I'm really beginning to like staying in Elmhurst, IL when I go into Chicago. The town is pretty nice, there's a ton of good places to eat within a 15 minute drive and it's centrally located in the Chicagoland area. I was looking for something new to try one evening recently and I ended up at the Pizza Palace in downtown Elmhurst.
The Pizza Palace is far from new - it's been around since 1955 when Ed Conway bought an existing pizza place on Division Street in Chicago and moved it out to its present location in suburban Elmhurst (see map). The decor of the place is dated, but there's certainly nothing bad about that. I sort of like the "old time" places that have some charm and character.
There's a bar area with booths as you walk in and a main dining room attached to the side of the bar area. On the walls of the bar are old pictures of Elmhurst from the 50's and 60's, including a picture of the original Pizza Palace sign and frontage. And each booth has an old time juke box controller with music filled from back in the 50's and 60's. I don't know if it worked or not, but it was fun to flip through the selection of songs.
I got a menu from the waitress/bartender and ordered up an Old Style beer. In addition to pizza, Pizza Palace also serves up appetizers, salads, sandwiches and main entrees of pasta, steaks, chops and seafood. I was in the mood for a pizza that evening and they offer their original thin crust along with a pan pizza and a stuffed pizza. I almost ordered up a pan pizza since I hadn't had one for a while, but I just got a 10" thin crust with the good ol' standbys of Italian sausage, pepperoni and mushroom.
After I gave the waitress my order, a large group of people who I noticed were over at the rather large hobby store next door - Al's Hobby Shop - came over for dinner. I'm guessing it was some sort of hobby enthusiast group in for a meeting. Since the waitress waiting on me was the only waitress for the whole place, my beer ran dry and I didn't get a re-fill for quite some time.
Also, they had a hockey game up on the television behind the bar when I first came in. The waitress/bartender turned it to a movie. There were two other couples seated in the booths on either side of me. At one point, the "F" word was very loudly emitted on the television thoroughly offending a lady in one of the booths. It wasn't long before her and her male companion were up and walking out the door. I thought it was rather strange to have a movie like that up on the screen in what a lot of people would call a "family" restaurant.
In any event, I got my pizza about 20 minutes after I ordered. It actually looked larger than 10" in diameter. It had thin crust cut into 16 square or triangular pieces. It was topped with the thick sausage chunks and large pieces of pepperoni and fresh mushrooms. The cheese looked good, as did the Italian seasonings they sprinkled on top.
And the pizza was, well... It was OK. It wasn't outstanding, it wasn't great, but it certainly wasn't bad. To me, the taste was sort of dull and lifeless. The crust wasn't crispy crunchy, but it wasn't grease soaked, either. Compared to pizzas I've had in the Quad Cities, it would smoke a lot of those. But for the Chicago area, it was serviceable, at best.
I can see why the place has been in business for over 50 years. The pizza is good, but not outstanding. Roberto's and Armand's in Elmhurst have much better pizzas. I'm glad I gave Pizza Palace a try, but I'll go elsewhere next time I get a pizza hankering while staying in Elmhurst.