Searching for street parking is a nuisance, and if it takes too long, can start off dinner on a negative note. Luckily, Sunday night we were able to get a spot just in front of the door of Georgio’s Pizza in downtown Crystal Lake.
Located across from the train station on East Woodstock Street, we rushed inside from the cold and were quickly seated in the front dining area next to the window.
With a total of five diners, we had some planning to do. I knew that deep dish was an option, and to me it was the only option. I asked two of my other diners to agree to share it with me, and we settled on a 14-inch large pepperoni ($24.39).
We ordered mozzarella sticks ($7.99) to start, while the other two diners looked over the menu. I checked to see if there were any specialty drinks or local beers that caught my eye. One of my dining companions was doing the same and ordered the Vera Around the Bend ($7) a pistachio cream ale. I went with my usual beer choice, the IPA, this time Lagunitas’ Maximus Double IPA ($7).
By this time, my fellow diners had made their choices, a gluten-free cheese pizza ($11.99) and a kids spaghetti meal with broccoli ($4.99).
The drinks came out, and my IPA was exactly what I was looking for. I sipped it as we waited for the deep dish pizza to cook and we watched the NFL game on the large TV near our table. My dining companion’s Pistachio Cream Ale had an initial strong cream taste, with a vanilla and pistachio flavor lingering after.
The mozzarella sticks, served with both marinara and ranch dipping sauce, were gone soon after hitting the table. The crust was crunchy and flavorful, and the inside hot, and when broken apart could stretch almost two feet before the cheese separated. Not that we were playing with our food.
The dinner followed and looked delicious. So delicious that the kids spaghetti was quickly abandoned, and that diner also joined in on the deep dish. The crust was crisp, the large dough, cheese, sauce and pepperoni combination was soft and flavorful, and we all were quickly well into the meal.
Our server dished out the first three gigantic slices and we broke out the forks for this feast until you get closer to the end of each slice, when you can pick it up by the crust. The biggest winner on the pizza was the somewhat sweet sauce that tied the slice together.
The gluten-free pizza was savory as well, and while the crust was thin, it still had the doughy flavor of a regular pizza crust.
Convincing my dining companions to share had another positive besides getting the deep dish pizza I craved. We all had room for dessert, and so we ordered the Mount St. Georgio ($8.99), a giant freshly baked chocolate chip cookie with ice cream and a mountain of whip cream, drizzled with chocolate sauce and cherry on top. Our server even gave a few extra cherries to prevent some squabbles at the table. It was the perfect way to end the meal.
• The Mystery Diner is an employee at the Northwest Herald. The diner’s identity is not revealed to restaurant staff before or during the meal. The Mystery Diner visits a restaurant and then reports on the experience. If the Mystery Diner cannot recommend the establishment, we will not publish a story.