Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Chicago Fire | Sacramento, CA

Eric Schnetz writes on his company website that Chicago Fire was "born of the desire to enjoy the wonderful flavors and textures unique to Chicago pizza. It started with research trips to Chicago to taste pizza, countless interviews with restaurant owners and employees, endless meetings with specialty food purveyors, as well as a fair amount of corporate espionage (i.e. dumpster diving). I have gone to great lengths to make sure that the recipes, ingredients, equipment, and processes used at Chicago Fire are in keeping with the way great pizza is made in Chicago. Simply put, I love Chicago pizza, and I'm eager to share it with others like you."

And we're certainly glad that he has made it a personal mission to bring a slice of Chicago home to Sacramento. I mean, generally speaking, what's not to love about pizza? It's readily available, it's simple to make, and it’s versatile, meaning that you could put just about anything you like on top of it. Pizza was such a favorite of mine that I even made it a point to convince my parents to hold my eighth birthday party at the neighborhood pizzeria. Yeah, that's me prepping my very own pie with extra sauce, layers of cheese, and mountains of pepperoni.

Now, whether the inspired pies featured at Chicago Fire can hold a candle next to those found at celebrated Chicago-based joints as Pizzeria Uno, Geno's East, or Lou Malnati's is still on the table for debate, especially since we have yet to visit the Windy City. But with all due respect, that could be comparing apples with oranges. For now, we just have the folks at Chicago Fire to turn to, and it certainly appears that they’ve done their homework as well as captured the spirit found behind these legendary establishments.

As the story goes, Eric and his wife, Tami, began experimenting with their own pizza recipes ever since moving to California from Illinois in 1986. Once they had a proven formula in place, they opened their first location in Folsom, California in February 2003. The rest, as they say, is history with the addition of two other locations and scores of diners who populate the restaurants each night.

Their savory pies come in three varieties: A flaky deep dish, a gourmet stuffed, and the crowd favorite, a crispy, wafer-thin crust sliced into squares. No matter the customer’s preference, each order is meticulously assembled with only the freshest ingredients and cooked in a stone decked and very hot pizza oven. Eric and his staff don’t cut corners, and you can taste the TLC that goes into each pie.

And pizza is not the only thing going for the folks at Chicago Fire. Hefty salads, sandwiches, and appetizers also pepper the menu. We've complemented our pizza order during each of our nights out by adding a plate of their uber-savory buffalo wings. Among the best in town, they come on plates of 10, 20 or 50 with your choice of having them served mild, medium, hot, or "set your face on fire." Go ahead, I dare you!!!

One other cool fact about Chicago Fire can be found at its downtown location, where they have found a clever way to take care of those who have come out to enjoy Sacramento's Second Saturday Art Walk. No time to grab a cozy spot in the restaurant? No problem. Their curbside service has brought their fire-baked pizzas to the streets. Kept toasty in steel warming boxes, you can order up a generous slice of their finest whether you come by car, bike, or on foot.

So, there’s no excuse for not making a trip out to Chicago Fire. Eric later wrote, “Chicago Fire is our tribute to Chicago pizza, and I firmly believe that my customers will experience the most intensely researched Chicago pizza outside of Chicago, Illinois.” He’s certainly convinced us.

Chicago Fire
2416 J Street
Sacramento, CA
916.443.0440



Out of the Kitchen Sacramento restaurants

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