Sky Full of Bacon

#10: Pizzeria Calzone, Where That’s Half True

So foodie woodburning pizza places open here and there and get all the attention, Great Lakes in Andersonville is the latest one.  Meanwhile, plain old pizza parlors, slice places, dot the Chicago landscape like red splotches on a guy called “Pizzaface.”  And once in a while someone even opens one of those, new.  Or two of those, in fact, since I’ve noticed that two new ones toward the north end of Lincoln Ave. have opened in relatively recent times.  I decided to see if one of them was open for lunch, and see how the old standby slice pizza joint was faring in today’s chichi pizza environment.

The one that was open at lunch is called Pizzeria Calzone, promising, in slightly mangled English, Italian Delicious Pizza.  Guess what else is on the menu?  Hamburgers, hummus, and an entire category entitled “Mexican Food.”  Continuing our theme of dada randomness, guess what is NOT on the menu?  Calzones.

Partly because of the cross-cultural wackiness on the menu, I couldn’t really peg the nationality (nationalities?) involved.  The chef looked Mexican, the waitress could have been from anywhere between Baja and Afghanistan.  The card I picked up at the end had an owner’s name that is probably Turkish, or Bosnian, or an alias.  The atmosphere of the fairly attractive interior was certainly more that of a culture where people go to cafes to smoke and drink twelve cups of coffee, rather than one where they go for pizza and a beer.

Rather than devote a great deal of money or time to this increasingly improbable enterprise, I decided to try a couple of slices, and figure that it could only get better if cooked fresh.  Very much in the classic Chicago slice place style— a thin, grease-soaking dough— but by no means bad of its type.  The cheese was decent quality, not gluey-funky like cheap cheese; the sauce was actually spiced rather nicely, not too sweet, some flavor of fresh herbs.  If anything, it was the sauce that redeemed it, if it comes out of a can, at least they picked the right can, if they season it up themselves, so much the better.

Is this a notable new pizza place?  No, I wouldn’t say that.  Would it serve if you lived close by, following my old friend Sue Brichetto-Smith’s rule that everyone should have a delivery pizza place so close that at least its pizza, no matter how mediocre, will have the virtue of freshness?  Yes.  For somebody, that will be enough. You can look at the address and decide if it’s you.

Pizzeria Calzone
5858 N Lincoln
Chicago, IL
(773) 907-0917

(What’s the number in the title? This is #10 in my quest to visit 50 restaurants that haven’t been talked about on LTHForum and are generally little known in the Chicago food community/press. To find more, click on “Restaurant Reviews” in the right-hand bar.)

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