Pizza pot pie? What the what?

Pizza pot pie? What the what?

Pie – in its purest form – is the most wonderful geometrical food of them all – a tantalizing circle cut into luscious triangles. As for pizza pie, well that's just geometrical food heaven.

Oh, I'll eat a square pizza. Don't get me wrong. But there's just something special about the pizza pie.

Needless to say, I was a bit taken aback then on Sunday then when I ventured to Chicago Pizza and Oven Grinder Co., 2121 N. Clark St., a longtime Lincoln Park restaurant where they have taken geometrical perfection and flipped it over with the pizza pot pie.

Yes, it's certainly circular. But the comparisons end after that. Because a pot pie is not a true pie. Nobody makes triangles with a pot pie. People dive into a pot pie as if eating an ice cream sundae. It's a heretical way to eat a pizza.

Pizza pot pie is all they do at Chicago Pizza and Oven Grinder Co., though. According to its website:

Conceived by the owner in his Chicago Law Office while Dreaming of "il gran giorno" when he would open his restaurant, the Pizza Pot Pie has become a favorite of world-wide pizza connoisseurs who have graced the Chicago Pizza and Oven Grinder Company since its inception in 1972.

The Pizza Pot Pie is an individual serving, "made from scratch" with triple-raised Sicilian bread-type dough; a homemade sauce consisting of olive oil, fresh garlic, onions, green peppers, whole plum tomatoes and a special blend of cheeses; sausage made from prime Boston butts; and doorknob-size, whole, fresh mushrooms. (Vegetarian pizza pot pie may be special ordered.)

I was skeptical. I'll admit it. I hated pot pies growing up. We're OK now, but still a little wary of each other. Now, though, it was taking over my pizza. Now, it was personal.

But I was there, so I felt I needed to give it a chance.

They take a fairly long time to make – about 30 minutes – nothing like the quick and dirty brick oven pizzas I've come to love so much. They then are served in a little ceramic bowl that the waiter flips over in a slight odd ceremonial way.

Then there's your pot pie pizza. Cheese, sauce, meat and mushrooms in a bread bowl, essentially.

And it was actually pretty good. I enjoyed the sauce, as well as the surrounding crust.  It was not pizza, though. Not by a long shot. If anything, it tasted like a stromboli. (I love strombolis, so this is not a bad thing.) In fact, it should really be called a stromboli pot pie.

Somehow, I don't think think the owner will be taking me up on that suggestion.

Long live the true pie! Still undefeated.

• Joe Grace is a writer and  journalist who lives in Chicago with his wife. If you haven't yet, please like Going for Gusto on Facebook or follow me on Twitter.

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