Hours: Lunch, dinner: seven days
Open late: Saturday till 3, other nights till 2
West Town spot from the guys behind the Fifty/50, featuring Quad Cities-style pizza, hand-tossed and cut into rectangular slices.
At Roots, partners Scott Weiner and Greg Mohr, the latter a Rock Island native, have taken the unpredictable gamble that Chicagoans will develop an appreciation for the pizza of the Quad Cities, a land where they don't shriek if you want your pie sprinkled with sauerkraut, covered with an inch of spaghetti, or buried in Doritos, iceberg lettuce, and taco sauce. But what Quad Cities pizza is more respectably known for—and what makes those taco pies possible—is its dough, which is incorporated with malt, resulting in a puffy lip and crispy epidermis that clads an airy layer of bread. That crust is a big part of the reason—against all expectations—I really like the taco pie, which is served with foil packets of Heinz taco sauce. I liked even better the sausage, first covered in finely ground pork and then blanketed in just barely melted mozzarella, all atop a minimally applied sweetish sauce and scissored into rectangular strips. The pizzas, however, are only a part of a broad menu of house-made sausages, pastas, sandwiches, and garbage salads—like the one named for Moline native and First Ward alderman Proco Joe Moreno (romaine and red lettuce, corn, red peppers, diced radish, and feta, with a bracing mint vinaigrette). You can build your own too, and I'm going to go ahead and say that some of the most appealing options on this menu are not the pizzas but these deep, seemingly endless bowls. Overall this big, breezy wraparound barroom with spacious booths and a long midwestern beer list is a pretty comfortable place to get a peek at how they do pizza at the Iowa-Illinois border—there's a rear dining room where you can watch the chefs toss your pie before slinging it into a multitiered rotating pizza oven. Read the full review >>
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