Local Treasure: Freddy's Pizzeria

Disorganized but delicious

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By David Hammond

I’ve been going to Freddy’s Pizzeria for about 10 years now; aside from a roof and glass sides for the outdoor seating area, it has not changed at all in that time, and I suspect it’s been more or less the same place since Day One.

At any given lunchtime, Freddy’s Pizzeria is packed with people – average Joes, moms, cops, construction workers – waiting in a somewhat disorganized queue with no discernable end. But to a person I’m sure they’d agree that it’s worth the wait for Italian deliciousness prepared by Joe Quercia and family, who make the food and tend the counter.

I’ve affectionately referred to Freddy’s as the Zabar’s of Cicero because this small, friendly grocery store cum lunch counter offers dry goods such as olive oil and pasta, as well as a display case of antipasti and hot dishes you can take away or eat on the premises.

Primi include a very fine chickpea salad, heart-challenging slices of salami in oil, and buffalo mozzarella with basil and tomato--the last, one of the clearest expressions of Italian culinary genius, supremely and superbly simple, laid back but full of flavor.

I’ve sometimes thought I’d rather eat my toe than another plate of pasta Alfredo, but the rigatoni here is dressed with light cream, just a little cheese, and a few peas--I’d order it again, especially with some sauteed rapini (Italian broccoli) on the side. The lasagna is quite delicate, house-made noodles layered softly over fluffy ricotta and discreetly covered with a chunky, conservatively seasoned tomato sauce.

Rather than being cracker crisp, the pizza crust is a good slice of puffy Italian loaf smeared with cheese and sausage (or any of seven or eight other options). The folks at Freddy’s bake their breads in a range of shapes and sizes, and there's an array of Italian ices and gelati, ethereally creamy and, like most offerings here, made in the back.

For lunch, I usually get rapini, sausage and peppers in oil, and some bread – I also grab a loaf of bread to bring home.

Freddy’s stands the test of time, a neighborhood place that offers deliciousness in a friendly, family environment, a local treasure.


Freddy’s Pizzeria

1600 South 61st Avenue

Cicero, Illinois 60804


Reader Comments

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Comment Policy

epic lulz  

Posted: August 26th, 2011 8:36 PM

Mod needs to remove mv113's libelous insinuation. (Sorry, but adding "just saying" doesn't make you not a meathead.)

mv113 from OP  

Posted: August 26th, 2011 4:20 PM

Just to claify I'm not saying this is what is happening.

mv113 from OP  

Posted: August 26th, 2011 4:14 PM

Cash only is also a great way to avoid taxes. Ring it up a little under, or don't ring it up at all, and there is no record of the sale.

David Hammond from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: August 26th, 2011 12:05 AM

Trying to figure out which of my "friends" is posing as Freddy's Cashier. I have a pretty good guess (and, oh yeah, it's on).

Freddy's Cashier from Cicero  

Posted: August 25th, 2011 8:26 PM

I have dealt with David Hammond for years, and my review of him is less favorable than the one he give. For one, he is an absolute weirdo. He always demanded ketchup to put on his pizza, I mean who does that? He also winks at me constantly. Maybe he has a lazy eye but it is creepy.

Rosann from Westchester  

Posted: August 25th, 2011 10:59 AM

I grew up patronizing Freddy's when it was just a little Italian food store and lemonade stand. The food is still great tasting and high quality and superior to most high priced known Italian restaurants. Freddy's is a Cicero Icon.

Susannah from Oak Park   

Posted: August 17th, 2011 8:17 AM

I totally understand about the cash only element. I was giving a heads up to people who have not been there yet.

Melissa from OakPark.com/EmpoweredParent  

Posted: August 16th, 2011 10:44 PM

Meatballs - superb!

Sp Tu  

Posted: August 16th, 2011 3:49 PM

Everything here is delicious. I love the Gelato!

David Hammond from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: August 16th, 2011 12:12 PM

Cash speeds up the process, Susannah, and that's an important concern at a place like this, with a long queue characterized by Italianate levels of chaos. I'd almost always rather use a card, but I understand why they want cash (plus, it costs them nothing for each transaction and so they avoid the fees that Visa and others credit card companies charge vendors -- that's important for a small store).

Ken from Oak Park  

Posted: August 16th, 2011 12:00 PM

Freddy's is great. So many good things to choose from. My favorite is the lemon chicken. Don't forget the gellato!

Susannah from OakPark   

Posted: August 16th, 2011 11:52 AM

The food here is YUMMY and worth the wait. The only thing is that you can only pay in cash. Love the pasta dishes, this place has been at the location forever, it was nice to bring my teen daughter with me so show her where I grew up and where to get some great food and Italian ice can be found!

@localop_sarah from Oak Park  

Posted: August 16th, 2011 11:30 AM

I'm so hungry now...adding this spot to my list.

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