You've probably seen Home Run Inn Pizzas in the freezer cases at Walmart or wherever you do much of your grocery shopping. Yet, did you know Home Run Inn Pizza is a real pizza place with nine locations around Chicago? If you've never lived in the Chicago area you might not. This weekend, while in Chicago my friend Jeff suggested we try this beloved Chicago pizza place.   Here's how a freshly cooked pie from their 31st Street location stacked up against their frozen version.

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In our house, Home Run Inn Pizza's frozen pizzas are the frozen pizzas you splurge on when you want one that's more like delivery. In fact, they regularly found their way into our cart quite often until I found myself wasting half of it every time we cooked one. But, we'll get to that a little later.

I don't know where I heard that Home Run Inn Pizzas are one of the best-frozen pizzas. So I did a Google search for the best frozen pizzas.

Delish says, "The crust has the perfect balance of a crispy exterior and fluffy interior. One of our tasters said, "The name says it all. It's a home run." Marty Wombacher from the Back In Peoria website says, "Just the right amount of rich and creamy cheese on top and the sauce has taste and just the right amount of zing to it." Wombacher's review led me to this Youtube review of Home Run Inn's frozen pizza by Barstool Sport's Dave Portnoy, whose review of the frozen one I think was one of the reasons Jeff wanted to check out the real deal.

At the time of Dave's review, it was third on his list of best-frozen pizzas.

Now, why did I stop buying Home Run Inn's frozen pizzas? We'd always get the cheese pizzas, and it's a very rich pizza. In fact, it was so rich, that I always seemed to be throwing half the pizza out because a little goes a long way. That's it, that's all. They cooked up great and tasted great, but a little went a long way and I felt like I was wasting it and throwing money away.

My lifelong friend Bill and I before we chowed down on this tasty pizza!
My lifelong friend Bill and I before we chowed down on this tasty pizza! (Jeff Baader)

So, how did the pie at Home Run Inn Pizza on 31st Street in Chicago taste? Perfect. We ordered an extra large sausage and pepperoni pizza for the three of us eating, with the cheese well done. Jeff was a little nervous, thinking I might not like it if it was too rich.

Rob Creighton (Townsquare Media)
Rob Creighton (Townsquare Media)

It wasn't. It came to our table hot, fresh, cheese well done, with plenty of sausage and pepperoni. Like their frozen pizza, it's a rich-tasting pizza, yet it didn't seem to be as rich as their frozen brand. It might have been the addition of the pepperoni and sausage to the cheese. Or whatever type of pizza oven they cooked it in, but it was delicious. The three of us had no problem demolishing the pie put in front of us.

I really enjoyed Home Run Inn's 31st Street location. I believe it's a new building in their original location. Lots of floor-to-ceiling windows looking out into Chicago's Little Village neighborhood. The restaurant, according to Home Run Inn's website, seats 550 people and there's plenty of room to enjoy a meal with your family.

My lifelong friend Jeff and I. Jeff suggested we go to Home Run Inn Pizza. (Bill Feehan)
My lifelong friend Jeff and I. Jeff suggested we go to Home Run Inn Pizza. (Bill Feehan)

What's my verdict? There are two. One, Home Run Inn Pizza is a place I want to go again and a place I'd definitely take friends visiting Chicago for a great example of the pizza Chicagoans regularly eat.

Most of us don't eat Chicago-style stuffed pizza regularly, it's good, but for many of us, it's a really heavy meal that's an occasional treat. In fact, the last couple of times I've been home friends have been relieved I've NOT wanted to get the stuffed pizza.

Two, I think I'll have to look for Home Run Inn's frozen pizza in the freezer case and try it again. Perhaps getting their pepperoni or sausage pizzas will mute the richness a little bit. Either way, I think it's worth giving this pie another try. At least until I can get back to Chicago for another visit and another Home Run Inn Pizza.

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