UPDATE (11/09/2010) – Read another review of Old Chicago and their new “Ultimate Deep Dish” pizza!
On Friday night, Haley was watching television and a show about pizza popped up while she was channel surfing. I forget what channel it was on, but it was an extensive show on pizza (particularly Chicago-style) and how it was made. While I can probably name a handful of both local & chain pizzerias in the Nashville area that serve New York-style pizza, I can’t name any that claims to have Chicago-style pizza except for Old Chicago in Murfreesboro. I haven’t been to Chicago for a couple years and I haven’t had Old Chicago since I moved to Tennessee. But after a couple minutes of drooling at the giant slices of pizza on TV, we were off to Murfreesboro because of my sudden urge to scarf down those huge chunky slices of deep dish pizza.
So what’s so great about pizza that makes you suddenly crave it? For me, it’s the situation when you’re hungry, but you don’t feel like cooking. Maybe your friends dropped by or you’re having a party or you need a late night snack. You need something accessible… something delicious, but you don’t want fast food. You want something that will please everyone and is customizable. Pizza is the answer. Ah pizza… one of the best food options in the world. There’s a reason it’s a $30 billion industry with over 61,000 pizzeria restaurants in the U.S. alone (pizzapacket.com). With those kinds of numbers, you’ll be hard pressed to find someone who doesn’t like pizza.
Old Chicago of Murfreesboro is relatively new. It’s been open only for a couple of months and it still has that popularity where everyone and their whole family (including 2nd cousins) have to go there. When we put our name in at the hostess stand, we were told that there would be a 45 minute wait for a table. Despite the ferocious growling of our stomachs, Haley and I decided it was worth the wait.
The good thing about Old Chicago is that they are subscribed to Buzztime interactive games. Buzztime offers dozens of different games (their trivia game being the most popular) where each subscribed location is networked together. In this way, you can compete against people not only in your same location, but other locations around the country. Fortunately for us, playing Buzztime Trivia at the bar easily made the wait tolerable.
As for the food, Old Chicago offers pizza, calzones, pastas, as well as sandwiches and plates such as steak, fried shrimp, fried fish, etc. Personally I don’t see why you would come to a pizzeria to order food other than a pizza, calzone, or pasta, but to each their own. I placed an order for a medium Chicago-style Chicago Seven (Italian sausage, pepperoni, fresh mushrooms, black olives, green peppers, red onions, and Mozzarella cheese) for both Haley and myself.
Despite the name Chicago-style, it really isn’t (the sauce is under the cheese and toppings and the dough isn’t as flavorful), but is more akin to delivery pizza (like Papa John’s). If I had a choice of ranking chain pizza restaurants, I would clearly put Old Chicago at the top in terms of taste but towards the bottom when it comes to price. The pizzas at Old Chicago aren’t cheap… our medium (serves 2-3) was $17.89. A large size hit the $20 price range. So at that price, I’d either order Papa John’s for convenience or make a trip to downtown Nashville for one of those New York-style pizza joints.
Regardless, this modified Chicago-style pizza is a tasty meal. The outside of the crust was crispy while the edges were buttery. The inner part of the crust was still soft. The cheese was piled on hot and stringy, the Italian sausage and pepperoni were robust and meaty, and the vegetables still had a slight crisp to them with each bite. In my opinion, the only problem with the pizza was that it barely had any sauce. I’m a tomato sauce guy and like my pizza to at least have enough where it’s not totally dried out.
For dessert, I ordered a “Little Big Cookie” à la mode with vanilla ice cream. There is a larger cookie on the menu, but it serves 3-4 people. The cookie was warm, chewy, and extra buttery with each chocolate chip already at a melting point.
Overall, I really like Old Chicago. It’s been a while since I’ve had authentic Chicago-style pizza but Old Chicago makes a good attempt to recreate that style of pizza. The end result is a pizza that is similar to what most people are used to and still has a bit of personality to it. To my knowledge there aren’t a whole lot of Chicago-style eateries around here but if there is, I’d love to try them. In the meantime, if I get a craving for Chicago-style pizza, I’ll either have to jump on a plane or settle for Old Chicago.
1835 Old Fort Parkway
Murfreesboro, TN 37129-3364
Bill Total: $24