Let’s start here: We’re near Chicago, but this is New York-style pizza made on Main Street in Crystal Lake, right next to Labemi’s and across the street from Duke’s.
You can debate which style of pizza is better all you want. You can debate if tavern style or deep dish is the Chicago pizza that should be part of the debate.
But this diner doesn’t really care. There’s plenty of room in this world to enjoy all the types of pizza, from Detroit-style to square cut to whatever you enjoy as long as it’s good.
So that’s why we tried out That’s Amore. It has plenty of options, and even sells pizza by the slice if you’re not ready to invest in a whole pie.
We went simple, ordering a large Margherita pizza ($24.45), a large pepperoni ($20.45 for a one-topping) and a gluten-free cheese pizza ($9.99) along with one slice of the specialty L.A. S.M.O.G., which comes with a garlic knot.
They also have everything from a jalapeño popper pizza to buffalo chicken, Brooklyn, mac ‘n’ cheese, meat lovers, supreme or Western BBQ.
We started out with 12 wings ($9.99) and green bean fancy fries with sweet chili sauce ($4.49).
The chili sauce had some kick, so that diner didn’t eat it with the fries, but I definitely stole it for the wings. They weren’t huge, but they were tasty, and that sauce is excellent. The green bean fries were interesting, in a good way, and not something I’ve tried before.
But they were crispy, probably a lot better for you than regular fries, and we enjoyed them along with our pizza. I ate all the wings and was happy.
As for the pizza, it was a hit. Our younger diners hadn’t ever had a true New York-style pizza (hand-tossed thin crust), so this was a treat. They loved the huge slices (eight triangles cut from an 18-inch pie) and being able to pick them up and fold them before taking a bite.
They were impressed with not just the sauce (“it was amazing”) and cheese but how the soft crust was so easy to bite down on.
The Margherita pizza features olive oil, fresh garlic, fresh mozzarella, tomato and basil. We all had nothing but positives to say about it – from the soft crust to the fresh ingredients. We folded it up and, soon enough, it was gone.
We’ve tried a ton of gluten-free pizzas, and this one might have the best flavor. It was soft like the rest, and our gluten-free diner nearly polished off the 10-inch pizza in one sitting, finishing the rest for lunch the next day.
On this night, however, that diner had one final treat, a gluten-free whoopie pie ($2.59) made by Rosie’s Gluten Free Sweets in Woodstock. It was described as kind of a really soft pudding with cream filling (nondairy). And it was judged “delicious.”
Our first experience with That’s Amore was nothing but positive. We’ll definitely be back.
• The Mystery Diner is an employee at the Northwest Herald. The diner’s identity is not revealed to restaurant staff when ordering or picking up the food. If the Mystery Diner cannot recommend the establishment, we will not publish a story.
IF YOU GO
WHAT: That’s Amore Pizza
WHERE: 105 N. Main St., Crystal Lake