Bricks Wood Fired Pizza—Rock Solid, Red Hot

February 2014 View more


As one walks into the latest outpost of the Bricks Wood Fired Pizza mini-chain (Naperville is the third location, following Wheaton and Lombard), focus is naturally drawn to the massive copper-clad oven that serves as the wood-burning heart and soul of the operation – not to mention the imposing centerpiece of the physical space. The size of this contraption alone would command attention at any time of the year, but in February, with the wind whipping across the iron-hard earth outside, it’s the radiating warmth of that giant kettle that makes the bone-chilling walk from even a nearby parking space well worth the effort.

An Embarrassment of Riches

Bricks---2014_4In all honesty, at this time of year, they could just as well be pulling old shoes or pieces of molten glass out of that glowing orange cave and still draw an audience. The good news for those in search of both a little warmth and a good meal, is that Bricks has instead arrived to join the swelling ranks of restaurateurs specializing in the thin blistered-crust pizzas that so often emerge from these types of furnaces. If being buried in Neapolitan-style pizza is wrong, apparently Naperville just doesn’t want to be right. But having too many pizza places from which to choose will never be a valid complaint, and, more importantly, Bricks isn’t simply latching onto a hot local culinary trend with its imposing oven—these people know their pie.

Bricks---2014The basic setup here is casual and unassuming, with a counter-order and self-seat system. Nothing fancy, but then that seems to be the idea. On the night we visited, a looming curtain time on our theater tickets gave us pause as to whether a pizza order was the right choice for expediency, but we soon discovered that a perfectly chewy crust wasn’t the only benefit of that roaring fire—those pizzas were making the journey from raw material to piping-hot perfection in no time flat.

Greater Than Pie

Given the hearty selection of appetizers, salads and sandwiches available, we had plenty of non-pizza choices, if so inclined. But while we split a generous chopped salad and a trio of garlicky bread sticks as opening acts, we couldn’t resist the aromatic draw of the headlining thin-crust beauties emerging from that fiery maw.

Bricks---2014_3From among a wide array of tempting selections—including a Chicago-style roast beef daily special with peppers and giardinera—we opted for what has become something of a staple in the canon—chicken, red onions and smoked Gouda atop a canvas of tangy barbecue sauce. This isn’t a pizza for all tastes, as some traditionalists likely couldn’t imagine parting with the bedrock toppings and standard red sauce, but for those so inclined, this was an exemplary take on the BBQ chicken form.

The rest of the pizza menu showcases an additional baker’s dozen of intriguing possibilities, from an artichoke-pesto-roasted-pepper combination to a garlic-prosciutto-arugula “white” pizza to the Sunnyside Up, featuring applewood smoked bacon and two fried eggs. But there’s plenty of room for an amateur pizza chef to scratch his or her creative itch here as well, with a laundry list of fresh meats, cheeses and vegetables available to mix and match on the build-your-own slate.
No matter the combination up top, however, it all comes back to the quality of the thin, blistered, chewy crust with this particular style of pizza. And the quality of the crust at Bricks comes back to the heat being generated in that hulking brick oven, which is enough to warm a diner in more ways than one.

Bricks Wood Fired Pizza
1763 Freedom Drive