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Posts Tagged ‘NW Suburbs Pizza’

Rics Dog Gone Good Food Review –

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Rics Dog Gone Good Food ReviewI’m on a roll, lately I’ve hit quite a number of places that have exceeded my expectations, and there’s nothing wrong with that, at all!

Yesterday was no exception, when I was out in the NW Chicago burbs surveying changes that have occurred since we first moved to the idyllic town of Barrington in 1987. And the answer is LOTS. Like most everywhere in America these days, urban sprawl and strip malls have replaced farm fields.

But hey, that’s ok, one of those strip malls has given birth to “Ric’s Dog Gone Good Food.”

“Ric’s” is run by Howard, an outgoing, affable gent who greets customers the second they pull on the door handle. He’s as engaging as the lengthy menu. He did not explain who “Ric” is, but then I didn’t ask.

Menu selection ranges from Chicago style hot dogs via local legendary  quality supplier Vienna Beef, to chopped steak burgers, deli sandwiches, wraps, salads, and plated entrees.  Greek foods comes from another quality local supplier, Kronos.

Burgers start out with 1/3 pound hand-formed patty (diminutive size also available), and I went with one of Ric’s ‘specialty burgers’ – the Greek, where the beef patty is topped with feta and chopped Kalamata olives. Going all out into the Greek arena, I asked if I could please have some tzatziki on the side. Tzatziki is a Greek inspired sauce (or dip) made from yogurt, cucumbers, dill and garlic.

I had a mind to smear it on the burger, which I did, but discovered it’s an excellent alternative to Ranch as a fry dipping sauce.

On the subject of fries? Ric’s gives you five choices. Fresh cut, crinkles, seasoned curlys, cottage, and cheddar. Rings, battered ‘shrooms and cauliflower round the the fried sides menu. He also offers ‘skins and bakers.

I went with the fresh cut, which were an absolute joy, seriously, but I’ll have to go back to try the rings and cottage fries. Based on my first visit, well worth the trip. The fresh cut fries were piping hot, fried perfectly, lightly salted.

I have a habit of disassembling my burgers at the start, checking them out. It’s also important to me to taste the patty, unadulterated, as quality, flavorful beef has to be at the heart of every great burger.

I have to pause here, and say, in all seriousness, I’ve had burgers in probably 50 countries, for which I have spent anywhere from fifty cents to fifty dollars, and this is one of the finest patties I’ve ever had the pleasure to know. Great beefy flavor. A great grind providing great texture in the bite experience. Lightly seasoned to complement the true beef taste.

(Don’t you hate biting into a fast food burger and realizing it could just as easily be called “fried protein puck”). Meats should taste like the animal they come from, and Ric’s fits the bill.

Toppings were top quality, both the creamy feta and the Greek olives. The bun was bakery soft, yet sturdy enough to hold any toppings you are to pile on your burger.

The restaurant and washrooms were sparkling. Beverage choices include fountain, cans, bottles, brewed ice tea and shakes.

The Google tells me the restaurant is 14.8 miles from my door, 27 minutes by car, an hour and a half by bike, or 5 hours walking.

I don’t have a bike. But I’d walk. You should to…or drive. Anyway, go there. Eat. Enjoy the food. Enjoy Howard.

In a city where there are a reported more than 1500 places selling hot dogs and Chicago fare, you sure have to admire the mom and pop outfits that slug it out every day in a crazy, competitive business segment.

They deserve our support.  Here’s the whole menu.

Rics Dog Gone Good Food Review

Greek Burger w/ Fresh Cut fries

 

Rics Dog Gone Good Food Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
Rics Dog Gone Good Food Review

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Napoli Pizza Review, Woodstock, IL

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Napoli Pizza Review WoodstockI love being surprised (in a good way).

I also love having an experience exceed my expectations. Both were the case at Napoli Pizza, in the distant Chicago burg of Woodstock.

You may not recognize the name of the town, but you would if you were dropped into the town square – it’s where most of the exteriors of the movie “Groundhog Day” were filmed. There’s even a commerative “Ned Ryerson” plague on the sidewalk.

So I saw Napoli by accident some time ago, and it looked old timey. Not much about it online, other than their facebook page, which says they have been family owned for 26 years. Carry out, delivery or dine in, pizza, pasta, apps, sandwiches. Open 7 days from 11AM.

I ordered a thin crust house special (sausage, pepperoni, green and black olives, onions, mushrooms, and green pepper).

I can vouch that the dough is blended in-house, because I spied a hunk of it bigger than me, being worked in the kitchen. Their “thin” isn’t as thin as some other Chicago area pizzerias, more like the thickness of what the chains referred to as “hand-tossed.” Regardless, it was very flaky at the exterior and nice and chewy as you worked your way in from the win.

Toppings were plentiful, and I mean PLENTIFUL. I was surprised when I was first handed the box, this sucker was HEAVY. Excellent hand pulled chunks of flavorful Italian sausage. The sauce is slightly sweet, but in the way it’s supposed to be, from tomatoes. Hearty. And massive amounts of cheese, I’m sure the quantity would qualify as “double cheese” at most places. Really, really nice.

I wished I lived closer, Napoli would be my go-to place. Luckily, every few months I’m up that way. I’ll be back. I so admire mom and pop sized operators. It’s gotta be tough every day to compete against the major chain pricing gimmicks, and of course the breaks chains get on purchasing monster quantities of ingredients.

Thanks for a great pie!  Menu below.

Napoli Pizza Review Woodstock

House Special

Napoli Pizza Review Woodstock
Napoli Pizza Place Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
Napoli Pizza Review

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Village Squire Review, Dundee, IL

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Village Squire ReviewSporting an English pub decor, the Village Squire is a mini chain with four locations in the W / NW Suburbs of Chicago.

They’ve been around since 1958. It’s casual dining, with an extensive menu as well as daily specials. Special kid’s menu has more options than you’re used to seeing at fast casual restaurants.

The menu includes quite a few small plates that you could share (but you don’t have to!), burgers, sandwiches, salads, pizza, steak, chicken, fish, and pastas.

We happened to land on Tuesday, which is half-price burger day, any burger on the menu, and there are a lot of combinations to choose from.

They start with a half pound, served with pickle, lettuce, tomato and any other toppings you choose, with side options including steak fries, house made chips, cottage cheese, cole slaw, rice, baked potato,  sweet potato fries, rings, fruit, or soup.  (the last four require a slight up charge, but less than you’re used to seeing!).

I zeroed in on the bacon/bleu burgers with rings. Superb. Tasty meat patty, good grind, substantial bun.

Full bar, occasional live music, sports tvs, video gaming, nooks and crannies for tables.  And like most places, the thing that made the experience was the deft handling by server Jackie F.  She was not only affable and menu knowledgeable, she asked questions above and beyond standard service expectations.

A simple example, we asked for glasses of water, and she asked if we’d like lemons with it. YES! So she brought a small dish. And like that.

So, two burgers, sides, drinks, $14.  I’ll be back. Often.  Thanks, Jackie!

Village Squire Review

 

 
Village Squire Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
Village Squire Review

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Algonquin, IL – East Side Joey’s Pizza

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(From our new Chicago reporter)  East Side Joey’s Pizza, the brainchild of  Mark Drozek, opened in Algonquin in mid 2011.   Drozek brought 30 years of restaurant experience to the new venture, including previously owning Little Joey’s Pizza.   The “East Side” moniker is due to the location on the east side of the river, before you reach downtown.

A full service restaurant, Joey specializes in Chicago thin crust pizza, sourcing his ingredients locally, including using Anichini Brothers Sausage, which IS the sausage that makes Chicago pies taste so great.

Other styles of pizza, including deep dish, pan, and double decker are available, as well as the full menu which features pasta dinners, sandwiches, appetizers, burgers, salads, fried chicken, and even ribs.  Daily specials grace the menu as well.

As for the thin crust pie?  It’s superb.  Cracker-crispy at the outer rim, chewier as you work towards the middle, with ample toppings and plenty of cheese.  I was predisposed to order “double cheese” but was glad that I didn’t, Joey’s piles it on as it is.  The sausage and pepperoni are great, and the tomato sauce is a thick, lightly seasoned puree of fresh tomatoes, and the taste really pops.

Joey’s delivers locally after 4p, or you can dine in.  They have a complete catering menu to serve your private parties or office.

EastSide Joey's Pizza & Catering on Urbanspoon

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