Homeslice pays homage to the Beaver State and its pizza

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Devoid of lumberjacks
OK, the gimmick: Homeslice is a log-cabin-style pizza joint. What that means is there's enough well-lacquered Douglas fir crammed into the Lincoln Park spot to warrant real concern over the displaced squirrel population that formerly roamed the trees' branches. But before you roll your eyes because who the hell associates wearing turtlenecks and warming up next to a fire with huffing down slices, let me say that the decor at Homeslice is strangely charming and homey (albeit with a dash of clubby lighting), and the pizza is absolutely legit—which may or may not influence my take on the space, whatever. The owners are Oregon transplants, the wood was hauled in from there, and the pizza—featuring an airy crust dusted with cornmeal and loaded with flavorful toppings—is inspired by the pies of the Pacific northwest.

Our visit began with the ordering of cans of beer and the receiving of free cozies with the restaurant's precious logo attached—an Oregon pine embedded in a triangular slice, naturally—which immediately made us feel, ahem, cozy, and, come on . . . free shit. The first course was a salad loaded with tender spinach, candied walnuts, small chunks of grapefruit, and a tangy, sweet raspberry vinaigrette. Salads are salads, I know, but not only was this one easily shared among three people, it was just six bucks—Homeslice's menu is cheap across the board, which should appeal to the DePaul crowd that's likely to frequent the spot. We followed the salad with an order of bread sticks accompanied by a generous portion of marinara with goat cheese, and while the latter overpowered the marinara more than I liked, that means I wish there'd been less cheese, which is a pretty ludicrous thing about which to gripe.

Homeslice's main attractions, though, are the pies—and they're great. The options are abundant: the categories "meats," "bird," and "meat free" each offer around ten different choices. I had the "Ava-Lance," a veg-happy platter of kalamata olives, artichoke hearts, sun-dried tomatoes, and roasted garlic with a white olive-oil-and-garlic sauce and three cheeses. Normally a slice with so many toppings is destined to become a soggy mess, but the crisp, light seemingly hand-tossed crust held its form impressively. The meat eaters at the table were just as impressed, the collective response a pleasantly surprised "This is supergood."

On walking into the place, it's clear a lot of thought was given to Homeslice's design and construction, from the unusual awning of stumps that hangs over the modest bar to the bottles of sriracha on the tables. And luckily, the menu doesn't take a backseat to the gimmick. I have one minor quibble, however: the wooden tabletops are so lacquered that it occasionally requires quick reflexes to prevent your dishes from sliding right off into your lap. They probably just need to get broken in a bit—which deserves to happen.

Ava-Lance front and center, Smoke Show in the back
  • Kevin Warwick
  • "Ava-Lance" front and center, "Smoke Show" in the back

Homeslice, 938 W. Webster, 312-789-4600, homeslicechicago.com

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