The other day I took my daughter to see Cinderella at Clowes Hall. I asked her what she wanted to eat before we went and she said poutine. So I tried to take her to Twenty Tap, but there was a 20-minute wait. On a Tuesday. Go figure (and good for them). So by then we were running low on time and just decided to go to Byrne’s again, because we had eaten there the last time we went to Clowes, had enjoyed it, and had gotten in and out fast.
They have added some art and there were a fair amount of people in there this time and it had a nice casual atmosphere going on. Knowing that their crust is more of a thin, almost cracker-y type of a crust, I was open to trying more non-traditional toppings on my pizza (it just seems like it makes more sense as a flatbread type of pizza for some reason) and contemplated the menu.
First though, we ordered a couple of breadsticks with the garlic olive oil dipping sauce. It’s a pretty simple sauce—literally just chopped garlic in olive oil—but nice and tasty and wholesome. No crazy bright orange cheese stuff (although they do have other options as well). The bread sticks are good—big and doughy. I wish they had a little seasoning on them or something, they’re kind of plain otherwise, but still good. They are filling though, so watch out!
So after looking over the menu for a bit, I decided to go with the “hot chick” pizza, which is their take on a buffalo chicken pizza ($10 for small). It was really good. It was the thin crust, buffalo sauce as the pizza sauce, pieces of baked chicken and then blue cheese, red onions, banana peppers as well as regular shredded cheese. It was served with a side of ranch. I really enjoyed it a lot. I have a weakness for buffalo items and it hit the spot. The chicken was tender—and not just white meat and the sauce had just enough heat to it. Loved all the blue cheese. The ranch to dip in was decadent, but a nice touch.
My daughter had “the Confessional” ($10) which is basically their version of a Margarita pizza. It’s tomato sauce, shredded cheese, large rounds of mozzarella, tomato, and basil. She enjoyed it. After three weeks in Italy, she really likes a basic margarita and said this was a good one.
The real reason she particularly likes this place is for the chocolate chip bread pudding though. A holdover from Oh Yumm Bistro before them, they do a nice job, although it could stand to be heated up a little more.
Byrne’s is a nice neighborhood place—there were families in there as well as tables of adults. I would definitely eat there more if it were in my neighborhood.
Byrne’s Grilled Pizza
5615 N. Illinois Street