How 'Bout Them Knockers: Chicago Rick's

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Each week in 'Knockers' we order from a different delivery restaurant, assessing their efficiency and keeping a running score.

Chicago Rick's
3628 Frankford

Promised delivery time: 45 minutes
Actual delivery time: 43 minutes

Level of phone honesty that would have given Dick Cheney a heart attack: 50
Interest rate on loan necessary to buy a fully loaded pizza: 7.65
Having to take out loan to buy pizza: -21
One size only for Chicago style crust: -6
No-fuss delivery: 27
Better pizza than last time I ordered but nothing at all like the picture: 21

Total Score: 78.65
(Chicago Rick's failed to reach the top ten)

Top Ten

See complete 2009 standings here

Chicago, New York, Napoli...so long as it doesn't come from Domino's I'm happy with any style. They all can carry pepperoni, Italian sausage, Canadian bacon or other pizza essentials.

The important thing for me on a Saturday--or was it Sunday? I'm a little fuzzy on details--was Chicago Rick's "20 to Life" pie, a supposed monster packed with all those cured meats and more for a mere $13.99. Unless, that is, you order it Chicago style.

Apparently the act of assembling and baking a Chicago pizza at Chicago Rock's is an arduous, highly specialized task demanding a team of pampered six-figure cooks who arrive in Maseratis and work with Lalique crystal mixing bowls, platinum ovens created for the North Dallas establishment by Viking before the designers of said ovens died in a tragic county fair incident. The wood to fire those things is shipped from a valley in the Swiss Alps, where even the loss of one tree dramatically increases the threat of a deadly avalanche.

Pretty sure that's how it happens. The same $13.99 pizza, after all, jumps to over $33 when ordered Chicago style.

Fortunately, their guy interrupted my phone order to tell me this. When I thought about it, the banks were closed--it was Sunday, after all--and I'm pretty sure they'd burst into one of those haughty 'we got bailout bonus money to spend, so stop bothering us' banker laughs if I asked for a loan to buy anything, much less a pizza. In fact, the guy was downright helpful. And he seemed plenty eager to get through the order process as fast as possible. Some may consider that rude, but my purpose when ordering food does not involve unnecessary phone chats.

Yeah--I had to settle for something less than 20 to Life. But I ordered the necessities.

Now, true Chicago pizzas are massive, belt buckle popping dishes, overloaded with sauce and cheese, a crust piled up at the edges and molded into hot olive oil for a rich, fried base. The one arriving at my door was a little different: a buttery, high rimmed flatbread, cracker crisp on the bottom but with a thin chewy layer, as well. The toppings were sparse, though nicely balanced.

All wrong? Well, yes...except there is a thin crust Chicago pie preferred by many Chi-CAH-goans during the summer months (although this wimpier version is not, as far as I remember, prepared with a tall edge).

Well, I'm forgiving them somewhat, at least on this occasion. They beat deadline, saved me from spending a fortune on hangover relief and they didn't ask for a rubbing of my card at the door. Had I craved Gino's, I'd be pissed as hell. But it was a good thin crust with enough bacon, pepperoni and other food pyramid standards to keep me alive.

Besides, I could put away the knife and fork.

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