A Good Crusty Trail: Garcia’s Pizza In a Pan In Champaign, IL

I love Chicago Style Pizza. You can’t beat flavors like that nor can you have a heartier pizza that just translates into pure comfort food. I’ve showcased some good pizza on this blog in that fashion. Joe’s, Giordano’s, and possibly others I could mention are excellent. However, only Joe’s and Giordano’s come to mind.

When I was four or five I can distinctily remember my mother and I being at Garcia’s Pizza In A Pan at Northwoods Mall in Peoria, IL and she introducing me to Pizza that will always outshine pizza hut and other thin crust pizzas to me. You can’t beat a deep dish pizza in my book. My craving for deep dish was oftentimes unslaked throughout adolescence. However in this decade I eat deep dish any chance I get.

So when one of my best friends, Austin Simpson suggested a journey to deep dish pizza, I said yes. Especially with it only being less than two hours away from Peoria. Champaign-Urbana is a fast run on I-74. Perfectly doable. So we did it. Instead of my old wagon, the BHC Eclipse, we took his car the ASC Civic. However, on the first leg of our journey, we saw a ghost.

My old car that we had taken to a two level outhouse.                

Glad I don’t have that car anymore, the thing was more trouble than it was worth. After a good drive of listening to Lambchop, and other indie groups we arrived at our destination. And I was getting hungry.



The interior of Garcia’s hadn’t changed too much. The trademark tomato balloon still floats like a sentinel over diners as they consume this chicago style pizza that sets a new standard for Chicago style pizza. Austin and I brought our appetites. So we started off with some individual slices of pizza. He had one with veggies, I had mine with just sausage as I was not in a veggie mood.


These thinner slices had great ingredients on every bite and excellent sauce, I don’t remember the food from that long ago, but this is pizza with rock solid quality and I’m liking what I’m having. I’m looking forward to the main course.


This deep dish pizza was the reason we came to Garcia’s! A rich and creamy sauce, cheese that was melted just right, spinach that was fresh, and sausage that was oh so savory. The crust tasted like a good beer bread with a malty-sweet finish that could not be beat. This rivals Giordano’s and possibly tops it. I liked what I had and so did Austin.

We will definitely be returning to a location closer to us soon.

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