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Chi-nnati's Pizza (Review)

Where Chicago meets Cincinnati, in pizza form

By Anne Mitchell · July 15th, 2009 · Diner

I’ve whined in the past about Cincinnati’s mediocre pizza offerings. Sure, there are some exceptions — Dewey’s springs to mind — but for the most part, nothing here wows me.

Uno’s pizza was something I used to look forward to when I visited my Chicago siblings, back before I discovered that there were other Chicagoonly indulgences I’d rather spend my caloric allowance on. Uno’s pies were a knife-and-fork experience, stuffed with a ton of salty cheese and savory pork sausage on a crust that was more pastry than dough. When Uno’s opened here, I got bored with it quickly, though. After an Uno’s frozen pie from the grocery store, I decided I’d had enough.

So, would Chi-nnati, a new Cincinnati-Chicago hybrid, become my new pizza Mecca? I went with an open mind and two dining companions, including a bicycle racer with a youth-fueled appetite for carbs.

Chi-nnati’s east of I-71, in the Kenwood Towne Centre area. It’s not a small space — the ceilings are high enough to play basketball, and there’s an under-utilized bar area. For now, it’s got a good selection of beer and a lot of wine from which to choose. (More on that in a moment.)

We started with a couple pints of Goose Island 312, named after Chicago’s telephone area code, and perused the appetizer menu.

There was Bruschetta with fresh tomatoes and basil ($5.95) that sounded pretty good, but with pizzas on the way we decided to forgo the bread base and try the Da Calamari ($8.95).

The menu and the servers at Chi-natti’s warn diners that the pizzas aren’t fast, so we thought we’d better put in our order promptly for a small thin crust Let’s Veg ($12.95) and a medium deep-dish All-In ($20.95) just to give each crust style a try. I thought it might be fun to give the Chicago-style Chi-nnati’s Hot Dog ($3.95) a
twirl, too.

A platter of calamari arrived quickly, nice and hot, and offered plenty for the three of us to share. It was impressively tender and tasty, but the marinara dipping sauce — described on the menu as “zesty” — was notably bland and would have been much better with a little pepper for depth.

As the wet, flimsy bev-naps dissolved under our empty beer glasses and we waited for the pizza to appear, we decided to venture into the wine list, where some Italian reds sounded interesting — the Savuto blend ($8), Cecchi Chianti ($7) and Foppiano ($6). I’m far and away not a wine snob, but of the three glasses, the Chianti was the best — and it needed to breathe for a good 20 minutes before it was drinkable.

I’m happy to report that the Chicago hot dog was a hit. The beefy dog, authentically topped with hot peppers, a pickle, chopped onions and celery salt, was accompanied by a side of homemade coleslaw. I also saw an Italian Beef sandwich ($7.45) go by the table that was stuffed with roast beef and looked pretty decent.

The pizza? I wasn’t wowed. Something as simple as salt and a drizzle of olive oil might have perked up the crust. It was definitely crisp, but bland, on both the thin and deep dish pies. The veggies on the thin crust pizza were assertive, especially the onions and the garlic (an additional $1 topping), but this is not a cheese-lovers’ pie. While the sausage was good on the deep-dish pie, it was orphaned (like the pepperoni, mushroom and cheese) under an abundance of chopped tomatoes. I’m sure that made for a healthier pie than the fat-bombs of my Windy City memories, but it certainly wasn’t as satisfying.

We had better luck with the desserts — a rich but not-too-sweet Flourless Chocolate Cake dusted with cocoa ($5.95) and the gently flavored Tiramisu ($4.95). Chi-nnati’s also offers Gelato ($3.95), which our server told us is from Kansas City, which is neither Chicago nor Rome. Perhaps a hybrid of the two?

Go: 7980 Hosbrook Rd., Madiera
Call: 513-985-4445
Hours: 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Monday-Thursday; 11 a.m.- 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday; noon-10 p.m. Sunday
Entrée Prices: $6.95-20.95
Payment: All major credit cards Red Meat
Alternatives: Plenty Accessibility: Yes



07.17.2009 at 01:28 Reply
I hate when people open up a "City-style" restaurant - but they are not from that city. Food nowhere near....and if it does not say "Vienna" - it's not Chicago. No Starts for this one......I give it one year and it will close


09.03.2009 at 10:12
That's where you'r wrong-owners ARE from Chicago. Food is great at this place and you should support this great concept, since there is nothing like it in Cincinnati. I had Deep Dish 4 Cheese and it was one of the best pizzas I had in long time. I go to Chicago every 3 weeks in past 4 years and I tried Lue's, Gino's, Uno's, Giordano's, Rosatti's etc... Chi-nnati's has equal if not better pizza and I'll give it 5 stars and my money every time I feel like eating pizza. Also, where this negativity comes from in comment-"place will be closed in one year"? Where do you eat? McDonalds?


07.17.2009 at 01:30 Reply
"The beefy dog, authentically topped with hot peppers, a pickle, chopped onions and celery salt, was accompanied by a side of homemade coleslaw".........We're missing stuff on the dog, and cole slaw???? Where's that from - Kansas City again?


07.31.2009 at 07:01 Reply
my family went 2 chi-nnati's a week ago & everyone loved it! good food worth the money, very friendly staff, good place 2 go for family or for friends nite out. The mixed drinks were perfect (not watered down like most places)


08.27.2009 at 09:22 Reply
LOVE IT!! We went with the family and sat in one of the LONG booths - it was great! Cozy place with very modern touches...check out the bathroom! The food speaks for itself - Chicago style za - I am originally from Chi-town and I loved the deep dish...try the 4 cheese! Also, there is some kind of Happy Hour deal going on but I didnt pay much attention as the fam was picking up the check but maybe it is on the website? Also, if you aren't in the mood for pizza you should def go for the Italian beef or the Dog...preferably with chili! So good!!


10.18.2009 at 02:24 Reply
I agree...LOVE IT!! The service we received was by far one of the best we have had in quite a while. We had the meet toppers deep dish and it beats UNO's hands down. I've searched for a really good pizza place for a while and have now FOUND IT! We also had the cheeze stix with marrinara sauce and I disagree with the author above...it was QUITE good! Happy hour is one of the best in town and dessert? try the MOUSE CAKE!! delicious! Great deal for the money! HIGHLY RECOMMEND!