Among my dozen or so favorite all-time thin crust pizzas (from my 35+ years of Chicago area residency) is HRI and Barnaby's. For a few years, I used to live a couple of short miles from the then only and original HRI on the planet on 31st St in greater Chicago, IL. I, for one, saw the difference between HRI and Barnaby's very, very differently from that expressed here. Both great but their crust didn't resemble the other IMO in the slightest bit.. I think Barnaby's is a little drier and utilizes some cornmeal or semolina or what not and tastes vastly different from HRI. When I'm "up north" for the summer, I still travel over to the two South Bend, Indiana Barnaby pizzerias for a real good old-fashion treat. But there are also many other Barnaby locations still, as with HRI, in the Chicago metro area. And I am in seventh heaven with the opportunity to return to HRI Valhalla, which is the best and only really great HRI pizzeria on 31st. in Chicago proper.
I have been super disappointed, however, with the frozen HRI pizzas in our local grocery stores (even down here in Florida). I note a slight, slight taste familiarity with the original HRI, but the frozen grocery store product is a insult to the original, I think. Beside a vastly different taste or flavoring, the frozen HRI crusts are SUBSTANTIALLY thinner ( I know there's a even a super thinner version available at the supermarket) than the original restaurant HRI version. When I lived nearby the original Home Run Inn tavern, they were highly noted for being a "thick-thin" variety of the great Chicago non-deep dish pizza. That term seemed to have disappeared in their vernacular, however. I know it is hard for my great East Coast friends to imagine, but the HRI crust was thick BUT crispy and did NOT exist in a floppy, foldover fashion. Heaven forbid. It was tender, crispy, flavorful, delicious and a wonderful mouth tasting delight that tickled your tongue beyond imagination, more so that any NY thin crust could ever do (being a little sarcastic).
My "bucket list" includes re-trying Loo's HRI recipe.