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Gapers Block published from April 22, 2003 to Jan. 1, 2016. The site will remain up in archive form. Please visit Third Coast Review, a new site by several GB alumni.
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Tuesday, August 9

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Review Wed Sep 15 2010

The Boiler Room Brings Heat, Indifference

Waiting on the California Blue Line platform can be a drag, but it gives me an opportunity to look at how the Logan Square neighborhood is changing. A few summers ago, a nondescript and ramshackle building was razed, and in its place grew the Logan Bar and Grill. My favorite corner grocery, which was always good for frozen plantains and reasonable milk prices, closed and gave way to a corporate bank branch. But a closed laundromat underneath the tracks stayed closed for a long stretch until a flurry of construction produced the Boiler Room, an industrial-themed bar and pizza place that fits well into the new face of the neighborhood. But is the food good?

I stopped in on a weeknight, deciding that enough time had passed for the kinks of irregular service and product to be ironed out. The interior is dark and apocalyptic; the shell of an actual boiler (or a damn good replica of one) is installed behind the bar, framing a gigantic flat screen TV playing a campy 80s movie (I can't remember if it was Twins or Blame it on Rio). I gingerly sat down at their bar on a chair made of woven seat belt material that I was sure would be uncomfortable and flimsy (I was half right) and waited for my order. I looked around at the reclaimed everything strewn about the dining room--old CTA train doors guard the bathrooms, aged-looking wood, and more of those damn chairs--and realized that the image of the Boiler Room may be a huge point-earner in its own right, but this place will get old quickly if the food is nothing to marvel over.

The menu consists mainly of thin-crust pizza, which is made in a Roto-Flex oven in an open-air kitchen in the corner. The selection isn't huge but does have appeal: the Egg, with a pesto and pancetta base; the neighborhood homage Logan (mole and pulled pork), and the eponymous slice, which I thought would be delicious: giardinera, PBR-infused meatballs, and oregano.

I was a bit disappointed. The Boiler Room slice was dry, mushy, and covered in corn meal; the Purist slice fared better with me, but I'll eat a rock if it has tomato, basil and balsamic smeared on it, so it was an easy sell. The Boiler Room has a lot riding on their $7.50 PBR special, which is a slice of pizza paired with a beer and shot of Jameson, which they have on tap (yech). While that is a small price to get you mildly sated and dangerously loaded, you can skip the hipster gimmickry and steer your party train up to Cafeteria Moran (Lyndale and California); the food is much better and you won't need the mood lighting.

Boiler Room
2210 North California
Cash only (but they'll ply you with a free shot of Jameson if you're forced to use the in-house ATM with a $3 surcharge)

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Anne / September 17, 2010 2:17 PM

I went with Lisa before the Devo show and thought it was alright. Certainly a boon for the area. The staff was nice and I thought the prices were great considering the size of slices and the beer (PBR tallboy) I had. Plus, everyone was really nice. Only thing I had issue with was sitting at a school desk where my knees had nowhere to go. I had to slide my chair out something considerable into the aisle. I'd go back again though. Good place for a pre-Congress show slice and cheap beer.

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Feature Thu Dec 31 2015

The State of Food Writing

By Brandy Gonsoulin

In 2009, food blogging, social media and Yelp were gaining popularity, and America's revered gastronomic magazine Gourmet shuttered after 68 years in business. Former Cook's Illustrated editor-in-chief Chris Kimball followed with an editorial, stating that "The shuttering of Gourmet reminds...
Read this feature »

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