By Cristian Torres
A good restaurants should provide an experience that make people want to come back. It needs a menu that stands out above the rest, great service, a nice theme, and a good location if it wants to stay in business.
Old Chicago on Campbell Ave. in Tucson, provides an enjoyable experience once the food you order hits right in front of you. Good food overcomes some of the problems of the restaurant, with which it has plenty, but I still have returned.
The biggest thing is, sometimes you might have a wait before seating, since there might not be someone to greet you at the entrance, where the cooking smells, herbs and spices, make the wait frustrating. Rest assured, eventually, you will be seated and given a menu.
Old Chicago’s menu changes a lot, for good and bad reasons. The restaurant tends to add new stuff, which introduces variety, but on the other hand, it can seem that there are too many choices. Myself, I’m awfully fond of the standby “Meat Me Calzone,” filled with sliced Canadian bacon, Italian sausage, andouille sausage, pepperoni, basil, mozzarella, ricotta, and Asiago cheeses.
The starters consist of the usual nachos, calamari, cheese curds, and even Sicilian pepperoni rolls, but they are not worth the price. They cost nearly the same amount as some of the main dishes. Order the pepperoni rolls for $8.29, and you only get seven.
The sign says “Pizza and Taproom.” When you go to the website, the first line you read is: “Old Chicago Tucson is known for our great pizza and friendly staff.” But, everyone I know who has visited the restaurant believes that the burgers are the best bet. The pizza is among the most expensive items on the menu, and frankly does not meet expectations. Instead of ordering pizza, everyone I know orders the Wisky Bacon Burger or the Crafted Burger. The pizza is not bad, but from my point of view, burgers and calzones rule here.
The service could be better. Sometimes, waiters that try too hard to be nice, or some just don’t care and want to get out of there. At times, they make it seem like they are really busy when it’s clear they are not. Though they tend to take your order promptly, and rarely make mistakes, the problems surfaces when you ask for a special order – for example. a separate cup of ranch, marinara, or even bleu cheese. When you really want that extra ranch, you have to ask the waitress a couple of times as she passes by. After a couple of attempts, they will bring it, but you are half-way through your food.
Good food takes time to make, and the taste, the ingredients, and the smell greatly overshadows the wait for your order. The variety of macaroni and cheese, Buffalo wings, calzones, burgers, and even salads, makes me come back, not the pizza and the bar.