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Chowdown Showdown: Jump Into the Patch Pizza Party

We wanted to know just whose slices are the nicest, so Patch sent the biggest pizza fan we know on a mission to taste one each from Orland Park, Tinley Park and Oak Forest.

This week's grub was pizza, which happens to be my favorite food on earth. For this showdown I ordered cheese and sausage pizza and to ensure uniformity I went to pick the pies up at each place. Our competitors were in Oak Forest, Little Joe's in Tinley Park, and Italian Villa in Orland Park.

BEGGARS PIZZA

With 18 locations in the Chicagoland area, I was already more than familiar with Beggars Pizza and their slogan "We lay it on thick." But to be fair to all contestants, I went in to judge the pizza that night and not on reputation. In this case, it wasn't their best effort. The sausage was good and the crust was crisp around the edges. However the cheese, normally their strong suit, was actually a bit too greasy this time. It almost overwhelmed the rest of the ingredients and was very heavy in my stomach. I do like their sauce, though, so that helped to save this particular pizza. 

Thumbs up: Overall flavor was decent.
Thumbs down:
The greasy cheese got to me.

LITTLE JOE'S

I hadn't actually heard of this place until recently, and they have locations in Tinley and New Lenox. I went to pick up the pizza and the restaurant is a bit of a hole-in-the-wall, which in my experience means good food. When I got home I could tell it was going to be good just looking at it—it was perfectly cooked. I love it when they're a little well-done, and the sauce was salty with a little spice. With a great crust to boot, I was really happy with the pie.

Thumbs up: Awesome flavor, great sauce.
Thumbs Down:
If I had to say, maybe needed a tiny bit more sauce.

ITALIAN VILLA

Our third contestant is also off the beaten path, just a bit off LaGrange Road in Orland. It's been around for awhile and I've heard others rave about it, but I'd never tried it. As I have eaten thousands of pizzas in my life, I had a feeling it was more of a Sicilian-style pizza just looking at it. It definitely had that sweeter sauce, cracker crust, and a sprinkling of oregano over the top. Their offering was definitely different than the others, but in a good way. On the flip side, the sausage didn't add much zing to the pizza. And again, I do prefer my pizza a little well-done, and this one was certainly not. The cheese came up a little rubbery as a result. 

Thumbs up: Decent pie with a good cracker crust.
Thumbs down: Though I still enjoy this style, I usually prefer some spice to my sauce.

And the Superb Slice Award Goes To....

In my experience as a life-long pizza lover, I definitely enjoy all kinds of pizza and rarely would turn down a slice. So when charged with picking between a few it's tough because I can usually find something good about each one because, well, it's my favorite food. That being said, Little Joe's walks away with this week's Chowdown crown. 

Lauren Traut July 18, 2011 at 04:50 PM
That's interesting, Carolyn! We've decided to do a separate Chowdown on deep dish, so we'll have to keep this in mind!
Nabeha Zegar July 18, 2011 at 06:49 PM
Little Joe's has been a family favorite for years. Best thin crust around, hands down.
Joe Fletcher July 19, 2011 at 12:24 AM
My all-time favorite pizza is Rosangela's out in Evergreen Park. Little Joe's kinda reminded me of that so I think that helped!
Tim Juska July 19, 2011 at 04:48 AM
I knew that was Beggars! It is one of my absolute favorites!
Lisa Gries August 22, 2011 at 06:26 PM
Guardi's Pizza in Tinley Park!

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