Are you allowed to call yourself a "Chicago Pizzeria" if you don't serve the "typical deep dish pizza", as the server described it? I don't know. It's a free country so I guess you can call yourself whatever you want, but I was deflated when she said that. Pity, because Aurelio's is quite charming and evocative of old school pizza restaurants.The franchise takes pains to stay true to it's original style, a classic pizzeria from the late 1950s- red-checkered tabletops, chocolate-brown wood, black and white vintage photos of Chicago on the walls.
We ordered the closest thing to deep dish we could find on the menu, the 'thick crust', with pepperoni, onions and mushrooms on John's side, and anchovies and onions on my side. It was excellent pizza, not excessively greasy, crunchy on the outside, soft on the inside, well-balanced portions of our selected toppings.
Besides thin crust pizza and stuffed pizza, the menu offers something called "Mamma Aurelio's Calabrese", which is their own special version of a calzone. After my initial disappointment, I was an inch away from ordering it after one look at the over-sized turnover.They also offer generous salads, pasta dishes and sandwiches.
I have a strong suspicion that if one of these joints popped up in my neighborhood, I would do frequent business there in spite of the absence of deep dish pizza. I was momentarily discouraged, but they quickly regained my respect. Props for that.