Hey ME, I see our Jayhawks and Sooners aren't doing so well in football this year. I'm hopeful my Gators, tho, can hold on till the end.
It would be great to return to Chicago for some more pizzeria hopping. I understand what you mean about Home Run Inn. Some like it and some don't. It's good that pizza tastes are different. And in the Chicagoland area, there are so very many, many great alternatives. I've traveled far and away across the country and have not found that to be the case anywhere else.
When I returned to the original HRI in 2008 I had been forewarned that they've changed somewhat. They used to be characterized as having a "thick-thin" crust. Now it is just regular thin crust just like they package somewhat for their thin crust frozen pizza business. But I found their pizza still to be amazing and learned that in at least two big 2009 surveys, they again won the No. 1 Best Pizza award in the Chicago area. It is so in CitySearch for 2009 (seehttp://chicago.citysearch.com/bestof/winners/pizza
) and it AOL's CityGuide's City Best (see http://citysbest.aol.com/chicago/best-dining/pizza/
). HRI often alternates for best pizza award with Lou Malnati's.
While I do think HRI is often great, the others I've mentioned above can be just as great on any given day also. Yesterday I tried a frozen HRI pizza that I surprisingly found at a local grocer down here in Florida. I wouldn't get it again, however, as nothing tasted similar to the pizza served at their original restaurant, despite what they say on the box.
And for the thick crust Chicago Style pizza aficionados (i.e., those with special gourmet tastes . . . lol), here is the great stuffed, deep dish pizza from the famous Giordano's. I suggest it always be ordered with "extra" sauce on top as they often have a tendency to put so little on that it often comes with a very "dried out" top to the pizza after it's baked. But when done right, it is super delicious. And you might want to order "double" whatever ingredient you prefer (like mine is Italian sausage) as they are rather frugal with their ingredients. But still one of the best in the world when done right.