Chicago: Choose Thin Crust at Suparossa
Serious Eats Chicago contributor Daniel Zemans checks in with another piece of intel on the Windy City pizza scene. --The Mgmt.
4256 N. Central Avenue, Chicago, IL 60634 (map); 773-736-5828; suparossawoodridge.com
Pizza Style: Stuffed and Chicago thin crust
The Skinny: Skip the stuffed pizza and order a sausage-topped thin crust pie.
Price: 12" stuffed vegetarian pizza is $18.95; 12" thin crust with sausage is $11.20
At its coldest, Naples rarely gets below 40 degrees. In balmy weather like that, a flimsy little pizza is perfectly acceptable. But on Saturday, the wind chill in Chicago was in single digits and I needed pizza that was more weather appropriate. I searched for satisfaction at Suparossa in the form of a stuffed pizza that weighed in at 5.7 pounds. I also got a thin crust pizza, but that was largely for research purposes only.
See, as far as I can tell, Suparossa is the oldest Chicago-area purveyor of stuffed pizza still operating under its original ownership. It started off as a Nancy's franchise but (as I explained in my Nancy's review last year), after a business dispute escalated into violence, the companies went their separate ways. Eating at Suparossa makes it clear that more than just the business relationship was severed; the pizzas are significantly different.
The sauce at Suparossa is quite sweet, which is surprising given that it is located on the far north side of the city (hypersweet sauces are mostly a South Side phenomenon, for example, at Aurelio's.) The sauce was thick and rich, but lacking bright tomato tang.
The spinach and mushrooms on the stuffed pizza weren't enough to stand up to copious quantities of sweet sauce. Even the multiple pounds of cheese couldn't balance it out. The crust had a pleasant texture and a bit of extra crispness, but it was not enough to save this pie.
The thin crust pizza that I ordered as an afterthought actually stole the show. The excellent housemade sausage topping was absolutely loaded with fennel. It was also a question of balance; on the thin crust pie, the sweet sauce was more sparingly applied, and there was enough pungent sausage to bring the flavors into balance.
At many Chicago thin crust pizzerias, the crust is a machine-rolled afterthought. I'm not going to tell you the crust at Suparossa is amazing, but it's definitely above average for the style. The end crust is incredibly crisp, complementing the flavorful and chewy sausage.
The stuffed pizza at Suparossa is unquestionably hefty enough to get a large family through a cold Chicago day, but only fans of super-sweet sauce will really be pleased. Suparossa's thin crust pizza, on the other, hand, allows for some balance—on a cold day, maybe you should just order two.