BRIENZO’S WOOD-FIRED PIZZA,
JUNCTION CITY SHOPPING MALL,
5901 N. PROSPECT RD, SUITE 2
PEORIA HEIGHTS, ILLINOIS
by Mike Foster
You never forget your first pie.
In 1962, mine was the thin-crust sausage, cheese, onion, and mushroom twelve-incher from Pizza De-Lite at the foot of Abington (now Fogelberg) Hill, a concrete-block building just south of the lower exit of Glen Oak Park, west of Woodruff High School, and north of the Glen Oak Swimming Pool, a favorite summer haunt of East Bluff schoolboys and girls.
Alas! The De-Lite is de-gone, like the pool and the high school. It struggled on for a while on Rt. 26 in Spring Bay, but decades ago, it vanished.
The fascination with East Peoria’s Davis Brothers and Sheridan Road’s Agatucci’s continues to elude us. For a few brief and shining years while Rick Malnati played basketball for Bradley University, Sheridan Village was home to a Lou Malnati’s Pizza, but Chicago-style deep-dish pizza was not a local taste.
The Peoria Pizza Works on Prospect Road in Peoria heights boasts a creditable deep-deep dish pie, including anchovies by request, specialty sandwiches, and a good selection of craft beers and stronger potables, like Hell-Cat Maggie Irish whiskey. It’s a popular spot for birthday parties, book groups, and live music.
In these parts, we take pizza seriously.
Our first visit to Brienzo’s was on Feb. 16, 2016, after a doctor visit that ended too late for my wife Jo and I to go on a movie date to see “Hail, Caesar” or the Oscar-nominated animated short films.
So we went over to Junction City to Brienzo’s Wood-Fired Pizzas for two ten-inch pies sloshed down with the house pinot noir.
Jo had pepperoni, sausage, mushrooms and I opted for meatball, sausage, and red peppers with an idea that we’d have leftovers to bring home for our daughter Martha.
And we did.
The thin crisp crust was splendid; it reminded us of Geneva and Milan.
The furniture was simple: several booths for four and tables and chairs.
The owners were convivial; we vowed to return.
And we have, sometimes for take-away.
Ten-inch pies (there are eight to choose from, or you can build your own four-ingredient choice—no anchovies, alas) cost $10.95. The Brienzo, Margerhrita, and Carnivore have been our favorites.
Five specialty pies go for $12.95.
Other dishes include the $7.95 Cheezta composed of garlic sauce or red sauce and cheese.
Five salads—spinach, Greek, arugula, Caesar, and garden—are available for $7 large and $4 small.
Desserts, apple crisp and “Peanut Butter Explosion,” can be had for $8.
Soft drinks cost $2.25 or $1.25 for a children’s size.
For more adult tastes, craft beers and wines on tap serves as suitable quaffs.
The $9.95 dine-in express lunch includes a nine-inch one-topping pizza, a small garden salad, and a soft drink served Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m.
Brienzo’s delivers to Peoria, East Peoria, and Washington but not, alas, to Metamora.
Phone 309.692.4181 for delivery, 309.966.4185 for carry-out, or order on-line at http://www.brienzos.order2eatpeoria.com.