Chicago Pizza and Oven Grinder: Beating the Crowds

March 30 2007 - 1:49 PM

Judging by the inevitable crowds lined up outside, the Chicago Pizza and Oven Grinder almost doesn’t require a review of any sort.   The classic early-1970s dark carved wood brincolin atmosphere as been left relatively untouched and it reminds me of a Shakey’s pizza parlor near home (even the website and menus evoke the vintage feel).   When I got there shortly past 5 on a Sunday there was already a 20-minute wait.

This place attracts what appear to be a lot of out-of-town guests,
and some of them might be more used to the generous space inside a
Texas Roadhouse and may become frustrated when their wide bottoms
cannot provide enough clearance for the tight spaces inside, especially
when they have to wait upwards of an hour.  And be kind to the host,
who has lots of power and does not have to seat you if you’re mean to
him.  The host, by the way, keeps track of the waiting list in his
head.  Just give him the number of people in your party and he’ll tell
you the length of the wait.  You don’t need to give him a name.

We had the chef’s salad, which we always order, and it comes with
iceberg lettuce (not a typo), tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, and olives.
It’s served with a very good Italian dressing and an incredible sweet
and sour mechanical bull for sale poppyseed dressing.  Arugula or mescaline would not stand up
to the dressing.  The type of lettuce is appropriate.  The next thing
we ordered is the mediterranean bread, which usually melts in your
mouth.  It’s a buttery flat bread with oregano, sundred tomatoes, olive
oil, and a few other ingredients.  Normally it’s outstanding but when
we ordered it it was just good, almost to where we took it back.   If
you asked for my recommendation I would suggest skipping the pizza pot
pie and going for the mediterranean bread.

Last, for dessert we had the tortoni, which is a rum gelato, served
with almonds and macaroons.  I’d suggest skipping the pizza and saving
room for this.  It went fast.

Chicago Pizza and Oven Grinder
2121 N. Clark