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Aurelio’s Pizza (Portage, IN)

May 15, 2019

  • 6500 West US Highway 6
  • Portage, IN 46368
  • (219) 763-7788
  • Website
  • Menu

Mother’s Day.  It’s always fun to try to come up with something fun to do on this special Sunday in May.  Most moms just want to be left alone for a day.  I get that.  My kids are very clingy at times and not wanting to be touched is something we all can relate too.

We didn’t get to spend Easter with my parents so I asked if they’d like to meet for Mother’s Day.  My plan was to get a hotel in Portage, IN, get J her own room so she could have one night of sleep with no interruptions, then meet my parents for lunch on Sunday.

We picked Portage, IN because there’s a Best Western Plus there that has a pool with a splash pad.  Rooms were pretty cheap and it’s a little more than halfway to where my parents live.

We spent most of the evening Saturday in the pool area once we got there.  We had stopped for lunch at Taco John’s on the way so the only meal we needed was dinner.  The kids were exhausted so we weren’t going to go out.  Pizza is always a good hotel meal and I found a place somewhat familiar to me not far from our hotel.

Aurelio’s Pizza is a Chicago area chain that has been around since the late 1950’s.  They have 40 stores in six states.  There is one near where I grew up in Bourbonnais, IL but we rarely ate there.  We were more Monical’s Pizza people.

The Portage, IN Aurelio’s Pizza is on a busy corner at US Highway 6 and North 500 West.  It’s on the corner of a strip mall with several other businesses and most easily accessible from the N. 500 West side. 

Aurelio’s isn’t really know for one type of Chicago pizza or another.  They do both thin and thick crust pizzas and kind of stay out of the war for which crust thickness defines true Chicago-style pizza.

I originally picked Aurelio’s Pizza because on the desktop website, I could order online.  I couldn’t find a way to do that on the mobile website.  I ended up giving up and calling in my order for a medium cheese thin crust, a medium Italian beef and giardiniera thin crust, and an order of Soft Bread Sticks.  The cost came out to a little over $41 and I was told it would be ready in about 20 minutes.

There is parking right by the front door for carry-out.  I walked in to the building to find the carry-out pick-up right up front.  There’s a large window that looks in to the kitchen and several people working a bank of phones taking orders.  A lady saw me walk in and came over to the register.  She rung me up then went looking for my pizzas.

There are two dining rooms in the restaurant separated by this entryway.  It’s an unfortunate reminder that we actually used to allow people to smoke indoors.  Both dining rooms are practically the same with very muted earth tones and low lighting.  Most of the light is let in naturally during the day from the large windows that line the outside of the building.

I got back to the hotel and everyone went straight for the bread sticks.  There were only four in the order and by the time I went to grab one, they had all been spoken for.  The long, soft bread sticks have a seasoning of Italian spices and garlic butter brushed on them.  They come with a side of marinara for dipping.  I could have gotten two orders and they probably wouldn’t have lasted much longer.

The kids have all but given up on pepperoni pizza so I just ordered a medium cheese for J, L, and B to share.  They don’t typically eat much and I didn’t want a bunch of leftovers since we were at a hotel.

The pizza is a pretty simple cut into squares (the way Chicagoans do it) and cooked to a slighlty golden brown.  The pizza was good but really lacking sauce.  You can see it didn’t go all the way to the edge and there’s not much even showing through the cheese.  There were no real complaints about it but more sauce would have made this a much better pizza.

I ordered a medium thin crust with Italian beef and Giardiniera.  This combination is one of my favorite things about Chicago.  The pizza is covered in thinly sliced beef with a spicy giardiniera spread throughout and covered with cheese.  Like the cheese pizza, this one really needed more sauce.  The dominate flavor was the crust and while it’s good, it shouldn’t be the one thing I’m tasting in every bite.

Aurelio’s has the potential to be a great pizza but I think we got a little shortchanged on sauce on this night.  The pizzas were still delicious.  I would order them again if we were in the area…there is just a little room for improvement.

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