In too deep-dish
Windy City Pizzeria6135 Lakeside Dr., #101
Reno, NV 89511
My grandfather had one strictly enforced food rule: Take all you want, but eat all you take. I have eyes bigger than my stomach, and have broken this rule time and again. My wife’s reproachful glare screams, “You’re not really going to eat all that!” Nine times out of 10, I’m a gold-star member of the clean-plate club, but not on a recent Saturday night at Windy City Pizzeria.
My wife, Kat, and I walked in and spent a long time enjoying the menu featuring humorously-named pizzas like the “Al Capone—The Infamous Italian” and “Baby Face Nelson—Hawaiian.” Windy City Pizzeria doesn’t really concern itself too much with gourmet pizza, focusing instead on Chicago-style pizza. Raised in California, I’m used to barbecue chicken and Alfredo sauce creations, but I can’t remember ever having Chicago-style, deep-dish pizza before.
Windy City Pizzeria touts its fresh crusts, fresh ingredients and a sweet and chunky sauce available on their deep-dish pizzas. The deep-dish pizzas take about 35 minutes to bake and are only available for dine-in. Kat and I ordered a small thin crust with cheese ($9.95) and a small deep dish “Elliot Ness—Hot on the Trail” ($16.95), which comes with sausage, pepperoni, mushrooms and bell peppers. We ate in a dining space that’s set up for live music shows, and musicians were playing a fiddle and acoustic guitar. Everything, from the funky murals covering the walls to the acoustic music, made for a relaxing dining experience.
Our waitress promptly brought us out the cheese pizza. Being a glutton, I ate almost the whole thing. It was a very simple, but tasty pizza with a crunchy crust and light covering of sauce and cheese. Before the deep-dish arrived, I asked our server why it was only available for dine-in. Her smirk said, “You just wait and see.” Shortly after, she brought out a silver dish, which housed the most substantial pizza I have ever seen—better suited to a pan than a cardboard box.
Chicago natives have, from my description, confirmed the authenticity of this pizza. Its foundation is a thick, bready crust running along the bottom and up the sides of the pan, topped with a thin layer of cheese and then the toppings. The whole thing gets smothered in a sweet tomato sauce. After gorging on the cheese pizza, I had little room left for this one.
While a commanding force, the Elliot Ness wasn’t a savory, meat-laden affair. I was thrown off by the sheer amount of sauce, its sweetness, and all the chunky tomatoes, which, to be fair, exactly matched the menu description. Kat and I ate a piece each and then wondered if a take-home box would be possible. It was, and our server encouraged us to reheat it in the oven the next day, claiming it would taste even better. I did, and she was right. The sweetness mellowed, and I was able to cut through the crust much easier with a steak knife than a Windy City Pizzeria table knife.
We left as the musicians were taking requests from the audience. I picked up my pizza—careful to lift with the legs and not with the back—and walked out as the musicians wrapped up the John Prine song “Angel from Montgomery.” My wife and I then headed to the top of Windy Hill, where we were upset to find Reno’s best make-out spot locked up for the evening.