Cuzzo’s Pizza – The Maestro’s Take

Yesterday represented the first time we were foiled in our pizza plans. We originally decided to meet at Freddy’s pizzeria in Oak Park, but when we got there, we saw that it was closed for vacation from August 31 – September 17 (!) I had just gotten off the phone with my dad who waxed rhapsodic about the authenticity of Freddy’s, so it was a bit of a disappointment.

But since I had to be in Oak Park in a couple hours anyway, I chose Cuzzo’s on Ridgeland and Madison. It’s a pretty standard pizza-by-the-slice place. I tried to get a origin story from the guys working there, and they said “we’ve been around since March 16, 2013.”

Cuzzo’s specializes in the Big Slice. And I mean big. The doc will have pics up later, but the slices were so big that we could each share one. We ended up, I think with 2 cheese slices, on slice with olives and pepperoni, and one vaguely vegetarianish slice (I’ll let the doc handle that one).

While I don’t think that the crust was home-made, the overall effect of the slice was a delicious, greasy mess. The kind of pizza you eat when you are in the mood for something quick. The kind of pizza you crave at 2 in the morning.  In short, the kind of pizza both the doc and I have eaten for about 4 decades now. Or at the very least since our college days. The grease factor was heavy, but that only increases my admiration for the pizza. There is something about very grease-heavy pizza that reminds me of Boston pizza, which, while I do not like it, is associated with a certain strain of teenage nostalgia.

All of this to say that while it wasn’t the best pie we’ve had so far, it did hit a lot of the right pizza buttons. And, as I outlined in my bohème/pizza essay, bad pizza is better than no pizza. And this was a far cry from bad pizza.

As a bonus, the doc and I attended the Taste of Melrosee yesterday in Melrose Park, and while I ate my weight in sfingi, meatball subs, various pastas, cannoli, and beef sandwiches, we did decide to get a slice from the only stand offering pizzas: Scudiero’s. Scudiero’s (which I guess would mean something like “shieldsman”) is more of an Italian baker and deli, but they did have slices. After ingesting so much other stuff, the result was one of complete Pizza Stendhal Syndrome. That it, it could’ve been the greatest pizza in the world, but we were so full at that point, that it didn’t really register. We should go back at some point.


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