By Sheryl Oswalt
On the eve of our Christmas shopping trip to Kalamazoo, I decided I was craving the
chimichanga that I had tasted on a previous restaurant review at La Finca’s in Portage. It was there that we noticed all the traffic in and out of the unassuming little place next door. I decided that night it was going to be my next adventure!
Chicago Style Pizza is located next to the roller rink at 10420 Portage Road just past Osterhout Avenue in Portage. I started with their website which is easy to follow and provides you with all the necessary information you need to place your order. With the most popular Chicago style pizza being the deep dish with high edges allowing for large amounts of cheese and toppings and chunky style sauce on top rather than inside, that’s what we decided to order. They also have subs and calzones that are very reasonably priced and come with great reviews on Yelp.
My order was taken quickly and the food was ready when promised; they were friendly and efficient at pickup. Living on the southeast side of Vicksburg, takeout pizza from Portage was questionable. We solved that problem by grabbing some paper plates and silverware from Family Fare and taking our pizza to the Distant Whistle in Vicksburg. It was certainly a great value as we could only eat half of a medium deep dish that was under $20. Chicago style is not the most photogenic pizza with that deep red sauce on the top but it’s certainly very tasty. We loved the flavor of the crust. There was lots of cheese and the toppings were generous as well. If you are someone that loves dipping your bread sticks or pizza in additional marinara; then you will particularly like the deep dish style with that sauce on the top.
I met with owner Jack Taylor a couple days later. It seems that he grew up in Chicago but traveled through Portage on the way to a family place on the lake in Bloomingdale, Michigan. Jack was working part-time at a pizza place in Chicago when the owners retired. The time was right to make a move and that move was to Portage. On September 13, 1979; Jack and his wife Cindy opened Chicago Style Pizza in the same location they are today. Initially they rented the former Dairy Queen building and eventually were given the opportunity to purchase it. He was proud to say that it didn’t take long for it to become successful enough to be his sole source of employment. He and Cindy ran the pizza place in the early years. Eventually they had their three daughters and Cindy busied herself more with the children than pizza. The girls all worked there over the years but currently are grown and doing their own things. He laughed when I asked if any of the girls had wanted pizza at their wedding receptions! I think that was a no….
Among their awards is the one for “Best Deep Dish Pizza” which they won several years running at the Portage Central Lacrosse Pizza Festival. Jack is equally proud of the fact that they have grown a crowd of regulars over the years but that group is now multi-generational. The local community has been very supportive of his business and he is very appreciative of that as well.
Along with his awards and sponsorship thank you letters on the wall hangs his Cubs memorabilia. As a Chicago native, he was pretty happy about the outcome of the 2016 World Series. Not only does he make regular trips back to Chicago to pick up pizza supplies, he’s been able to enjoy a few baseball games as well.
So if you are looking to try a Chicago Style pizza and don’t have the time or money for a bus or train ticket to Chicago – look no further than this gem right in our community on Portage Road. They are a take-out or delivery operation and they are open from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursdays, 4 p.m. to 11 p.m. on Friday & Saturday and closed on Mondays. Check out their website at http://www.chicagostylepizza.net or call 269-323-0807. I think you will be glad you did!