Uno Chicago Grill - Dickson City, PA

Continuing on my path to reviewing every pizza in NEPA, I decided to go corporate again and try out Uno Chicago Grill in Dickson City.  I have to admit, the place has been on Commerce Boulevard for years and I've never even thought to go try a pizza.  I was on my own for this review so I snuck in quickly and prepared to review.  As I looked around, the whole place kind of reminded me of an old railroad station or something with a very industrial feel including exposed brick, dark wood, and pipes running the length of the whole place.  When I was seated at my booth, I thought it was pretty neat that instead of napkins, Uno installed a paper towel dispenser at the table - just something I considered different and novel.
 
As I looked the menu over, i feared to have another repeat of my last corporate experience at the Olive Garden with seemingly very high prices when compared to the mom and pop pizza shops.  I opted for the Numero Uno personal deep dish pizza, which specifically states it's for one person, and the price tag was a staggering $10.45.  Now, common sense told me to keep my standards low at a chain restaurant, but the nearly $11 price tag for a personal pan pizza raised my standards very high again.  I was given 2 complimentary breadsticks with garlic dipping oil which was tasty, and went a little ways toward justifying the price tag. 
 
After a brief wait, my waitress, who was excellent, brought the pizza to be reviewed.  For some reason, I happened to be watching Cougartown on my Samsung Galaxy Note, and she caught me so that was a little embarrassing, but I digress!  The pizza itself was very tiny, six, maybe seven inches at best but it was quite deep and packed full of topping.  It was cut into 4 miniature slices, and the toppings included sausage, pepperoni, onions, peppers, and mushrooms.  Toppings were layered on, and really they were the story of this pizza.  The pie (and I stress the term "pie" because it resembles the construction of a desert pie) was so thick that the toppings never had a chance to cook through.   The vegetables essentially steamed themselves in the greasy, moist, and runny environment that they created for themselves.  The topping distribution was a bit off as the undercooked onions were pervasive and abundant.  The sausage reminded me of crumbled breakfast sausage which didn't have much for texture or flavor.  The Mushrooms were tiny and nearly nonexistent.  I understand that it would be a miracle to cook such a thick pizza all the way through perfectly in short amount of time, but when toppings are raw and soggy, it doesn't bode well for the review.
 
The crust itself wasn't as thick as you would imagine, but it was deep and held a lot of toppings.  It was pretty dry and flavorless and reminded me more of a biscuit than a pizza crust.  Although it was slightly crispy in the beginning, the crust became very soggy and saturated within 2 minutes of removing the first slice.  The sauce was a chunky tomato sauce that was lightly seasoned, but the tomatoes were bitter.  The cheese was your average mozzarella and was really there to hold the pizza together.
 
I will say, I have limited experience both in making and reviewing Chicago Style pizzas, but in using my experience from other pizza genres, I would first recommend baking the pizza longer at a lower temperature.  I would have also preferred if the toppings were arranged in a different order and cooked in stages.  For example, the veggies which take longer to cook could have been spread on the bottom and cooked first, then the pepperoni, sausage, and cheese could have been added half way through.  This would have allowed the veggies to cook through and allowed some of the moisture to evaporate.  I have a few more recommendations, but they would include changing the actual ingredients and are impractical.
 
Ultimately, this pizza was decent, although the frozen pizza I received in the mail from Lou Malnati's was much better cooked in my conventional oven.  Although the pizza was loaded with toppings, the price was outrageous for such a small pie.  For all of the reasons I listed above, unfortunately I cannot recommend this pizza to my readers, but I will say it is one of the few places in NEPA that you can get a Chicago Style pizza that is "Authentic."  Many places create a round Sicilian pizza and call it Chicago style, so at least Uno has that going for them!  Other than that I will give the service and cleanliness of the place high marks, and the rest of the menu items did look appetizing.

Restaurant: Uno Chicago Grill
Location: Dickson City, PA
Date: March 2013
Pizza Ordered: 8 slice, 12" pizza
Price: $10.45
Eat In/Take Out: Eat In

Uno Chicago Grill on UrbanspoonCrust: 2.5/5
Sauce: 1.75/5
Cheese: 2.5/5

Toppings: 2/5
Overall Taste: 2.5/5
Crispy/Cooked Properly: 2/5
Overall Value: 0/5
OVERALL RATING: 2/5

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