You know every once in awhile you come across a place that you've just passed on by for years...and then once you've been there you think what a fool you've been for not discovering it earlier.
I've lived in SoCal now for 21 years, 16 in south Orange County. I am always on a quest for great pizza, thin or thck crust, and sausage is my preferred topping. Having grown up in Chicago, I think I have an idea of what good pizza is in multiple styles, and while I have touted a couple of deep dish places in SoCal, the lack of more really good thin crust pizza has astounded me.
That being said, the other night we wound up at BG Emilio's in Lake Forest after taking my son bowling for his 7th birthday. A non-descript storefront in an aging strip mall, I had heard some good things about it but had never been. Wow! It's the real deal. No antiseptic SoCal gloss-look...this is a "pizza joint" reminiscent of old-time Shakey's or, for some like me from Chicago...Barnaby's. Booths and picnic table style benches, a long counter where you can order, pick up and watch pizzas being made...but best of all, a thin crust pizza that's as good as I've had in a long time. Good crisp crust, not overly thin, flavorful sauce, good sausage, and a nice balance of crust, cheese, sauce and toppings. My parents were visiting from Chicago and even they commented on this being a very good pizza, one of the best they can remember having in SoCal.
I'm looking forward to a return visit this weekend to see if it holds up as well on a 2nd visit. Note: They have a pizza/salad buffet on Tues nights and Family Karaoke on Thurs and Sat.
23364 El Toro Road (at Jeronimo in the Long's Drug Store center)
Lake Forest, CA 92630