Author Topic: Aurelio's, Ft. Myers, FL  (Read 6088 times)

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Offline BTB

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Aurelio's, Ft. Myers, FL
« on: November 25, 2009, 07:55:57 PM »
I have long been a fan of Aurelio's pizza having lived near Joe Aurelio's original restaurant for a couple dozen years in Homewood, Illinois.  My wife, daughter and I had the opportunity to lunch at one of their newest franchise restaurants in Ft. Myers, Florida yesterday.  The Ft. Myers restaurant just opened earlier this year and since I haven't had one of Aurelio's great pizzas in a long time, I was anxious to see what it was like.  I was not disappointed.  It was a rather large restaurant with a lot of Chicago memorabilia (mostly Chicago sports) and other Aurelio mementos. I especially liked the picture on the wall of the late Joe Aurelio as I remember him making the pizzas and personally serving them to me and my friends at his original location on 175th St. in Homewood.
 
I am happy to see that Aurelio's is noted as the third best pizza in the Chicago area on City's Best Pizza 2009 (see http://citysbest.aol.com/chicago/best-dining/pizza/).  I'm sure it will also be noted soon as one of the best in the southwest Florida area along with the Naples Aurelio's restaurant.  An excerpt from the Chicago review recites:
 
"If you want an authentic taste of the past, order a pie from Aurelio's, a joint that's been firing up the pizza ovens since 1959. Forget your goat cheese, kalamata olive and arugula topped pies -- this is what baby boomers and beyond were weaned on -- Chicago style pizza with homemade dough that results in a light, thin, crispy crust, freshly seasoned sausage and a famous, slightly sweet pizza sauce."
 
Some pictures from their new Ft. Myers location follow:


Offline BTB

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Re: Aurelio's, Ft. Myers, FL
« Reply #1 on: November 25, 2009, 07:58:49 PM »
We had a Fiesta size pizza with extra sauce, which you can see was drizzled or sprinkled on over the cheese (as well as sauce under the cheese).  My daughter loves their pizza sauce, so we decided to get a little extra of that delicious slightly sweet sauce, which really tasted good.  The pizza was as great as I remembered it with a tasty light, tender and crispy crust. 
 
I almost ordered it -- like I would have back at the original Homewood restaurant -- cooked "in the old deck oven," but I realized that deck ovens are a thing of the past at the franchised locations.  Sure enough, you could tell that the pizza was cooked on a conveyor oven.  I had requested it to be cooked well done, but they have a hard time doing that apparently with a conveyor oven and the pizza seemed to have been cooked the regular way.  I also noted that the outside rim of the pizza was cupped indicating that it was baked in a cutter pan of sorts.  Nevertheless, it was all extremely good and I thoroughly enjoyed gobbling up some of that very special great tasting pizza once again.
« Last Edit: November 26, 2009, 07:04:18 AM by BTB »

Offline BTB

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Re: Aurelio's, Ft. Myers, FL
« Reply #2 on: November 25, 2009, 08:01:09 PM »
And, of course, who could leave without taking back some extra pizzas for friends and the freezer! ! !    ;D
                                                                 
                                                                                        --BTB
 
Aurelio's Pizza at Gulf Coast Town Center
9909 Gulf Coast Main Street
Fort Myers, FL 33913
   (239) 274-8446 

Offline mrmojo1

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Re: Aurelio's, Ft. Myers, FL
« Reply #3 on: November 25, 2009, 08:26:43 PM »
Oh my gosh! boxes of pizzas!!  hey, why the yellow sections of cheese?? is that the scamorza vs mozz?  not cheddar right?? what do you think?  does aurelios add cheddar?  that pizza looked so good!  my fav cheese and sausage extra sauce! make it fiesta!  damn!!

Offline loowaters

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Re: Aurelio's, Ft. Myers, FL
« Reply #4 on: November 25, 2009, 08:43:01 PM »
I always thought there was some cheddar on Aurelio's pies.  My only exposure to Aurelio's was in college in Macomb but I didn't order there often...I do however remember redeeming my "shields" for a free pie, so maybe I did have my share.  Vitale's was always my place, they always had a cheap coupon in the school paper and it was a pretty good "Italian grease wheel", as we called it back then. 

Back on subject...great pics and thanks a bunch BTB for this review.  I vacation with my wife and kids several times a year on Siesta Key up in Sarasota and we need an Aurelios up there.  It seems they're working their way up the coast, Naples to Ft. Myers to...Sarasota?  Why not?  Right now we order Papa John's if we need a pizza fix while we're there.  If I had the cash and the business accumen, I'd open my own deep dish joint there.  I know there's more than enough transplanted and snowbird midwesterners to keep a place in business.

Loo
Using pizza to expand my waistline since 1969!

Offline mrmojo1

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Re: Aurelio's, Ft. Myers, FL
« Reply #5 on: November 25, 2009, 08:46:31 PM »
Loo! if you opened a pizza joint! i think you would do very well my friend.  quality...stands out, and lasts!

Offline BTB

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Re: Aurelio's, Ft. Myers, FL
« Reply #6 on: November 26, 2009, 09:07:59 AM »
I'm not certain about the reason for the yellow color that appeared somewhat in the cheese.  I don't remember that as typical Aurelio's in the past, but maybe they wanted to make it more colorful and either added some cheddar (mild) or coloring of some sort.  I have and use scamorza cheese and while it does taste similar to that on Aurelio's pizzas, there is no yellow coloring to it at all. 
 
I remember the cheese on Aurelio's pizzas at earlier times having a slight crispy crust to it after it was baked, but that was not so on the pizza at the Ft. Myers restaurant.  While there was no crust-like exterior to the cheese itself, it was nonetheless great tasting.  My wife, daughter and I thought it was even a little better than the terrific pizzas made at the Naples Aurelio's (sorry to our friends there).
 
Loo, we should put our pennies together and open an Aurelio's in the Tampa Bay area.  I think it would be a goldmine.  But we'd probably need several hundred thousand additional investors.  From the Siesta Key exit on I-75 (exit 205) to Exit 128 in Ft. Myers is 78 miles.  The new Aurelio's is just about 5 or 10 minutes off of Exit 128, so it may be just a little over an hour drive if you wanted to experience it for yourself when down in Florida.
 
Oh . . . about those little Aurelio's "shields" redeemable for pizzas . . . I'm ready to go back for more ! !   Happy Thanksgiving to all.      -- BTB

Offline Mad_Ernie

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Re: Aurelio's, Ft. Myers, FL
« Reply #7 on: November 30, 2009, 04:54:34 PM »
Awesome pics and review, BTB.  I just now found this post, and I'm glad I did!  When you make some more visits (as I bet you will) please feel free to post some more pics and comments.  My senses feel pleasantly assaulted from this post alone. ;)
Let them eat pizza.

Offline BTB

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Re: Aurelio's, Ft. Myers, FL
« Reply #8 on: December 03, 2009, 09:22:58 AM »
Just a follow up on the question of whether Aurelio's pizza included any cheddar cheese.  A few days after visiting the Ft. Myers restaurant, I heated up some of the leftover pieces of the pizza that was viewed above.  While eating, I remembered what was said about the possibility of cheddar as I viewed the yellow (actually orange) blobs of cheese scattered about the pizza.  I pinched and ate several of them from the pieces of pizza and . . boy, I don't know if my mind was playing tricks with me or what, but it sure tasted like a mild cheddar flavor. 
 
As I didn't remember cheddar in any of the many Aurelio's pizzas that I've consumed in the past, I scratched my head, went over to the freezer and viewed one of the take home, uncooked pizzas.  The shredded cheese looked like white or cream colored cheese with no hint of a yellow or orange coloring, so I just thought that maybe they added a little at the restaurant for -- as said above -- coloring. 
 
Yesterday I baked one of those uncooked pizzas and here's a picture of it before it went into the oven.  All white or creamed colored cheese on it with no hint of cheddar.

Offline BTB

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Re: Aurelio's, Ft. Myers, FL
« Reply #9 on: December 03, 2009, 09:25:06 AM »
As the pizza baked in the oven, I seemed to note orange coloring coming up through the cheese.  And even after it was finished baking, there seemed to be some orange coloring on top.  I don't know if that's the influence of the special sauce coming up through the cheese or what.  While I remain a little perplexed about the cheddar question, my wife and I enjoyed this great Aurelio's pizza last night.     --BTB


Offline Mad_Ernie

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Re: Aurelio's, Ft. Myers, FL
« Reply #10 on: December 03, 2009, 01:35:54 PM »
BTB:

If you didn't mention the fact you tasted some cheddar cheese in what you sampled, I would have chalked it up to the brand or grade of mozzarella they were using.  But since you did mention it, could it be a white cheddar that colors to yellow-orange after being subjected to heat?  I am not aware if this is even possible, just a guess.

-ME
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Offline RoadPizza

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Re: Aurelio's, Ft. Myers, FL
« Reply #11 on: December 03, 2009, 06:18:13 PM »
I would tend to think that the orange color would be coming from the pizza sauce or oil.  Do they use olive oil on their pies?


Offline NJPizzaiolo

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Re: Aurelio's, Ft. Myers, FL
« Reply #12 on: December 04, 2009, 03:20:37 PM »
I hate to say this,but this looks like one of those pizzas that come in a box and get cooked in the Mic.
And the reason the cheese looks that way is because its cheap cheese.

Offline BTB

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Re: Aurelio's, Ft. Myers, FL
« Reply #13 on: December 05, 2009, 11:10:18 AM »
RoadPizza, because of the thickness of the sauce, I didn't notice much of any olive oil in the sauce, but some could be there.  I, too, suspect the influence of the sauce, . . . but for the taste of cheddar that I experienced.  But I have a couple of pizzas left to test out and try to further assess the type of cheese.
I hate to say this,but this looks like one of those pizzas that come in a box and get cooked in the Mic.
And the reason the cheese looks that way is because its cheap cheese.
NJPizzaiolo, what planet are you from?  Are you familiar at all with Aurelio's pizzas?  Your remarks about the pizza coming in a box, getting cooked in a Mic., with "cheap cheese" was dumb.  If you are to visit here more often, we like members to be helpful and constructive.

Offline norma427

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Re: Aurelio's, Ft. Myers, FL
« Reply #14 on: December 05, 2009, 01:15:17 PM »
BTB,
While you are still trying to decide if there was cheddar in the cheese, I thought I would share with you some experiments I did. At first when I starting making pizza, I had used a 3 cheese mozzarella blend. After a short time I started using Grande cheese only in my pizzas.  I decided I wanted a new flavor profile, although I really liked how Grande tasted and performed.  So I experimented with different blends. Since I am lucky enough to be able to buy different kinds of cheese at wholesale and have a Pelican head for my mixer (that I grate my cheese with), I could experiment. I do use some white cheddar in my blend, now.  I have asked different stand holders that buy my pizza if they could tell any difference in the taste of my pizzas.  Not one stand holder could tell I had used white cheddar, because it didn't look any different from the Grande when baked.  I now am using 3 blends of mozzarella and some white cheddar.  All the stand holders like the new blend better.  At least I can experiment on stand holders because I have a humidified pizza display case.  If I have a slow period I don't keep the pizza too long in the pizza display case.  I just give the slices away and then I get some feedback on what they think.  I usually ask customers if they want the slices heated in the oven before they purchase it, but you would be surprised how many people don't want it heated to get the crust crispy, again.  My humidified display case keeps the temperature up to 144 degrees F.  and because it is humidified, it will make the crust not as crispy.
I don't know if this will help you or not decide if the if the Aurelio's pizza did have cheddar in it.
Norma
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Offline NJPizzaiolo

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Re: Aurelio's, Ft. Myers, FL
« Reply #15 on: December 05, 2009, 02:41:06 PM »
NJPizzaiolo, what planet are you from?  Are you familiar at all with Aurelio's pizzas?  Your remarks about the pizza coming in a box, getting cooked in a Mic., with "cheap cheese" was dumb.  If you are to visit here more often, we like members to be helpful and constructive



I actually own a Napoletana Pizzeria and anytime you see yellow and orange cheese,its cheap cheese,sorry not trying to be negative,just being honest.
And,I am sorry,maybe that sort a pizza is not my thing,doesnt look appealing at all.Call ME A TRADITIONALIST!!!

Offline jeff v

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Re: Aurelio's, Ft. Myers, FL
« Reply #16 on: December 05, 2009, 04:58:18 PM »
As the pizza baked in the oven, I seemed to note orange coloring coming up through the cheese.  And even after it was finished baking, there seemed to be some orange coloring on top.  I don't know if that's the influence of the special sauce coming up through the cheese or what.  While I remain a little perplexed about the cheddar question, my wife and I enjoyed this great Aurelio's pizza last night.     --BTB

You know, on all the Aurelio's and some other South Side style pizzas I've eaten I don't remeber tasting cheddar and never gave it much thought. The pizzeria I worked at when I was a kid had that phenomonon too and we didn't use cheddar or "cheap" cheese. I attributed it to the early stages of browning. I suppose the sauce could have something to do with it too.

I wonder if a dryer ot less populated area of cheese is more susceptible to it? Now I'm wondering... ???
Back to being a civilian pizza maker only.

Offline Matthew

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Re: Aurelio's, Ft. Myers, FL
« Reply #17 on: December 06, 2009, 06:51:07 AM »
I actually own a Napoletana Pizzeria and anytime you see yellow and orange cheese,its cheap cheese,sorry not trying to be negative,just being honest.
And,I am sorry,maybe that sort a pizza is not my thing,doesnt look appealing at all.Call ME A TRADITIONALIST!!!

NJPizzaiolo,
With all do respect, I have seen your pizza's & don't doubt that they are very good but they are not Neapolitan pizza.

Matt

Offline thezaman

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Re: Aurelio's, Ft. Myers, FL
« Reply #18 on: December 06, 2009, 12:44:46 PM »
the yellow is from the fat of the meat cooking out. typical of pizza that puts the ingredients under the cheese.

Offline NJPizzaiolo

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Re: Aurelio's, Ft. Myers, FL
« Reply #19 on: December 08, 2009, 09:55:16 PM »
NJPizzaiolo,
With all do respect, I have seen your pizza's & don't doubt that they are very good but they are not Neapolitan pizza.

Matt

How do you know what my pizza's look like,I have never posted a pic??