Archive for the ‘Pizza’ Category
I’ve been on a mission to have weekend breakfasts at rural locations in Illinois, and today we hit the Pub 72 Bar & Grill in Gilberts, IL. The “72” is after the number of the highway, and if memory serves me, is a rather new name. Not sure if the change also represented a change in ownership.
The place has a menu with “something for everything” whether you’re in the mood for plate dinners, sandwiches, appetizers, pizza, or adult beverage drink specials.
They serve a VERY economical breakfast (beginning at $2.99) on Saturdays and Sundays from 9 AM.
This is one of those joints were seemingly every employee took a course in what being in the hospitality business truly means. You’re almost always greeted by the owner when you walk in, a guy who doesn’t think so much of himself that it would be beneath him to walk around, refill coffees, inquire to customers satisfaction, and be observant enough to notice patrons that need attention. Superb. Rare qualities in most smaller places these days.
Serving help was equally affable, smiles all around, diligent order taking, great follow-up. By 9:30, the place was pretty busy with Sunday morning diners.
I had ham steak and eggs, great piece of ham with a nice grill char on it, just the way I like it. And a slice of Texas toast. As is the fashion at small diners in Illinois, a bowl of butter pats grazes each table. Eggs cooked precisely as ordered.
Hash browns are above average too.
I’ll be back. You should check them out if you live in the area, or are tooling down I-90 some day.
Pub 72 Review
Seems like lately I’ve been hitting “out of the way” pizza places like this one, on US Highway 12, 6.5 miles north of Elkhorn, WI and the junction of 12 and I-43. It’s about a 15 minute drive from the popular Lake Geneva recreation area in Southern Wisconsin.
I’ve driven by this place many times, when I’ve been out on my ‘touring America’ expeditions. My mistake for not stopping earlier.
US 12 is one of my favorite drives, running from the Pacific Ocean to Detroit. Starting in the West, you’ll leave the coast from Aberdeen, where I’ve had a great Salvadorean meal, and plenty of Washington oysters nearby.
You’ll wing your way through Idaho, Montana, the Dakotas, and Minnesota before rolling into Western Wisconsin. When you finally arrive at Elkhorn, you’d do well to time your drive to hit opening hours (from 5PM, Mon, Wed, and Thurs, and 4PM Fri, Sat, and Sun). Closed on Tuesdays.
Then menu (pictured below) features Italian appetizers and entrees, pizza, pasta, salads and more. The paper thin crust pizzas are fired in a wood/coal oven, and emerge quickly with a nice char on the crust.
Specialty pies lean towards ‘gourmet’, with ultra fresh ingredients and combinations; we went for one with arugula, prosciutto, and shaved parmesan. We also shared the “Holi Cannoli” which features a rich topping for four cheeses.
Started the meal with the very generous antipasto plate, featuring Italian meats, cheese, olives, peppers, and salad. Complimentary flat bread, foccacia and warm marinara grace every table.
You know I like thin crust, and this one is the epitome of thin. Almost like matzoh. It provides for a very nice crispness, and the ultra fresh toppings make each pie seem light and refreshing, instead of feeling like an anvil in your tummy. Lettuce isn’t something I would usually consider on a pie, but I’m sure glad I tried this one. I’ll be back.
The restaurant was nearly empty when we filed in at 5 PM on a Friday, but within 30 minutes, it was SRO. Despite the crowd, service was fast and professional, and the proprietors stopped by each table once or twice during the meal. Nice touch. They seemed willing and happy to accommodate most any request. Pizzas are one size only and will feed several comfortably. I wish they had a personal sized pie, and I’d be inclined to ‘over-order’ and try the pastas, salads, and such.
If you’re motoring across Wisconsin, or are out for a drive from Madison, Milwaukee, or Chicago, hit Holi Cannoli, at least once! Beer, wine and full bar available.
Holi Cannoli Review
Twin Cities Bureau Chief Lauren popped in to Fresh Picked, in the far northern ‘burbs. Had the sausage pie as an eat-in, but observed the take out, including take and bake business was brisker than the inside diners.
“Thinish” but with a thicker crust, she reports it was good, but not great. Exterior of the crust was unevenly cooked, as well.
If you’re ever looking for Shoreview, look for the two 1000+ foot TV towers. Menu.
Fresh Picked Pizza Review
Bagel Bites were invented by Stanley Garczynski and Bob Mosher of Florida, and sold out to a larger food company early on. Today they are in the hands of Ore-Ida (Heinz), not sure why, the company doesn’t have any similar products.
They aren’t even mentioned on Ore-Ida’s main website, but have their own home, where you can read all about the different varieties that are offered.
I haven’t tried these for a couple of decades, my recollection is that they used to be a slightly better pizza snack choice than Jenos/Totinos pizza rolls, which to me, never tasted like anything, let alone pizza.
Verdict? Well, I’m not going to try pizza rolls to compare, but these are OK, really not much flavor, can bake in the oven or microwave. Would I buy these regularly? Nah. And way too many ingredients listed for a product this simple.
Bagel Bites Review
I like things, places that came into existence the same year I did. I had a Seeburg Jukebox of that vintage, and Broadway Pizza and I were born the same year. Back in the day I used to visit the establishment, they had one location, in Northeast Minneapolis (which isn’t northeast, any more than mid city in New Orleans is in the middle of the city!), and it included an assemblage of old railroad cars.
Today they have over a dozen locations around the Twin Cities, and I visited the one in Richfield, which is a ‘southern’ suburb out near the airport and the Mall of America.
I ordered my usual, sausage and olive, thin crust, of course, and the very pleasant server delivered the goods (and numerous soda refills) promptly. The crust was crispy and chewy at the same time, if that’s possible. Toppings and cheese were very generous, and the sausage had some (to me) unidentifiable spice that made it unique (different from traditional Italian “hot” sausage (which isn’t hot) or Italian “sweet” sausage (which isn’t sweet)). This makes Broadway’s sausage in a class by itself.
I liked Broadway decades ago, I like them today. They have become my Twin Cities old-timey go to place, since the demise of the venerable Cafe di Napoli in downtown Minneapolis. Sniff.
In addition to pizza, Broadway has subs, salads, appetizers and pasta dishes available; eat in, take out, or use them for catering.
Menu is online. (Pizza photo is mine, exterior photo above is from Broadway’s website).
I’ve written in the past the story of Kwik Trip and how I became acquainted with them about 40 years ago when they were just starting out. And I’ve written about competitor Casey’s General Store take and eat pizza slices, as well as when 7-Eleven launched into the segment a few year back.
Nobody but nobody holds a candle to Kwik Trip’s assortment of ‘grab and go’ type foods, and they offer a wider variety and deeper selection in each category than any other c-store.
While I think very favorably of Casey’s pizza slices (re-sampled just a couple weeks ago), especially for their flavor and abundance of cheese, I have to say, munching on a Kwik Trip slice the other day, the latter won out, if not for flavor and toppings, then certainly for the crust, which is crispy and light. Casey’s is doughy and often tastes (but not objectionably) not done.
One of the very first radio commercials we did for Kwik Trip 40 years ago said something like “when you run out, run in, to Kwik Trip.” It couldn’t be more true today. Whether you’re in the mood for a hot dog, slice of pizza, pre-made sandwiches, a myriad of baked goods, or even several varieties of soup, Kwik Trip has something for you.
And pick up your weekly staples while you’re in the store. They are often the market leader in pricing bread, eggs, and milk.
Kwik Trip Pizza Review
Started by two Michigan brothers in 1978, this Upper Midwestern chain specializes in what I’d call “Detroit Style” pizza. A bit thicker crust, square in shape, square cut. They offer several different sizes, including one that’s “all corners.”
There are now about 350 Jet’s Pizzas in 19 states, mostly franchise owned and operated. I could be mistaken, but usually I’m not, I think the entire chain is carry out/delivery only.
The outlet I visited, in a suburb of the Twin Cities, was ultra busy, and ultra high production oriented. My large sausage and “bold pepperoni” plus olives pie took 12 minutes on the conveyor oven. Enthusiastic and friendly staff. A lot of them!
In addition to pizza, the menu offers salads, subs, a couple of chicken products, and their variations on “crazy bread,” or whatever the real name is for baked slices of pizza dough with a variety of toppings.
You know what? I was impressed. This is a far more flavorful pie, with more toppings, than any other high production chain. It runs circles around Dominos, Papa Johns, Caesars, and Pizza Hut, for sure.
The sausage was flavorful, the pepperoni indeed “bold” (they also have regular), nice pull on the cheese, and the sauce had it’s own distinct flavor.
Good job, Jett boys. And thank yer ma for coming up with the recipe.
Locator. Menu below.
Jets Pizza Review
Somebody else was buying, so they picked, and they picked Bandito Barney’s. I’ve never been there, I’ve even walked by it and didn’t notice it, the outside is an older home, and there’s only a smallish, faded sign over the door.
But walk inside, and the whole world turns upside down, with massive outdoor bars and patios, sunlit, busy, and all aswarm with attractive server-type women.
Bandito’s menu has ‘something for everyone,’ sandwiches, salads, burgers, pizza, flatbread, appys, and of course, a full bar and plenty of beer. Daily specials, too, like AYCE pasta and the Chicago Friday traditional fish fry.
Burgers come in two sizes, 5 and 8 ounces, with a variety of cheeses and toppings to choose from. The restaurant is able/willing to cook to order, and my medium rare was just that.
I went with regular tots as a side, which were deep fried to a nice crisp. My pal encouraged me to try sweet potato tots, but they are just not for me. Sweet potato dishes are one of those things that puzzles me at restaurants – the raw product costs less than the regular potato, yet they charge more. Go figure.
It’s an above average burger, but not spectacular, on its own.