#9 Coalfire Pizza

May 27th, 2016

Chicago, IL

We weren’t expecting a non-deep dish pie from Chicago to make it into the Top 10 on the Daily Meal list, but Coalfire Pizza came in at #9. After a day of tourist-ing around town, we walked to the West Town location, where we grabbed a cozy seat right by the window.

We had a hard time choosing which pizza to try here because they all sounded so good. We went with the lasagna pie with Berkshire sausage, which came with these amazing clumps of ricotta on top. We also split a nice salad to start.

As we started to eat, we looked out the front window, and we saw the owner of the restaurant, Dave Bonomi, waving at us and holding up his phone, with our Instagram on his home screen. This was our second time being recognized, and since we only had about 50 followers at that point, we were really excited!

After he said a quick “hi”, Dave left us to finish our pizza, and then also waited while we had some dessert. When we were finally full, he grabbed us and asked if we wanted a quick tour of the restaurant. OF COURSE WE DID.

We felt so lucky to be able to listen to Dave talk about pizza because he was so passionate about it. His pizzas are slightly different than any style that we’ve had. As the name suggests, he uses a coal oven, so the pizza tastes slightly like a New Haven-style, with a good bottom char, but the crust is fluffier and more similar to a Neapolitan, although bigger. We got to check out the coal oven ourselves, and we also saw where Dave stacks the coal that he uses to fuel it. Not going to lie, but coal looks like a mess.

Dave also took us up to the roof of the restaurant, which gave us a great view of downtown Chicago. He told us a bit about the history of the area and the pizza scene in Chicago. He also mentioned a few Chicago classic pizzas that weren’t on our list (although we’ve noticed that a few of these have now made it on to the 2016 list, which means we need to take another trip back to Chicago ASAP).

This was probably our most memorable pizza visit of the whole road trip. Mainly because we got recognized, but also because we got to talk about different styles of pizza and different pizzerias with someone else who knew EVERYONE in the business. We learned so much about pizza and the value of really good ingredients. (Dave gets all of his ingredients locally, where possible, which makes his prices go up, but we agree with him that the taste is totally worth it!)

We loved this pizza so much that when we went back to Chicago last fall, we stopped in again!

In any case, the pizza is awesome here, and the owner is even more awesome. We definitely could see why it ranks higher than all those deep dish pizzas, and how it made it into the Daily Meal’s Top 10.

To visit:

Coalfire Pizza
1321 W Grand Avenue
Chicago, IL 60642

 

Chicago, take 2

October 8th, 2016

Chicago, IL

We were back in Chicago this past weekend for the marathon. It’s been a pre-marathon tradition for us to eat pizza the night before a race (carbo-loading at its best). We could have tried to get to one of the new pizza places on the 2016 list in Chicago, but we ended up back at Coalfire Pizza.

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This was our favorite Chicago pizza when we were here earlier this year (post is coming, I promise!). And honestly, I didn’t think that I could stomach a deep dish before a race. Last time we were in town we got to meet Dave, who owns and runs the two locations of Coalfire in Chicago, and we were looking forward to seeing him again.

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Last time we stopped by West Town, which is the original location. This weekend, we went up to the newer Lakeview location. It is close by the baseball stadium, so it was PACKED since the game was starting at 7 pm. We had seven people and so we were glad to get there early and have a table ready for us!

The previous time we were at Coalfire we only got to try one pizza, so this time we were excited to try FOUR pizzas. We went with a lasagna pie and the vodka meatball, the margherita, and the vegan veggie pie (but with cheese), which was recommended to us by our waitress.

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All of the pizzas were delicious, just as we remembered. We love the style of pizza here; everything tastes so fresh. I think our group favorites were the lasagna and the vodka meatball. And we also loved the fall sangria cocktail special. If I hadn’t been racing the next morning, I would have had a few more of them.
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We definitely will be regulars here when we come back to Chicago. It was great to see Dave again, and his pizza fueled my marathon PR! We also liked the second location. It’s a bit further out of town, but located right near the stadium and it is bigger than the West Town location.

We will be back to Chicago at some point this year – to hit the new pizza places on the list (although, we will probably need to come back to Coalfire too)!

 

To visit:

Coalfire Pizza
3707 North Southport Avenue
Chicago, IL 60613