Advertise with us

Enjoying this blog? Check out the rest of the Travel & Culture Channel Subscribe to this Feed

The Chicago Traveler


by Matt B on July 31st, 2007

I’ve been writing The Chicago Traveler for about three months now, and I can hear you asking, “It’s Chicago… where’s the pizza?” Writing about pizza in Chicago is much like writing about the Cubs and White Sox rivalry. Chicago natives are very loyal to their favorite. Visitors to the city asking a group of Chicagoans about the best pizza, the best hot dog, or the best Italian beef may find themselves in the middle of a heated debate.

crust organic pizzaSo let’s try something a bit off the beaten path, a pizza place many folks may not be familiar with. Just a few doors down from Bravo, Crust is the first certified organic restaurant in Chicago, meaning that at least 95 percent of everything in the place adheres to federally mandated standards of organic labeling. This means no genetic engineering, no growth hormones, and no antibiotics, along with a number of other restrictions. Considering the numerous supplies that any restaurant needs, this is no easy task. From the food to the cleaning supplies to the paint on the walls… even the trucks everything is delivered on… It’s no surprise that Crust then is only the fourth restaurant in the nation to be certified as organic.

“Organic” doesn’t mean it looks like a hippie cave though. The large space is bright and modern, with tables made of recycled tires, red chairs and stools, acoustic ceiling panels, exposed ductwork, and full view of the open kitchen and the wood-burning pizza oven. There’s plenty of outdoor seating available as well, both in front and on the back patio.

The menu is short and sweet, with only a handful each of salads and sandwiches. With a name like “Crust,” the restaurant’s obvious focus is its pizzas, or “flatbreads” as they are called there. Favorites include the flammkuchen'with caramelized onion, caraway seed, cracked black pepper, b'chamel, and slab bacon'and the pepperonata (melted tomatoes, heirloom peppers, provolone, pepperoni, and mozzarella). Fancy a drink? The bar carries organic vodka, rum, whiskey, several organic beer options, and wine. Get there early; Crust gets plenty of business, and they don’t take reservations.

Crust proves that “organic” is more than just sprouts and granola.

Photo credit: (c/o Flickr) greenlagirl

Crust ($$): 2056 W Division St; 773-235-5511
Sun - Wed: 11:00 a.m. - 10:00 p.m.
Thurs - Sat: 11:00 a.m. - 1:00 a.m.
Street parking difficult, valet on evenings and weekends
Public trans: Bus # 50, 70 or Blue Line train (Damen, Division)

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

POSTED IN: Pizza, Restaurants

8 opinions for Crust

  • Linker Barn: August 2
    Aug 2, 2007 at 12:41 am

    […] an ode to pizza in […]

  • Dustin DeKoekkoek
    Aug 2, 2007 at 12:21 pm

    I’m from Seattle and my wife and I are visiting Chicago Aug 26-29. Do you know of any restaurants that serve gluten-free Chicago style pizza? For that matter any restaurants that have a gluten free menu or specialize in gluten free foods? And further, anything going on in Chicago while we will be there?

  • Matt B
    Aug 3, 2007 at 9:04 am

    Dustin, thank you for your question. I don’t know of any right off the top of my head, but let me do some research and make some phone calls, and I’ll let you know.

    As far as events go, the Chicago Summer Dance and Bristol Renaissance Faire will both still be going on that Sunday. (http://www.thechicagotraveler.com/weekend-festivals-2/) (http://www.thechicagotraveler.com/bristol-renaissance-faire/) Tuesday features the Grant Park Outdoor Film Festival, in which classic movies are shown outdoors for free.

    “Forbidden Broadway” has extended its stay through November 4. http://www.thechicagotraveler.com/forbidden-broadway/

  • Mary Jo
    Aug 3, 2007 at 10:35 am

    I walked by Crust a month or so ago and thought it looked great. I took a look at what people were eating at the outdoor tables, and everything looked yummy! Will plan on getting back there to try it for myself on an upcoming visit.

  • Matt B
    Aug 4, 2007 at 4:40 pm

    I found a place that serves up gluten-free Chicago-style deep-dish pizza: Lou Malnati’s.


  • Kevin Wright
    Nov 2, 2007 at 11:47 am

    Been to Crust. It is quite good as an Italian style thin crust pizza. All organic which is a bonus. The best part is the great beer selection there too, (I think the one I had was called Deux Frere = two brothers in English) lots of good organic stuff. Walk just east of Damen afterword to Coco Rouge for desert, awesome hot chocolate and artisinal truffles.

  • Mirai Serves Sushi and Sake in Sleek Style
    Aug 19, 2008 at 6:03 pm

    […] a sleek dining room and trendy lounge (between Crust and Bravo Tapas), Mirai is often full of Wicker Park hipsters relaxing over sake and wasabi. Fresh […]

  • Weekend Quickies (Sept 12-14, 2008)
    Sep 11, 2008 at 6:39 pm

    […] with vegan food at each stop as part of Veggie Bike and Dine. Stick around for the afterparty at Crust, which will showcase vegan pizzas and a cash bar. The event will take place rain or shine, and […]

Have an opinion? Leave a comment: