Also, this place still exists as a pizzeria, right (as opposed to just offering packaged pizzas at grocery stores)? If so, I may have to take a little Chicago trip very soon and add this to my list of destinations that serve pizzas I've never had, which so far only includes Giordano's but could easily grow considerably, since the only Chicago style pizza I've ever had is Malnati's (once) and Uno (from chain stores in Columbus and Vegas) many times.
Also, is this kind of pizza baked directly on stone? I assume it is, since Nate appears to have baked directly on stone.
Home Run Inn (HRI) is a family owned company, with nine locations. I do not ever recall reading that any of their locations are franchised.
As for how the pizzas are baked in their stores, the original location, going back to the 1940s, used a deck oven. But, with the passage of time, HRI went to conveyor ovens. They also use hot dough presses, both in their stores and in their frozen pizza manufacturing facilities. HRI has consistently said that they use the same recipes to make their frozen pizzas as they use in their stores. I have never had a real HRI pizza from one of their stores, so I relied only on the ingredients statements and Nutrition Facts for their frozen pizzas. I also dissected a few of their frozen pizzas and took a variety of measurements. On that basis, I can safely say that HRI uses no shortening in their dough, only corn oil. There is also no sugar. See, for example, http://www.homeruninnpizza.com/frozen-pizza/classic/item/classic-cheese
. There are also 0 Trans Fats. Most shortenings are hydrogenated in whole or in part and for the most part they have some Trans Fats. Corn oil has no Trans fats.
Of course, in a home setting, anything goes, and if the results are satisfactory, then that is fine even if not technically a clone.