Old Chicago Pasta and Pizza
111 Wolf Road, Colonie NY [other locations nationwide]
Open 7 days a week, 11:00 am – 1:00 am
Tap Selection: While Old Chicago may be a chain restaurant, its beer selection is most assuredly un-chainlike. One of Old Chicago’s features is a beer tour that offers a variety of rewards for consuming any number of different beers that they feature. While this does include a number of macrobrewed beers (Budweiser, Coors Light, and others of their ilk), the tap selection also included some imported craft brews (Hoegaarden), American microbrews (Boulder Brewing was featured, as was Long Trail), as well as some seasonals (Brooklyn’s Post Road Pumpkin Ale). A detailed beer list is available at each table, and a beer menu is available on their website.
Food: Despite the beer tour, this is a restaurant first and foremost. On our most recent visit, we decided to focus on Old Chicago’s self-ascribed specialty – pizza. We split a large Hawaiian deep-dish pizza; while the sauce and toppings were good, the crust was disappointingly un-deep-dish like. It was served in a pan, but it tasted a lot like a premade Domino’s crust, and was not tremendously thick. Disappointing. That being said, the menu itself looks promising, with a great variety of pasta and sandwiches in addition to pizza.
Ambience: The Wolf Road branch of Old Chicago is located in a former gym (“The Fitness Factory”). In what I would assume to be a direct connection to this, this Old Chicago restaurant looks like a chain restaurant that was built inside a gym. The ceiling looks like other area fitness centers, complete with industrial-looking vents and ducts that look like the ones at the heart of the Martin Lawrence movie “Blue Streak.” The rest of the space is standard chain-restaurant stuff – nothing fancy. Of particular note, though, is the game room – almost half of the space here is dedicated to an I-Play game room. We played skee-ball and mini-bowling when we were there – it was fun! That being said, the game room is separate enough from the restaurant that you can avoid spending time there if you so choose.
Vicinity: Old Chicago is located on Wolf Road, which is Albany’s main location for hotels and chain restaurants; this strip includes Outback Steakhouse, Olive Garden, Fuddrucker’s, and other chain eateries as well as a number of hotels, as well as the revamped Colonie Center shopping mall. Quite suburban and extremely family-friendly.
Specials: Old Chicago has two separate happy hours, one during the standard, end-of-the-workday time, and another late-night happy hour (10 pm to midnight)! Happy hours come with drink and food specials, including cheap appetizers (mini-portions of pizza and nachos) and a number of cheap draft beers (although not all are included in this deal, so check with your server).
Extras: We’re fans of the beer tour and the fact that you can – if you so choose – play skee-ball here.
Verdict: Pretty cool, you know, for a chain restaurant.
Thursday, November 01, 2007
Old Chicago Pasta and Pizza