Monday, January 18, 2010

Out of Town: Chicago Deep Dish Done Right, Papa Del's!

From time to time I am going to hit an out of town pizza joint and I'll throw the review down right here on I'll try to keep the out of town stuff as Springfield-centric as possible. In this case I made a trip about 80 miles due east from The 'Patch to Champaign-Urbana for an Illini basketball game and we decided to have pizza afterwards.
For those who are from the C-U area or former students from that area the choice of Papa Del's is the obvious "no-brainer" when getting pizza in that general area. Here's how it went down.

Where they're located:
206 E. Green St.
Champaign, IL 61820

Call Em: (217)-359-7700

The Pizza(s):

Large Sicilian deep dish sausage, pepperoni, mushroom.
Large Super stuffed sausage, mushroom and black olive.

The Crust: THICK

The Dish: We arrived at Papa Del's Green street location after taking in an Illini win over Iowa on Super Bowl Sunday. Since it was Super Bowl Sunday we were lucky enough to walk right in and sit down which doesn't happen often at this pace. Our waitress was not very good and it was obvious she had somewhere else she would have rather been. But, she brought cold beeer and got our order in. Please be ready to wait...just remember that the wait is worth it. The Sicilian deep dish and the Super stuffed pizza both take a full hour to bake so take advantage of Papa Del's selection of adult beverages. I went with a Dos Equis Amber, another in our party had a Shock Top Winter Ale, and the rest had soft drinks all around.
When the pizza arrived we were more than ready. I think the long wait adds a little to the experience because the anticipation of eating it really gets your mouth watering.
The pizza looks like a typical Chicago style deep deesh pizza with the thick, crisp crust, with the "toppings" and cheese hidden beneath a layer of red pizza sauce. There was a seasoning spread over the pizza which takes away from the look of it a little. Kinda looks like someone sprinkled some oregano over the top of it.
Let's talk sauce. Their sauce is one of Papa Del's best attributes. It's tangy and thick and has a very unique flavor that is different than anything I've had before. The cheese is gooey and flavorful meshes so well with that tangy sauce. The part of this pizza that stood out head and shoulders above everything else was the sausage. This pizza had chunks of sausage almost as big as golf balls and they were really, really good. The sausage had a full spicy flavor that really kicks some tail. I'm not sure there's any other way to describe it. This pizza is just really good.
The Super stuffed pizza has all the great attributes as the Sicilian deep dish except it includes an extra layer of cheese inside the crust.

I'm just gonna lay it out there. This pizza is every bit as good as Giordano's or Uno's out of Chicago. If you want a very good deep dish pizza and your in the great dominion south of Interstate 80, you know what Chicagoans refer to as "Southern Illinois" Papa Del's is the place to go. Better yet... call ahead and get the carry out and beat the crowd. Or just come in on Super Bowl Sunday.

SPP Ranking: 9.1

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