I just wanted to let everyone know I tried the newest HRI last night on Archer Ave. in Chicago. I have not had HRI in a few years so here are my comments on the pizza.I'm NOT a hoity toity food critic so please bear with me. A BIG disappointment! It is nothing like the HRI I knew and grew up with. First the crust. VERY "yeasty" tasting. A bit thicker than it used to be. Almost bread like. They (had) one of the best crusts out there. It was almost like a pre-made crust. Very similar to their frozen pizzas. The sauce...good but doesn't taste the same. (I talked to a worker several years ago who said HRI uses only Stanislaus Food Products "Full Red" sauce for their pizza. I'm not an expert on all pizza sauces but am familiar with many of the standards.)The sausage was actually decent. Good flavor, not too spicy. The cheese was good too. Overall I'd give the pizza a grade of C.
Maybe HRI is a victim of it's own success. Doesn't it seem that whenever a place expands from it's original roots the quailty goes down? I had a close friend run a small hotdog, burger,beef place years ago and he said many places lose business whenever they change or alter their items to save money or in his case when the supplier of many of his products went out of business. He told me that when he found out that his distributor/supplier closed the "fat lady was starting to sing" for his business. Sure enough in less than a month he lost almost 40% of his business and never recovered.
Maybe this is what happened to HRI. I hope they didn't change to save $$$. This company is a goldmine 10 times over!!! Maybe it was case of their suppliers going under or changing their products.
In closing will I go back to HRI again? Probably no and it breaks my heart to say so. I have been going there since I was a little kid to the original on 31st. Thankfully I have several other favorite pizza places of mine on the south side that I can stick with since they haven't changed after all these years. Falco's on 39th and California (very similar in taste to the old HRI!!!), Palermo's on 63st, Vito&Nick at 84th Pulaski, Pizza Castle on 55st.