Are you familiar with Hollywood Pies, the Chicago-style deep-dish pizza operation that operates in semi-secrecy? We were big fans when we got our first taste late last year outside a nondescript building west of downtown — a crispy, cheesy, sauce-drenched pizza that weighed about as much as a manhole cover.

Since opening in early 2011, Hollywood Pies has changed locations thrice: First was a small space in West Hollywood just off La Cienega, then a downtown location, then another unmarked address near the intersection of Pico and Robertson that popped up about a month ago.

The modus operandi at all three locations has been the same — call ahead for take-out, park on the street and wait for an employee to shuttle your pizza to you, or call for delivery. Either way your pizza emerges from an anonymous, unseen kitchen.

Why would anyone be concerned about a pizza joint that doesn't invest in an actual storefront? Because Hollywood Pies is probably the best approximation of Windy City pizza on the West Coast. (So accurate, in fact, when it first opened some belligerent Yelpers falsely accused the place of importing frozen Lou Malnati's.) The hallmarks are all here: a near-smothering layer of tangy tomato sauce with hints of oregano, an ivory slab of melted mozzarella, tiny bits of fennel-flecked sausage and a dense cornmeal crust that could double as a Kevlar vest. It might be better classified as lasagna than pizza.

Pizza-loving Westsiders should rejoice, though, as Hollywood Pies owner and Chi-town expat “Dave” has settled on the Pico-Robertson address as a permanent location and plans to add tables outside in the next few weeks — you know, in case people want to feel like they're not involved in some type of pizza-centric drug deal. Also arriving soon is a version of Chicago thin-crust pizza, which is currently in development. In the meantime, you can pick up any of the large pizzas at the discounted price of $17 Tuesday-Thursday, each of which probably is large enough to feed either a family of four or two stoned college students.

Pizza Box; Credit: G. Snyder

Pizza Box; Credit: G. Snyder

LA Weekly