Pizza review: Naked Pizza
953 W. Diversey Parkway 773-857-6000
Rating: !!! (out of four)
Delivery pizza without the guilt? OK, I'm in. Naked Pizza, a New Orleans-based carryout and delivery chain that recently opened its first Chicago location in Lincoln Park, brags that its pizzas are healthier and more natural than the big names in the business. But would it lose the flavor along with the fat? I rounded up a few dudes with the promise of "Naked Pizza" (they were only slightly disappointed when I told them "naked" referred to the natural ingredients) to see how these pies would stack up.
The crust: Available in both regular and a thinner "skinny" crust, Naked's crust has a distinctly whole-grain flavor because it's made with ten different grains (including quinoa, oats, spelt and two kinds of wheat) and probiotics (the good kind of bacteria that helps with digestion). Unlike some other whole-grain crusts, it doesn't taste like the cardboard box it came in. There's a disappointing lack of crunch on the bottom of the pizza and around the edges, but the benefit of all that fiber is that even hours after eating, I still felt full.
The sauce: Because Naked Pizza doesn't add sugar to its sauces, they don't taste artificial or overly sweet. And while the tomato sauce gets high marks for fresh, tangy flavor and subtle herb seasoning, it's spread a bit thin. Other choices include barbecue sauce or garlic-infused olive oil.
The toppings: You can take one of two routes at Naked Pizza: go all DIY and choose your sauce and toppings, or opt for one of the combos. The Superbiotic ($14.99 for the 12-inch size) is Naked's most veggie-heavy pie topped with artichokes, bell peppers, mushrooms, red onions and spinach, then seasoned with cilantro and garlic. The veggies remain crisp despite the warmth of the pizza—a big plus. Carnivores can look to six meaty pies topped with combinations of hormone-free chicken, pepperoni, hamburger and sausage. Cheese options include part-skim mozzarella, feta, cheddar and even Daiya, a dairy-free version.
Bottom line: With a multi-grain crust and heaps of veggies, Naked Pizza won't fool you into thinking you're eating your usual delivery, but if you want to sneak some pizza into your swimsuit-season diet, options such as skinny crust and part-skim mozzarella do the trick.
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