Chicago is apparently just east of Redlands…

In keeping with our tradition of finding places to eat we really, really like really, really far from home, today we found the finest pizza place we’ve ever been to. The only difference is that “really, really far from home” is just 75 miles this time, rather than the more usual 400-800…AJ Barile’s Chicago Pizza Company is run by an ex-Chicagoian – so he knows Chicago pizza. It’s also in Yucaipa, of all places. You remember Yucaipa? Site of the “waiting forever for the tow-truck” event a few weeks back? Well, we were out there again today (still trying to pick up our order – and still failing. Oh, at least the car worked…but the place was closed) and – on the way through it to Oak Glen, passed  a place apparently being remodelled that said it was the Chicago Pizza Company and that it was the 2nd Place finisher (regional)  at the International Competition and Pizza Expo. Well, that sounded good – and we started talking about pizza and saying “we should go there when it opens to try it.”

And then a bit further down Yucaipa Blvd, we pass its current location and go “Oh! We could check it out now.”

So on the way back from Oak Glen…we did.

The crust is perfect. Dee Dee is a fan of thin crust pizzas – me, not so much. But both of us absolutely loved the flavor, the crispness and the flush of garlic and olive-oil infused through it.

The sauce…just as good…as are the toppings…as is the pure buffalo mozzarella. How good? We started fighting over who got the bigger remaining pieces.

And AJ himself is fun to talk with.

They should be moving into their new place in March or April and it’s about five times the size of their current one. That alone should tell you something about how good their pizza is: In this economy – in the middle of Yucaipa – after only being open three years, they are doing well enough to quintuple their floor space…and use it when they get it.

So go. Get a pizza (I suggest the “Stockyard”). Get a Chicago-style hot dog (they’ve got the florescent green relish and everything). Have some lasagna. Have a sandwich. Heck, just get some jalapeno poppers.

Go.

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