Northwest Herald

Mystery Diner in Algonquin: Sal’s delivers big on flavor in takeout pizza options

For its specialty pizzas, Sal’s pours on the toppings

The crust on the pepperoni deep dish pizza from Sal's Pizza Company is thick and buttery.

The McHenry County region is awash with small, locally owned pizza places where unassuming facades belie some of the best cuisine in the area. Sal’s Pizza Company, set in the back of a strip mall along West Algonquin Road, does not have a seating area, save for one tiny table along the wall.

However, the restaurant, which says it delivers to nearly all of Algonquin and Lake in the Hills, has an impressive variety of pizzas, both in toppings and styles, and Italian favorites like baked mostaccioli and chicken Parmigiana.

I ordered Sal’s for dinner this past week.

Sal's Pizza Company is located off to the side along a strip mall on West Algonquin Road. Don't be fooled by the nondescript facade: the pies are delicious.

What impressed me the most about the pizza I picked – Sal’s Special, which comes with pepperoni, olives, onion, tomato and green peppers – was how heavy the restaurant went on the toppings. Many thin-crust pizzas can come across as more two-dimensional than 3D, but Sal’s pizza had a hefty layer of toppings that provided both texture and flavor. The sauce, too, was a little spicy and added zest to the pie.

The medium specialty versions ranged from $23.50 to $28.75.

The deep-dish pepperoni pizza (a 14-inch pie costs $23) also was well-executed, the buttery crust more doughy than crispy or flaky.

"Sal's Favorite" specialty pizza from Sal's Pizza Company in Algonquin includes an impressive supply of pepperoni, black olives, onions, tomatoes, green peppers, and bubbly mozzarella cheese.

The baked mostaccioli ($8.25) had a delightful cap of cheese on top, and the marinara, being lighter and sweeter, offered a nice counterpoint to the pizza sauce.

In addition to the pizza and pasta, I ordered the eight-piece Buffalo wings ($11.25). The wings had a good amount of meat and came with extra Buffalo sauce, which is always appreciated.

Overall, Sal’s offers three pizza types on its menu: thin crust, deep dish and stuffed. The restaurant includes nearly a dozen specialty options for thin crust, while customers choose from the list of toppings for the latter two categories of pie.

A nice cap of bubbly cheese tops the baked mostaccioli from Sal's Pizza Company.

Non-pizza menu offerings include staples like Italian beef, fried chicken, barbecue ribs, and breaded shrimp.

The establishment is family-owned and has been in business since 1996, according to its website. A sister restaurant, Sal’s Pizza Place, opened in Huntley in 2015, and features seating for dining in. The owner, Sal Bongiovanni, said on the website he was inspired to cook by his Sicilian grandmother, and has been in the pizza business for over 40 years.

• 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. The Mystery Diner visits a different restaurant and then reports on the experience. If the Mystery Diner cannot recommend the establishment, we will not publish a review.

• Seeking reader suggestions: We welcome readers to share their recommendations of places they would like the Mystery Diner to visit. Email ideas to tips@nwherald.com.

IF YOU GO

WHAT: Sal’s Pizza Company

WHERE: 5 Hanson Road, Algonquin

PHONE: 847-658-7272

INFORMATION: salspizzaco.com