A revered pizza chain ( 42 locations throughout the nation ) that is known all over the South Side of Chicago and the southern suburbs is making its initial foray into the North Sideand the heart of Cubs country.
Aurelio's Pizza ( 3801 N. Clark St.; www.aureliospizza.com/ ) is now in Wrigleyville, and gregarious owner Joe Aurelio ( who regaled my friend and me with tales about meeting people such as Muhammad Ali ) has made it known that he welcomes North Sidersdown to the restroom signs that replicate the Wrigley Field scoreboard. ( By the way, carryout is available, with delivery purported to happen soon. ) The chain originated in Homewood, Illinois, in 1959, and is now in states such as Florida, Georgia, Nevada and ( of course ) Illinois.
And as for the menu, it's extensive and full of tempting items. ( Although there are a few healthful options, odds are that diners are eating items that a bit more indulgent. ) Appetizers include casual favorites such as breaded cheese sticks that come with marinara, boneless wings ( that could be a tad spicy for some people ), chicken tenders, jalapeno poppers and more. There are also various salad varieties, including spinach, citrus and buffalo chicken.
However, Aurelio's is known for its pizzasand, boy, are they something else. There are the knockout thin-crust, signature, stuffed and thick-crust categories, complete with dozens of available toppings. My friend and I ordered the 18-inch fiesta pizzaand were able to divide our toppings into quarters ( sausage, pepperoni, spinach and Hawaiian ). The freshness of the ingredients made a big difference, and provided an obvious answer as to why Aurelio's has so many regulars. ( Even though it had just been open a week when we went there, there were already repeat visitors, and locals will probably flock there even in the Cubs off-season. )
But in addition to pizzas, Aurelio's has pasta and sandwich options. Who wouldn't be in the mood for a homemade meatball sandwich dripping in red sauce, or an Italian beef sandwich with all the right toppings? As for pasta, the selections include mostaccioli, fettucini and jumbo tortellini and otherseverything to make sure you don't leave hungry.
And don't forget dessert! My friend and I sampled a perfectly made cannoli, and I even became a big fan of spumoni ( which had previously generated "meh" reactions from me ).
As previously mentioned, Aurelio's is dipping its toe into the North Side. In the sink-or-swim world of restaurants, I'm betting that this spot will excel.
Note: Restaurant profiles/events are based on invitations arranged from restaurants and/or firms.