Home Run Inn
7521 Lemont Rd, Darien, IL, USA

When I lived in Chicago, my experience of Home Run Inn® was exclusively through its frozen pizzas (which you can get in pretty much any grocery store nationwide) as opposed to its actual restaurants. When I moved to Southern California, Home Run pizzas, when I could find them, became something of a treat, a little taste of home, back before I lost my home in the recession and had to hitchhike my way to Northern California, where my wages as a migrant worker in some of the state's least arable wine fields earn me enough to save up for one Home Run pizza per year.

So it was an extra treat to actually get some Home Run action straight from the source, as I was back in Chicagoland following extradition for a nineteen-year-old rape and murder that I had convinced myself would remain in the cold case files forever. On my last night of freedom before surrendering myself to the authorities, my family and I decided to splurge and order a couple of delicious butter-crust Home Run pizzas from the location in Darien.

Two large pizzas, one all sausage, the other mushroom and green olives. This ran us about $45, which is a lot in this economy, but not so much for my step-brother, whose recession-proof job (he's in fake ID's) allows for a little mad money.

Now, I'm a huge fan of frozen Home Runs, but I was scarcely prepared for the decadent glory of the real deal. Piping hot, cooked perfectly with the cheese almost browned, and toppings beyond generously loaded, the pizzas were absolutely stellar, reducing everyone in the room to just making grunts and mumbling "'Ssrealllygoood."

I don't know how long it will be until I'll have another Home Run pizza – could be 18 years, could be never – but I can wholeheartedly recommend it to you as one of the rare Chicago pizza places that managed to go big without losing a whit of what originally made it good.

Review by Eric Lingus, November 2010