Roots Pizza (1924 W. Chicago Ave.) was created by the brain behind The Fifty/Fifty sports bar on Division in Chicago. They feature Quad Cities style pizza that uses malt in its crust to create a more flavorful product with a nice balance of crunch and chew. Another hidden gem on the menu is their homemade Root Beer. It has great balance and isn’t too sweet. I recommend trying a bottle. Plus the label is cool.
They are known for having some of the best mozzarella sticks anywhere. Okay, they really ARE the best mozzarella sticks I’ve tasted. They make their own mozzarella in house and form it into forms that are literally the size of a stick of butter.
I’m at Roots with my long time bud Looty. We can’t wait for the meal we are about to feast upon. The mozz sticks arrive stacked high like Lincoln logs awaiting to be devoured. Cheese oozes from the beautiful golden brown two by fours of goodness as you’re overwhelmed by a flavorful rush of rich and gorgeous cheese, zesty seasoned breading and excellent tangy house made marinara sauce. They are absolutely stellar. You MUST order them when you visit. In fact, they’re almost worth the trip alone.
You have the option to create your own pizza or choose from one of their specialty pies. We ordered the Sausage pizza which was actually one of their few specialty options. The malt in their crust adds both flavor and texture to the pizza.
The edge of the crust was nice and bubbly. Light and airy, the dough was tender and had a pleasant chew. The topping portion of crust was crispy and stood upright. Sausage made in house was herbaceous, a little spicy, and extremely porky. We loved it. There wasn’t a sign of any gristle or funny business at all. Really easy to eat. Delicious.
The flavor of the dough is different because the malt treats the dough more like an artisanally baked good than a plain piece of crust. The flavor is yeasty and complex, almost like a sourdough mixed with brioche in my mind. Really fantastic. The slight char on the bottom of the crust is a sign of a great oven and a skilled baker.
Pizzas are cut with scissors into strips, not the traditional pie or even Chicago favorite square-cut. The strips, they work. Everyone gets some crust, and the width of the slices are just about the size of ones mouth. Genius. I’m an immediate fan of this pizza as a whole. Granted, these days it’s difficult to find awesome pizza for real cheap. Roots serves up some of the best in town and it’s well worth the few extra bucks in my book. No doubt.
I’m hungry. Let’s eat!