For a neighborhood with a lot of chain restaurants, the area around the Lake Forest/Mission Viejo border has a lot of independent pizza places. Rubino's cheesy slices, with their bread stick-like crust, tend to be my favorite, but Big O To-Go, the two (totally-different) Cicero's and Biagio's all make decent slices, too.
One local joint, Serrano Pizza, closed awhile back and Brizio opened in its place touting “Chicago pan pizza.” I'm a fan of Midwest deep dish, but not too often do I eat its thinner cousin.
I used an $8.99 coupon to purchase a large 1-topping 14-inch pizza. The flyer with the coupon advertised fresh dough daily, sauce made in-house and a gluten-free option.
As it turns out, Brizio is the oily, over-sauced pizza of my youth. It's what I remember Pizza Hut tasting like before I became smart enough to chuck that greasy cardboard for good. The crisp crust is about an inch thick and turns your fingers into an oil slick. In one true nod to Chicago, the pepperoni was placed under the cheese–a practice I learned as a pizza maker at Chicago Chicago Pizza in Irvine (R.I.P). The sauce at Brizio is flavorful–oregano plays a big part–and the tomato leaves a bright, contrasting acidic flavor–the best component of the pizza.
With so many choices, Brizio will only pull me away from other local favorites once in a while. But, if you've been feeding your kids Pizza Hut, do them a favor and try this upgrade.
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