South of Chicago: Windy-city style pizza 

click to enlarge Chicago-style deep dish pizza. Photo by Mark Lee.
  • Chicago-style deep dish pizza. Photo by Mark Lee.

My brother and I have equal affinity for deep dish pizza, the Chicago Bears and our Italian heritage. When Kurt heard about South of Chicago, a pizza place that opened in a humble Fountain Square storefront earlier this spring, we hot-footed it over. Here is the resulting conversation:

Kurt: This place is covered in Bears, Bulls, Cubs, Sox and Blackhawks stuff.

Anne: The only Colts paraphernalia is a 2006 Colts vs. Bears Super Bowl poster. They're showing a smidgen of respect.

Kurt: You wouldn't fly the American flag at Olive Garden, would you? This is about Chicago.

[The air fills with the sounds of nostalgic buzzers from the Game Show Network on TV and energetic jack-hammering on the south leg of The Cultural Trail on the sidewalk outside.]

Anne: How do we describe the deep dish of our dreams?

Kurt: Crust that's firm, flaky and buttery. A crust stub that I look forward to eating.

Anne: My fantasy crust involves quite a bit of cornmeal and is crunchy on the outside but chewy within. The crust needs to be golden and it needs to bear the mark of hand-shaping, with a fairly high wall.

[Kurt uses the "flick test" on the crust of our South of Chicago pie: a healthy tapping sound is heard. The crust bears signs of thumbprints - another plus - though the wall is not that high.]

Kurt: Pizza sauce should also be something I'd want to eat by itself. The chunkier the better.

Anne: This sauce is not that chunky, but very tomato-y, with a sprinkling of parmesan and dried herbs.

Kurt: The only thing that's possible to overdo in a deep-dish pizza is cheese. You don't want what tastes like a big mouthful of hacked-up emphysematic phlegm.

[The South of Chicago pizza has no bites of solid cheese, thus respecting the fellow toppings of garlic, olives, vibrant green fresh spinach, and clearly un-canned mushrooms. The first five toppings are free at South of Chicago. Deep dish is available in a cute personal size, and as a 14-incher, which feeds three for $15.99; drinks are included. Kurt bites into an Italian Beef sandwich that we also ordered, dry, with about two shots of herbed jus on the side.]

Kurt: Wow, this is prime. Very thinly sliced beef on a cushiony bun.

Anne: A nice peppery finish to each bite. Bread that's soft, not tough.

[The owners, Bob and Beverly, each come to check on us a few times. They are from Chicago but have lived in Indy sixteen years. They seem passionate about their work and eager to please.]

Kurt: I hazard to say we've found the best deep dish south of Soldier Field.

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