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Roots Handmade Pizza

Restaurants, Pizza East Village
3 out of 5 stars
5 out of 5 stars
(4user reviews)
Roots.venue03.jpg (Photograph: Martha Williams)
Photograph: Martha WilliamsRoots Pizza
Roots.venue03.jpg (Photograph: Marina Makropoulos)
Photograph: Marina MakropoulosRoots Pizza
Roots.venue02.jpg (Photograph: Martha Wiliams)
Photograph: Martha WiliamsRoots Pizza

Time Out says

3 out of 5 stars

The shtick at Roots is that it hawks pizza in the style of the Quad Cities. This is, surprisingly, not a style dreamed up by a marketing department. Quad Cities pizza has very real marks distinguishing it from other pies: There’s malt in the crust, it’s cut with scissors, and the whole thing is blanketed in a very specific—yet still very bland—layer of white cheese. Furthermore, people in the Quad Cities love their pizza with a conviction that Chicagoans are hopeless to match. Our deep dish is divisive. The Quad Cities style is universally adored.

Until you leave the Quad Cities, that is. Here, safely outside the Q.C.’s borders, there’s no obligation to like the stuff. But it turns out the Quad Cities style can cross county lines and be successful elsewhere. This is probably due to the fact that it is, at its core, pizza, and as the old adage goes, bad pizza is hard to find. But it is also due to details such as the sausage in the sausage pie (crumbly and aggressively seasoned and made in-house), and the smattering of herbs on top of the cheese, a final touch that exceeds aesthetics to offset the pizza’s sweetness. (And make no mistake, the pizzas here definitely are sweet. Call the crust “malty” if you want—I tasted something more akin to a touch of honey.)

Roots’ attention to detail extends to other parts of the menu, such as its mozzarella sticks, which are stuffed with cheese the restaurant pulls itself. The result is a very fine cheese stick (though, again, when are these things bad?); crunchy, accomplished salads; and a comprehensive list of Midwestern beers organized by state. The extent the place goes to assure quality is a little surprising for a bar that from the outside seems as fratty and obnoxious as the Fifty/50 (Roots’ sister business), and ultimately this may be a better shtick than the one the restaurant has chosen. You say the Quad Cities cuts their pizza with scissors? I’m asleep already. But a bro bar putting out quality food? Tell me more.

By David Tamarkin



Address: 1924 W Chicago Ave
Cross street: between Wolcott and Winchester Aves
Transport: Bus: 9, 50, 66.
Price: Average pizza: $20
Opening hours: Sun-Fri 11am-2am; Sat 11am-3am
Do you own this business?

Users say (4)

5 out of 5 stars

Average User Rating

4.5 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:2
  • 4 star:2
  • 3 star:0
  • 2 star:0
  • 1 star:0
1 person listening

Roots pizza is phenomenal. Their pasta is pretty good, though it’s been undercooked (verrrrrry al dente) a few of the times I’ve been there. The waitstaff is always really nice about it though and now I know to ask for it cooked a bit longer, especially for longer noodles like fettuccine. Otherwise, Roots is great! Their patio is great paired with one of the beers from their extensive list and an order of monkey bread. The beer list also lets you know what they’ll have in stock in a few weeks, so you can plan ahead and assemble your crew.

While it'll never hold a candle to Chicago style pizzas (both deep dish and thin), Quad City style pizza is pretty damn good. Whether you're in the mood for something simple like pepperoni or sausage, or wanna be daring and try the Lillie's Q BBQ or Antique Taco Mexican pizza, there's a delicious pizza for everyone. Hell, this is one of the few places my 85-yr-old Ukrainian grandmother will actually agree to eat at! The mozzarella sticks here are also the best in the city - huge, fresh, and flavorful. 

Solid beer list, friendly service, and aforementioned delicious grub, but wayyyy too many yuppies bring kids here. I need more than one hand to count how many times I've had to ask to be moved because some whining, crying child is seated in close proximity to my party. 

Not only do they have great pizza, but the salads here are incredible. I mean, who would have thought that you should have to choose between either a salad or a pizza? Or why not have them both? Also, fantastic beer selection. They continually rotate so it never gets stale.

If I had to choose one (non deep dish) pizza to eat for the rest of my life it would be the Antique Taco chili cheese curd pizza. On the menu they have a handful of other chef-inspired pizzas from all-star restaurants. The rotating craft beer list is great and huge leather booths that are so comfortable.