The Chicagoist will be launching later but in the meantime please enjoy our archives.

South Side Cheap Eats: Papa T's Italiano

By Chuck Sudo in Food on Mar 14, 2006 3:00PM

2006_03_papats.jpgChicagoist wanted to get out of the neighborhood for brunch on Sunday. We thought about heading down to Blue Island's Maple Tree Inn, but remembered that the junior varsity was out en masse. Eventually we decided to hop on a train and take our chances.

We caught a Green Line train to Ashland and 63rd, then headed west on 63rd until we came across this beautiful looking building with some of the most unfortunate neon signage we've ever encountered. Papa T's Italiano takes up what looks like it used to be either a failed Mexican bakery or restaurant. With its row of cashier booths and thick glass partitions it also could also have been a bank or a pawn shop. Like most pizza joints of its ilk Papa T's has a little something for everyone: pizza and pasta, barbecue, ribs, burgers, submarine sandwiches, and appetizers. Usually we take that as a sign that the food falls into the "gut buster" category: serviceable but not memorable. But we were so hungry that cashier's asking if we wanted cheese on our gyro platter failed to sound the alarm.

2006_03_papats3.jpgThe six-dollar gyros platter was an study in gluttony, and not a very good one. It was two pita bread slices loaded with gyros meat, fresh onions and tomatoes, a cup of tzatiki sauce, and a small order of fries so hot they felt like they were prepared in a volcano. The meat was overcooked, lacking even the greasy texture one expects from the worst gyros, while the fries made up for any unsaturated fat the gyros meat lacked. We fear we may have taken yet another week off our life eating this meal.

Not wanting to let one meal spoil our opinion we asked a family going home after afternoon mass about the pizza they ordered. The mother informed us that it wasn't her favorite pizza, but that her four children aren't at an age where they're concerned about good pizza; if it comes as a slice and is covered with tomato sauce and cheese her kids will eat it.

We all know the adage about opinions, so go form your own at Papa T's Italiano. They're located at 2843 W. 63rd Street and their phone number is (773) 436-1700.