it rich flavor.

                    It's kinda a mixture of one of those greek pizza places in Boston that line the pan with oil and it becomes super crisp... except in chicago of course, it taken to the extreme with the deep dish aspect and the sauce on the top so it doesn't sog up the crust.

                    Anyway, I should say that I really liked Hollywood Pies and look forward to your thoughts! :)

                    --Dommy!

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                    Hollywood Pies
                    385 N La Cienega Blvd, West Hollywood, CA 90048

              2. re: Arthur

                Your pics were taken right when the pizza came out of the oven. Since we know HP is take out & delivery only, we can assume most of the pics were taken after people got home or when the pizza was delivered.

                1. re: reality check

                  Perhaps so, RC. But then it may also demonstrate that deep-dish pizza really ought to be served and eaten right out of the oven, and that the Hollywood Pies delivery/pickup-only concept is therefore inherently flawed.

                  1. re: Arthur

                    I actually prefer Zachary's the day after, when the grease has had time to solidify and all the flavors seem to intensify. I imagine it will be the same with this pizza as well.

                2. re: Arthur

                  Finally made it over here as we don't live close by. We've been known to fly home with half-baked pies from Zachary's. Just had the large spinach, and I am sure the people around my on my OAK-LAX flights will be glad to know I will not need to carry back our usual spinach and mushroom. Slight differences (Hollywood has more of a biscuit crust, and I think less sweetness in the tomato sauce), but thrilled there is a real Chicago style pizza place within reasonable driving distance. Can't wait for their downtown location to open up.

                  1. re: Arthur

                    Zachary's pizza is "stuffed," with a thin bottom crust, then the cheese and toppings, then another layer of crust, then the tomato sauce on top. It is a style of Chicago deepdish, but it is not the classic Chicago deepdish. It is excellent and very filling.

                    1. re: nosh

                      I haven’t been there in a few years and I suppose (yet highly doubt) things may have changed dramatically, but as the second of the two pictures I posted above shows pretty clearly, there was no extra layer of crust in any Zachary’s pizza I ever ate. I therefore do not believe it meets your definition of a stuffed pizza.

                        1. re: nosh

                          Hmmm...that’s gotta be one helluva thin layer of crust, which they say melts into the cheese. Can’t see any trace of it (even in their own pictures) and can’t taste it. But I do stand corrected.

                  1. re: Norm Man

                    For some reason they're cagey about their address: it's not on their website, not in Yelp, not on their Facebook page, and not in the LA County Food Facility Rating database. I believe the correct address is::

                    385 N La Cienega Blvd
                    West Hollywood, CA 90048

                    Can anyone confirm whether that's correct?

                    1. re: Peripatetic

                      Well, that a famous address for L.A. restaurants starting with (for me) the Islander (a Prom favorite for many, many high schools in L.A.) and then on to Roy Yamaguchi's first Los Angeles foray as 385 North...

                      1. re: Peripatetic

                        That's right, it's across from the Largo at La Cienega and Oakwood. They're pickup or delivery only for now.

                        1. re: Peripatetic

                          Not sure where all of the confusion about their location is coming from. There is an address posted on their website, which I've copied and pasted: 415 WESTMOUNT DR. WEST HOLLYWOOD CA 90048. I checked Google Maps and it appears to be to the rear of the address you listed. They don't seem to be acting cagey - that's exactly where you are expected to go for curbside pick-up of your pizza order.

                          1. re: Arthur

                            "There is an address posted on their website, which I've copied and pasted: 415 WESTMOUNT DR. WEST HOLLYWOOD CA 90048"
                            -----
                            Is that their address? That's where they say you should "key in" to your GPS for curbside pick up. Then you're supposed to call them and they "will bring your pie right to your car". But 415 Westmount Drive appears to be office units with no apparent retail/restaurant space, two buildings to the north of 385 N La Cienega Blvd:

                            http://lalife.com/address/415_Westmou...

                            Nothing at that address is in the Food Facility Rating database, either.

                            Weird or what?

                            1. re: Arthur

                              That address is correct. The problem is, Chowhound linked a restaurant in Pasadena.

                              From the Hollywood Pies website:

                              CURBSIDE PICK-UP SUGGESTION: IF USING GPS/NAVIGATION SYSTEM KEY IN 415 WESTMOUNT DR. WEST HOLLYWOOD CA 90048. WHEN AT THAT LOCATION GIVE US A CALL AND WE WILL BRING YOUR PIE RIGHT TO YOUR CAR.

                              1. re: granadafan

                                I just pulled into the parking lot at the former Acapulco space, off La Cienega, called them and they came right out with my pizza. Best yet, there's a light there so you don't have to make a hazardous turn onto La Cienega when you leave.

                                I can report, also, that it's nearly as good the second day reheated.

                                1. re: TimToyGeek

                                  Yup! Reheated beautifully in the oven on the stone and also good cold! :)

                                  --Dommy!

                        2. Tried it tonight and thoroughly enjoyed it. I'm not at all an expert in Chicago style, the only thing I really know is Zachary's from the Bay Area, but this was about what I imagine perfect Chicago-style to be. I kept it simple -- got a large cheese, picked it up and was eating it at home within 5 minutes, so the heat level was perfect. It kept its form well -- no goopy falling apart of the pie. The sauce was tangy, almost made me thing there was a little bit of pepper of some kind in it. (In a good way.)

                          Agreed that the pickup was very, very odd and drug-deal like. But I'll happily put up with that again and continue to patronize. I can only assume that if all goes well they'll upgrade at some point to a proper pizza place.

                          3 Replies
                          1. re: QualityMart

                            Agree completely with QualityMart. Whenever I've been to Chicago, I've never been out of O'Hare. So I'm no expert either. But I thoroughly enjoyed this pie. I was craving tomato sauce, and this delivered big time. I also liked the sausage. We had the Cheese (mozzarella and sauce) and the Classic (sausage, ricotta, mozzarella, sauce). And we agree, the sauce on the Cheese was so tangy it tasted a little spicy. Between two hungry adults, we finished half of a large pizza.

                            I was a little shocked by the weight of the pizza. The large feels like it's about five to eight pounds.

                            Regarding the pick-up arrangement, I spoke to the fellow who brought the pizza and he said they only have a catering license. So they can't have anyone go directly to the facility. They're looking to open a regular restaurant, maybe on Fairfax, sometime soon.

                            -----
                            Hollywood Pies
                            385 N La Cienega Blvd, West Hollywood, CA 90048

                            1. re: QualityMart

                              Yeah, I thought the sauce was a bit too dull... it needed something, I thought more like parsley. Also the sausage was missing the fennel bite that is in most chicago pies.

                              I had to LOL at your last paragraph. I told the the girl I would be very unhappy if I opened the box and found pot in there instead of my pizza... LOL!

                              --Dommy!

                              1. re: Dommy

                                has this place opened up a retail storefron't yet? i could never seem to find it.

                                or do you have to call and only then they will deliver to you?

                                thanks.

                            2. I tried the pizza -- sausage & peppers -- last evening. It was good -- the look and feel of Lou Malnati's and a very tangy, pronounced sauce that reminds me of Pequod's. Two slices can fill you but I almost ate the whole thing -- in a good way. I do feel the sausage needs a little more zest, flavor but all in all, I would definitely go back -- my taste buds are already craving the stuff. It is better than Masa and for me, someone has finally brought the essence of Chicago deep dish to LA.