102 E Main Street, Saint Charles IL 60174
I was working and was talking to a couple of regulars that I have. We’ve had many talks about pizza in the past. They suggested that we go to Riverside Pizza and Pub in Saint Charles. It was a Monday and they said the pizza is half off on Monday. So I planned to join them over there once I was off work. And if I could hurry I could get over there before the end of happy hour. I was off at five and there by five-thirty.
Now I’m going to start this review off by saying that about 90 minutes after I got home I was running a fever, something I haven’t had in over 20 years. I only mention it for two reasons; one to apologize to those that ate with me if they got sick and secondly who knows how a cold might have effected my refined palette. This obviously wasn’t the fault of the pizzeria.
Riverside is located in beautiful downtown Saint Charles; at least one of their two locations are. It’s on the corner of First Avenue and Main Street in a building that I would guess is at least 100 years old. I walked in the main entrance. Along the left is a series of tables. In my opinion there was one table too many. I could see that if it was full the seating would be real tight. Along the right side was some video slots near the door and then a full bar that seats about ten. There were some TVs as well as a large specials chalkboard. There were even tap handles lining the ceiling.
Toward the back was kitchen as well as restrooms and a set of stairs. Apparently there is a second story to this pizza pub. I was told it was closed that night for a private event so I was wasn’t able to scope it out, but was told there’s more tables, another bar, and bathrooms up there as well.
My friends were already sitting at a table when I walked in. I sat down and joined them. We talked over what we were going to get as they had already eaten not that long ago. I ordered a beer from the server when he dropped off their drinks. I was in time for the pub’s happy hour, so their drafts were $3.50. My beer came a little later, then after another minute of deciding we ordered. Dedicated readers of this blog know that I like a spinach, mushroom, garlic combo on my pizza once in a while. They had a specialty pizza with spinach, tomato, and garlic. I asked if I could just order the specialty and substitute mushrooms for tomato. He said I could not. Even though I don’t like tomatoes as a topping (it’s redundant) I went with the specialty in the 10-inch personal size double crust. My friend’s pizza was a 10-inch thin crust with meatballs and onion. He also ordered his well done with extra sauce. I should have made note of that.
They came out in a reasonable amount of time. (I do really need to remember to time these places.) As you can see there is a big difference on the bakes between these two. I definitely should have ordered mine well done also. Two of my toppings, the spinach and tomatoes, are heavy on the water, so that didn’t help with the browning of the cheese.
OK, cheese, plenty of cheese. And the thin crust was perfectly browned for my liking. The sauce lacked flavor for me; it was a little thicker than I like also. The toppings were plentiful and tasty. I was allowed a couple of pieces of my friend’s pizza and the meatball had good flavor. I generally like the double dough but in this instance I don’t think I would get it again. Riverside has five types of crust; in addition to the thin and double dough they have pan, chicago deep dish, and stuffed crust. I think I would try the chicago style next time.
All in all I’d say it was good. I’m definitely going to give it a try again, especially when I’m not coming down with a cold. I also want to see what the upstairs looks like. And you can’t beat half price pizza and happy hour. Damage for my pizza and a couple pints of craft beer came to $14.59.