This Is the Best Frozen Pizza to Come out of Chicago (No, It’s Not Deep-Dish)
Chicago may be famous for deep-dish, but its lesser-known pizza cousin — the tavern-style pie — has long been popular in the city and its surrounding areas. When I was growing up in southeast Wisconsin, this thin-crust delicacy was a favorite at many local spots, typically cut into squares (making it easier to share with your bar buddies, of course). More importantly, it’s the pizza style that inspired the best frozen pizza in the game — the one I’ve loved since my chilly, cheese-fueled childhood: Home Run Inn.
My siblings and I would ask — okay, beg — for this “splurgy” frozen pizza on special occasions or when we had a babysitter for the night, or really whenever we stepped foot in the grocery store. (Sorry, Mom.) When I moved to Oregon, I was thrilled to find this slice of home in the freezer section at my local Whole Foods. And you’d better believe I left that day with multiple boxes in my bag. I make special runs to the store just for this pizza.
What’s So Great About Home Run Inn Classic Pizza?
Home Run Inn pizza began as a family-owned tavern on the South Side of Chicago in 1923. More than two decades later, it started making pizzas and has been doing so ever since. (If you happen to be in Illinois, the original location was renovated and remains open today, along with several other locations.)
The pizzas are made with simple ingredients and no preservatives; I don’t mean to be dramatic when I say that you can taste that legacy and quality in every bite. The crust is buttery and flaky, the proportion of sauce is spot on, and the cheese … you can trust the Midwesterners to make a pizza that never skimps on cheese or flavor. It’s indulgent in a way most frozen pizzas seem to fall short on.
I tend to grab the Sausage & Uncured Pepperoni Classic Pizza because my local Whole Foods always has it in stock (and it’s a classic pizza combo, with tastier-than-normal toppings). I’ve also tried every variety — Cheese, Four Cheese, Deluxe, Classic Pepperoni, and more — and none have disappointed. Home Run Inn is a masterclass in frozen pizza.
What’s the Best Way to Serve Home Run Inn Classic Pizza?
When preparing this frozen pizza, I opt for the longer end of the suggested cook time — I love getting extra-crispy cheese on top. These pizzas are filling, so unless I’m sharing with others the leftovers tend to make for a lovely breakfast the next morning. If you’re looking to serve your pizza with something, an inspired salad or some fresh veggies seem fitting, although if you want to truly live like the Midwesterners, perhaps the more appropriate accompaniment is a cheap, cold beer.
Where I live, Home Run Inn’s frozen pizzas are typically $11, which I can imagine may scare people off if they’ve never tried it before. In certain parts of the country, you can find it for less than $10, and even smaller, single-serving pizzas that are less than $5. Frankly, for me, the double-digit price is worth every penny.
Buy: Home Run Inn Sausage & Uncured Pepperoni Classic Pizza, $9.19 for 31 ounces at Instacart
What’s your favorite frozen pizza to buy at the grocery store? Sound off in the comments.