Staying on the northwest side of Chicago on a recent trip there, I was looking for a new place to go in the Edison Park neighborhood. I found a place that looked sort of interesting - Moretti's Ristorante and Pizzeria. I didn't know much about it, but it looked inviting enough to give it a try.
It turns out that Moretti's is a local chain consisting of seven locations primarily in the far north and west suburbs of Chicago. The Edison Park location is the only one that is actually in the city limits of Chicago. But they are part of an empire called the Ala Carte Entertainment group headed by entrepreneur Fred Hoffman.
Hoffman was a self-made man who made up his mind when he was 17 years old that he would either make it or break it in the business world by the time he was 25. In his early 20's, Hoffman opened The Snuggery - quite possibly the first sports pub and eatery in Chicago. By the time he was 27, he was a millionaire and working on other projects. He started up Ala Carte Entertainment to oversee Snuggery locations as well as a number of night clubs that he owned.
Hoffman eventually closed his original Snuggery in downtown Chicago and converted the Snuggery in Edison Park to a Moretti's specializing in thin crust and deep dish pizza, as well as Italian entrees. Today, Hoffman still heads Ala Carte Entertainment with help from his son, Mark. (There are still three Snuggery locations mainly in the western and far northern suburbs of Chicago.)
The Moretti's in Edison Park is located on Olmsted Ave. next to the Metra rail station, a block off of Northwest Highway. (see map) I found a parking spot in the parking lot across the street and went inside. Just inside the door is the main bar area - a large rectangular bar with an old world design. Tables and booths are in the main area, as well.
Moretti's is a rather large place with another bar in the room off to the side. There were a couple other dining areas off the main bar area and there was an outdoor patio for summertime eating. Although I didn't see the second floor, I'm guessing that there's ample space up there for banquets and private parties.
I ended up sitting at the main bar simultaneously watching baseball and a Stanley Cup play-off hockey match they had on the large number of flat panel televisions throughout the place. One of the bartenders, Madison, came over to greet me and to drop off a menu. She asked me what I wanted to drink and I saw that they had Sam Adams on tap so I got one of those.
In the mood for pizza, I took a quick gander to see what else Moretti's had to offer. In addition to their thin crust and deep dish pizzas, they had a number of Italian appetizers, soups and salads, sandwiches, wraps, and burgers, as well as a number of pasta entrees and Italian specialties such as chicken marsala, baked ziti, eggplant parmesan, and gnocchi bolognese. They also had ribs, steaks, seafood and gluten-free items on the menu. There was a little bit of everything once again raising my fears that while they probably do everything well, they don't do everything great.
Getting back to the pizza, I ended up ordering my standard Italian sausage, pepperoni and mushroom with the thin crust. Their smallest thin crust pizza size is 12" so I knew that I'd be taking some back to the hotel with me for snacks or breakfast at some point.
The pizza featured large slices of pepperoni on top of the mozzarella cheese that hid the chunky Italian sausage and fresh mushroom slices they use at Moretti's. The sauce had a nice tangy and sweet taste that went well with the spicy and salty pepperoni and the somewhat spicy Italian sausage. It was cut into party squares and I was able to eat all but about four or five slices of the pizza. I took the rest with me. Quite actually, I thought it tasted better heated up the next evening when I got back to the hotel and had a couple pieces as a snack.
While it wasn't the best thin crust pizza I've had in the Chicago area, the pizza I had at Moretti's was good enough that I wouldn't have any problem going back - or to any of the other Moretti's locations, for that matter. I was happy enough with the pizza, Madison did a fine job making sure that I was taken care of, and there were enough televisions that I could watch a couple baseball games and a hockey match all at the same times. They've got a good formula at Moretti's and if you don't know what you are hungry for, you could probably figure out something to get when you go there.