New pizza joint East of Chicago opened in Middletown yesterday. The Ohio-based chain (slogan: Pizza Done Right) now has its first Kentucky location, thanks to co-owners Greg Wilson and Sean O'Connell. After 39 years in various capacities in the restaurant business, Louisville born-and-bred Wilson wanted to do it his way. He decided on the franchise route and chose to work with East of Chicago because of its menu of hand-made, fresh items. "I like to brag on fresh," he told me.
This location, at 12416 Shelbyville Road (directly across from the Kroger shopping center in Middletown) is delivery and carry-out only. Wilson already has plans for four more area restaurants, which will include dine-in, as well.
Chicago-style crust, not surprisingly, is featured, but the menu also includes pan, crispy, thin and loaded (stuffed with cheese and pepperoni) crust styles.
I tried the Chicago-style crust for my pizza, which though not the super-deep-dish you might expect from the name, did have the buttery flavor in the crust I look for in Chicago style. The cheese and toppings were completely covered with the tomato sauce, as they should be for Chicago style. Those who favor a sweeter sauce, rather than a spicier one, will be pleased. The sausage I chose for a topping also was on the mild side, rather than spicy. All in all, it's a much lighter pizza than I was expecting.
I also ordered the Buffalo Chicken Salad. The chicken is grilled and the salad is huge -- easily enough for two people to share and feel like they made a healthy choice. I didn't realize a hotter buffalo sauce was a choice and I think got the mild, which was a little light on the pepperiness.
Baked subs, wings, breadsticks and other sides as well as desserts that I didn't get a chance to try this time around fill out the menu. The peanut butter and jelly dessert pizza, says Wilson, is to die for.
Photos: Kachina Shaw