National Pizza Month: Roots Chef Series Brings Out the Big Guns

What do Antique Taco, Elizabeth, Acanto, and Perennial Virant have in common? Not only are they all exceptional, destination-worthy restaurants in their own rights, but their respective chefs are all participating in this month's Roots Chef Series, wherein guest chefs custom design pizzas at the West Town pizzeria and bar. For National Pizza Month, Roots Handmade Pizza is calling in the big guns, drawing talent from across the city to concoct highly unique and exciting pizzas like never before. 

Antique Taco
(Antique Taco's entry to the Roots Chef Series)

These specialty pizzas are available now through October 31, starting at 5:00 p.m., with a portion of proceeds going towards Un86'd, a local charity designed to provide financial support for restaurant professionals in need. The Chef Series rages on with the following specialty pizzas: 

Iliana Regan, the renowned chef behind Lincoln Square's esteemed Elizabeth, breaks away from fine dining for a hot minute to cook up an Elizabeth pizza bedecked with Iowa prosciutto, fermented Michigan blueberries, housemade mozzarella, housemade ricotta, Roots red sauce, epazote, and oxalis. 

Ed Sura of Perennial Virant combines crispy bacon, roasted Brussels sprouts, roasted delicata squash, goat cheese, garlic conserva, and crispy sage for his pizza. 

Acanto's Chris Gawronski goes big and bold with the curiously intriguing combination of garlic shrimp, port-Kalamata olive puree, roasted cipollini onions, roasted apples, pickled fennel, shaved Parmesan, and Quad Cities mozzarella blend. 

Martin Arellano of The Fifty/50 ups the ante on classic bar food with his pizza, made with breaded boneless chicken wings, Fifty/50's housemade buffalo sauce, housemade bleu cheese, bleu cheese crumbles, and shaved celery. 

And for dessert, pastry chef Chris Teixeira is serving West Town Bakery pizzas with apple butter, pecan streusel, caramel sauce, and cinnamon-sugar malt crust. 

This roster joins the three Roots Chef Series staples on the menu, which include the Homestead on the Roof pizza by Chris "Chip" Davies featuring braised beef short rib, giardiniera, roasted corn, pickled fennel, housemade ricotta, Quad Cities mozzarella blend, and Roots red sauce; the Antique Taco pizza by Rick Ortiz with chorizo chili, Brunkow cheddar cheese curds, Chihuahua cheese, Quad Cities mozzarella blend, pickled jalapenos, pickled onions, avocado cream, tortilla strips, black olives, and scallions; and Charlie McKenna's Lillie's Q pizza made with pulled pork, hot smoky BBQ sauce, Quad Cities mozzarella blend, and Carolina Dirt BBQ rub. 
- Matt Kirouac