Chicago Cafe earned most votes for best pizza

Chicago Cafe serves a Pesto Chicken pizza. The restaurant received the most student votes for their popular pizza.

I had always heard the pizza was too saucy and too cheesy, but 69 percent of the votes for best pizza went to Chicago Cafe, so I went to find out more about the pies.

This was not my first time at the tiny location next to Wildwood Cafe. I walked into a small seating area, a chalkboard with a drawing of 2-D from Gorillaz and a smiling face behind the counter — and I can attest this is the way it usually is.

Any time you walk into Chicago Café, you will see an interesting character on the blackboard, which local artist Channing Morrow draws, adding a phrase about hot dogs. For this week’s Gorillaz-themed drawing, I read, “I’m not happy or feeling glad unless I’ve got hot dogs in a bag.” The drawings certainly intrigue you as you grab a menu and explore the items.

Ironically, these pizzas aren’t Chicago’s signature deep dish, but closer to New York-style thin crust for one (9”) or one hungry (12”).

For this trip, I ordered the Hawaiian, complete with pineapple, chicken, mozzarella and green bell peppers. I sat and read local news as the packed location thrived on a Friday night at 10 p.m.

The pizza was, as my friends warned me, smothered in cheese, but to me that is a benefit, not a deterrent. As someone with an aversion to pizza sauce, I did not find the pizza too saucy, and the flavor combination was perfection. Each bite had a sample of the toppings, and the size was perfect to feel full.

The real test of this pizza was the morning-after test: I had to refrigerate it and eat it for breakfast the next day, naturally.

I ordered a Pesto Chicken, complete with a basil pesto sauce with chicken, mozzarella and extra basil, to-go.

The next morning, I enjoyed the pizza, again, with plenty of cheese and a fair amount of sauce. The edges were a little burned, which was not ideal for cold pizza. However, the basil appeased me long enough to forget the fiery misdeed.

Chicago Cafe is not my personal favorite local pizza maker. But with my favorite bar next door, employees I feel well-acquainted with and hours ideal for night owls needing a snack, it is by far better than any other late-night alternatives.

To see the rest of the results for the Students’ Choice section, check out the April 14 issue of The Flor-Ala.