Rocco Ranalli’s Cafe and Pizzeria

Yes, we had yet another Living Social coupon to use on a pizza again. This time, it was for Rocco Ranalli’s Cafe & Pizzeria located at 1925 N. Lincoln Ave. in Chicago. I had never been to this restaurant before and I must say, I was very pleasantly surprised to see the HUGE outdoor patio as we walked up to be seated. It was a beautiful day out so naturally we chose to sit outside. Although the hostess threw us for a loop when she started to speak because she had a very dull, deep and spacey voice. I instantly had to mock her to Eric after she seated us (because that’s just what I do). My guess is that she was a DePaul student because she seemed very young to me. I kinda wanted to grab her head and shake it and yell “Wake up, in there!” But I refrained.

Our waitress that came to take our order was just as interesting and I think she was also a DePaul student. She had a valley girl “OMG” type of voice to her. Interesting staff, that’s for sure, and just wait, it gets better! So we ordered a couple of Oberons and decided on a garlic, pepperoni and bacon pan pizza. I hadn’t had a pan pizza in awhile and it just sounded really good. While we waited for our pizza we noticed the table behind ours had a girl that was shadowing another waitress. They were waiting on a table of two guys. The guys had asked what types of dark beers they would recommend and the waitress suggested one beer that she “thought” was a dark beer but wasn’t sure. Then she proceeded to tell them she didn’t know of any other dark beers and would go ask the bartender. (And this was the waitress, not the girl shadowing her, the one that ‘should’ have known the menu in theory). I would think if it was your job to know the types of beers and food items on the menu… you should, well… probably know them. I hope the girl shadowing was taking good notes. Don’t need to know menu – check. 

Our pizza came and I have to say it was pretty tasty. The pieces of pepperoni were the largest slices of pepperoni I had ever seen on a pizza. They were the size of baseballs which was nice because you were pretty guaranteed to get pepperoni with almost every bite. The bacon was really good as well. It had a good smokey taste to it. And we found the best call of the night was to get the garlic as a topping. Some places will load waaaay too much garlic on. But this place had just the right amount on there. It really added a really great flavor. The one thing I felt the pizza needed more of was just a little bit more sauce. I actually decided to ask our waitress for a side of sauce so that I could dip my crust in to it. Why not, right? If Chicago Pizza Girl wants extra sauce, she should get extra sauce! So the waitress said, “Sure” and asked a bus boy to go get some. I waited and waited and no sauce came so I asked a bus boy myself when he came to our table to clear some things away. He seemed to understand what I was asking for and hurried away to go get me some. When he finally came back he brought me a side of mayonnaise. I kinda laughed and said, “Ooooh I’m sorry, I wanted marinara sauce.” And there was another bus boy stand ing next to him who repeated what I said to him and he seemed to then understand what I wanted. Finally, he came back with the right sauce. When the waitress came back to check on us she asked if I got my marinara sauce and I explained what happened. She then decided to become racist as she bashed her own co-worker right in front of us. She thought she was being funny by saying “You know ‘them’, none of ‘them’ speak english very well. I can never tell them apart either, they all look the same.” My mouth about dropped to the floor. I was like “did she actually just say that?” So rude! Quality staff, let me tell ya.

But enough about the stellar staff, I did enjoy the pizza. And the atmosphere was pretty nice. I would give this pizza a 3.5 star rating. At least you will probably be in for some interesting entertainment from the staff while eating your pizza if you check this place out. But it’s not the pizza’s fault. Don’t blame the pizza!

Rocco Ranalli's pizza

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Panino’s Pizza in Lakeview

I have been ordering Panino’s pizza for about a year and a half now. But I had yet to actually sit down and eat inside the restaurant. Thursday night I didn’t feel like cooking and of course.. had the urge for pizza, so I said “What the hell, let’s go to Panino’s!” It’s located at 3702 N. Broadway, Chicago, IL 60613.

The restaurant itself had a nice atmosphere. For some reason I was very entertained by the little mini salt and pepper shakers on our table because they were just too cute. It kind of made me feel like a giant. First things first, we ordered drinks. I was excited to see a wine menu on the table where every bottle of wine listed on there was only $15. And lucky for me, I happen to love wine. We ordered a bottle of 2008 Santa Ana Cabernet Sauvignon and I have to say, it was REALLY good. The waiter brought over bread for the table and to my surprise, it came with a little bottle of olive oil for dipping and a small bowl of parmesan cheese. Just the way I like to eat my bread. Makes sense to me, but not all Italian or pizza places do that so I often have to ask for them to bring it. They had some really good foccacia bread included in the bread basket that tasted like it had just came out of the oven.

Bread and Wine

On to the pizza.. We ordered a medium sized pan pizza with sausage, bacon, and pepperoni on it. Now granted I have had Panino’s pizza delivered several times before, but I was very excited to try their pizza fresh out of the oven in their restaurant for the first time. And when the pizza came, I enjoyed every bite! For some reason, the size of this pan pizza seemed so much larger than when we usually get it. I even looked over at the table next to our’s and our pizza looked gigantic compared to their’s. Oh well, we had lots of leftovers for dinner the next night, which is always nice.  There was lots and lots of cheese covering the pizza and it oooozed in a good ‘ole ooey, gooey fashion like a pizza should when you pull a slice away from the pan. Love that! I love the sauce they use too. It wasn’t too sweet and had a distinct tomato taste to it. They also put a good amount of sauce on the pizza. I like when there’s lots of sauce on a thicker pizza to compensate for the extra dough. Otherwise I feel like all you taste is the dough. The crust had a great flakey, crispiness to it that seemed very light and airy too. Seems like they had the cooking tempurature just right on this pizza.

Panino's Pizza photo

So I have to say, I reheated this pizza the next day for dinner and was pretty happy with it. I know a lot of people love their leftover pizza cold, but I always like to reheat mine. I really wanted to reheat the pizza in the oven, but I was looking forward to it so much that I just quickly reheated it in the microwave. The cheese melted evenly and all the flavors melded together wonderfully. All in all, I would give this pizza a solid 4 rating! This is one of my favorite pizza places to order from in Chicago and I can now say it is even better getting it fresh in the restaurant if you get the chance!

Panino's Pizza Slice