Home Run Inn Pizza – a Chicago tradition for 75+ years – NBC Chicago

Those who grew up with Chicago’s Home Run Inn pizza can thank Mary Grittani.

After running a tavern in the South Lawndale community for more than 20 years, she and her son-in-law, Nick Perrino, opened a pizzeria in the same location in 1947.

“The story goes that my grandfather didn’t speak English, he was from Italy, a ball from across the park broke the window, he shouted ‘home run’ so it became the Home Run Inn – the Home Run Inn Tavern,” Perrino’s grandson said. and Home Run Inn President Dan Costello. “He’s starting to do it, to give away, so we used the pizza at first as popcorn, to get people in, enjoy it and eventually people started coming in and asking for it.”

The old building had to be completely redone, although it still has the tiffany lamps upstairs, so now the pizzeria can be even more efficient at making its tavern-style pies.

“The whole point of the pizza was to give it away, so they cut it into small pieces, put it on cocktail napkins instead of plates just for people to taste it, that’s how it was used to attract people in the tavern,” Costello said. “So a lot of pizzerias will make their dough, use it the same day; our dough in our restaurants is usually 48 hours old. So it just allows for fermentation, it creates flavor.”

The crimping, much like that of Barnaby on the North Shore, is also a nice touch. Thin and seasoned tomato sauce; pinched and pressed sausage, handfuls of shredded mozzarella, weighed for consistency, then baked on a conveyor oven until bubbling and golden brown.

As part of Home Run Inn’s 75th anniversary this year, the company wanted to give back to the community. So she contacted the City of Chicago Department of Family Support Services.

“And she coordinated with them to donate 10,000 of our pizzas over a four or five month period. We will continue through October with organizations like Early Childhood Development, Centers for the Aged and Homeless Chicago working with the city to make sure these distribution points are running smoothly,” said Costello.

The pizzas are available nationwide in frozen aisles, but Costello says they never forgot the community that has supported them over the years, which is why they wanted to return the favor.

“I think ultimately it’s the right thing to do,” he said.

Home Run Inn has grown to 10 locations in the area, along with its frozen pies in grocery stores nationwide.

Here is where you can go to taste the tavern-style pizza:

Home Run Inn Pizza – 10 area locations

pizza party

July 23-24