Monday, June 20, 2011
Piece has been around for almost 10 years but because of it's location in Wicker Park and the fact that it does some really good pizza and beer, it can still be pretty hard to get a table. You can have beer without having a table but if you want to eat there, you need a table. Up until yesterday, I had been too impatient to wait for a table so while I had had their very good beer several times, I had never had their pizza. The pizza that they do at Piece is called New Haven style which is kind of a cross between New York style and Roman style. The place is owned by Rick Nielsen of Cheap Trick fame who are from Rockford, Illinois so where the idea of a New Haven style pizzeria in Chicago came from, I have no idea (although I am not complaining). The pizza is prepared on a rectangular pan like a Roman style but it isn't squared up so what you end up with is an oblong pizza that is wedge cut. It's a thin crust and seems to be flame roasted because it has some nice char on it but opposed to New York style, the crust is pretty crisp. After the crust, the pizza can be prepared three ways: red, which is the standard way that most people know pizza, tomato sauce and mozzarella (plus whatever toppings you might want), plain, which is the standard New Haven Style with a chunky tomato sauce, garlic, parmesan, and olive oil, and the white pizza which has olive oil, garlic, and parmesan. We had a large plain pizza with sausage and mushrooms which fed four of us well. I liked the char on the crust and the fact that it was really crispy made it easy to handle the large pieces. The sauce was very garlicky which was fine because I like garlic but because it is a prominent flavor, it can be a surprise to some people. The mushrooms and sausage really weren't anything special in and of themselves, but as a part of the entire pizza, they went together very well. As I mentioned, Piece is also a brew pub and has actually won awards for their beer. If you happen to like beer, the quality of their product can really be appreciated. I had the Dysfunctionale, an American style, strong pale ale that has a nice hop flavor to it and the Wackjob which is a double IPA which had a strong hop flavor as a good IPA should. Piece makes some really good pizza but be prepared to wait if you want to eat there. Having an award winning beer while you are waiting will make the wait much more palatable.