Wednesday, June 17, 2009

From the Chicago Pizza Project Archive: Exchequer Pub

The Joint: Exchequer Restaurant & Pub

The Dish: For many Loop office workers, the question of where to grab a pizza during or after the workday is not an easy one. While there are many pizza joints downtown, most are franchise operations and don't offer top-flight pies. If you're looking for an original, family-owned joint, there are not many options, but there are a couple. One of these spots is the Exchequer Restaurant & Pub on Wabash.

Walking into Exchequer with fourteen fellow piehounds, it was clear that the place has been around for a good while and, judging from the crowds in the bar and the three dining areas, it looked like the folks at Exchequer must be pretty good at what they do. While I did not look closely at the entire menu, it looks like Exchequer has pretty much everything, but that they focus on their ribs and pizza. As for the pizza, let's get to it.

Exchequer offers three styles of pizza delineated by crust type. The first style, and the style that the menu states Exchequer is famous for, is pan pizza. In addition to its pan pizza, Exchequer offers what it refers to as "thin crust" and "crispy crust."

While I've got a bias for thin crust pizza, as a group we determined that we had to try Exchequer's pan pizza to find out if it truly deserves its "famous" tag. For our group of 15, we ordered 2 large pan pizzas, 2 large thin crust pizzas and 2 large crispy crust pizzas. This order was just about right for our 15 despite the menu. (I stress our, because the piehounds at Exchequer unapologetically chow pizza at a rate and volume that many would not believe until they see it).

As for Exchequer's pizzas, I can report that, overall, I thought that they were above average. To start things off I had one piece of Exchequer's famous pan pizza and thought that is was pretty well-balanced in terms of crust, cheese and toppings but was really nothing spectacular. After this, I focused in on the thin crust and crispy crust pizzas that we ordered. I thought that the crust, sauce and toppings on the thin pizzas were all better than what you'll get in most pizza joints around town. In particular I thought that the Meat-Eaters thin crust pizza was very good and was the best pizza we ordered on our visit and that the canadian bacon was a particularly tasty topping. I'm not really sure if there's much of a difference between the thin crust and crispy crust styles, but, as I thought the thin pizzas were all pretty good and very similar, I suppose there's not much to complain about. Exchequer could improve their thin pizzas if they ladled a bit more sauce around, especially toward the edges of the pizza as a couple edge pieces I ate were a bit dry. On the whole, I thought Exchequer's thin pizzas were good and I will surely be back for a pizza or two in the future.

Chicago Pizza Project rating: 2.5 greasy thumbs up (out of 4)

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