It takes guts to run a legit East Coast-style pizza joint in the home of the deep dish bravado. Hell, opening and running it is the easy part, getting good enough for Chicagoans to sing your praises is what’s impressive and the guys at Coalfire Pizza have done just that.
There’s really too many things to love about this place. There’s a minor detail that is really a very important one; the size of their menu. It’s simple and very deliciously effective.They know what they’re good at and that’s their focus. Pizza, calzones and salads. There’s also a secret room where they keep all of their coal, which was pretty damn cool.
Dave Bonomi and his crew do a great job and that’s why they have earned the honor of being our first ManBQue Approved establishment. Stop by and tell them that ManBQue sent you!
Quality: The ingredients are always fresh and delicious. They get their sausage from Bari Foods which is always a great idea. The crust is perfectly crispy on the outside and wonderfully chewy on the inside.
Atmosphere: Coalfire Pizza reminds of the good pizza joints in Brooklyn except you get treated like your’e family or an old friend. From the owners to the servers, everyone makes you feel welcome which has made everyone of my experiences so enjoyable.
What you MUST try: I know it’s pretty lame and generic to try everything here, but I will say this: you HAVE to try as many pizzas as possible. But obviously, you probably can’t eat as much as me so I’ll tell you the 3 MUST-MUST eat pizzas;
1. ‘Nduja pizza: Nduja is a soft, spreadable sausage that was loosely based on andoullie. You have to try this pizza, nobody else in the city seems to be doing this and Coalfire is rocking it.
2. White, clam pizza: Each bite of this pizza takes me back to New Haven, CT. It’s THAT good. The clams are fresh every day.
3. Mortadella pizza: This pizza comes with in egg in the middle wich makes it seem like they’re cheating. This pizza is just too good and the smokiness really gives the mortadella an amazing flavor.
Price/value: All of the pizzas are 14″ (8 slices) and they start at $14.50 and stay under $20 which is a great price for such a quality pizza.
Coalfire Pizza: 1321 W. Grand Ave., Chicago, IL 312-226-2625
*All photos by Aubrey Boonstra