CAMPTON HILLS – Breaking from work for lunch can be a fickle affair. If you need sustenance in a flash or an escape from the array of stresses brought on by the day job, Fio’s Pizzeria can satisfy either enterprise.
Strolling up through an entrance leading to what I could only assume is the takeout nook of the restaurant, my lunching companion and I were quickly greeted by an employee, who asked us whether we would like to eat outside and then directed us to walk around the building to the seemingly clandestine back patio.
The sun was shining, weather was temperate and having heard of Fio’s outdoor patio, we planned to make the most of what little summer remained by dining al fresco.
The restaurant portion of the pizzeria is located on the opposite side of the building facing Route 64 and LaFox Road from it’s corner location in Campton Hills.
The interior is intimate with hanging canopied linens and an unassuming bar sits in the corner as you enter, which answered earlier inquiries I had about whether or not alcohol was served at the restaurant.
The outdoor seating area had several tables atop an enclosed extension of the sidewalk, serving as the restaurant’s side patio. Scattered tiki torches broke up the iron fence containing the tables.
Blue and orange umbrella’s cast some much-needed shade across tabletops and added a pop of color. Sheryl Crow’s, “Strong Enough,” followed by an array of female-centric songs like Whitney Houston’s “Queen of the Nile” bellowed from a futuristic-looking stereo sitting on the ground. The only other noise came from a steady hum of traffic that proved to be hardly noticeable.
After asking for a recommendation from Fio’s list of mostly-fried appetizers such as Mozzarella Sticks, Fried Zucchini, Chicken Wings and Chicken Tenders, ranging in price from $2 to $8, we decided on Fio’s Fries tossed with garlic, Parmesan and olive oil. The fries took a little longer to come out than expected, but tasted cooked-to-order, which was a nice surprise and well worth a little waiting. Crispy outside, soft on the inside and evenly sprinkled with Parmesan cheese, Fio’s fries gave me yet another point in my reasoning behind why Parmesan cheese makes everything better.
Next came a Muffalata sandwich stacked with ham, capicola and an explosion of olive salad atop an Italian roll. My dining companion described the sandwich as being filling and packed with flavor with a bit of a kick to it. The cascading concoction of green and black olives towered over the meat stacks on the sandwich. If you’re an olive-lover, this is your sandwich – and at a ripe price of $7.95.
A smorgasbord of hot and cold sandwiches take up an entire side of the tri-fold menu brochure at Fio’s. Cold sandwiches cost either $6.95 or $7.95 and include options like the Godfather sandwich layered with mortadella, pepperoni, capicola and provolone cheese topped with onion, lettuce, tomato and Italian dressing, as well as a conventional Turkey sandwich, among others.
Hot sandwiches include options like a Meatball Sub, Italian Beef, Fio’s Hand-Carved Roasted Pork, and even a vegetarian sandwich with eggplant, zucchini red onions, mushrooms and provolone cheese.
Only the hot sandwiches come with a side of fries but are similarly priced aside from the $10.95 NY Strip Sandwich, which is an 8-ounce New York strip steak with grilled onions splayed with horseradish and mayo.
Moving on to the restaurant’s namesake item, its signature thin crust pizzas. Two people can easily share a small-sized pizza, but the sizes go up to extra large.
Pie prices start at $12.50 and go up to $28.50, depending on the size.
The mouthwatering S.O.B pizza, named not for the usual use of the acronym, but for its ingredients – sausage, onion and bacon – stole the show. A crispy crust with onions intermingled with melted cheese, inlayed with Fio’s signature sausage, and a layer of generously-sprinkled crispy bacon provided just the right amount of crunchy deliciousness.
I’m not one to usually order a meat-lovers-style pie, but after one bite was immediately glad I had.
The only negative I could find with the S.O.B was the onslaught of bees that decided to wreak havoc on our beacon of cheesy bliss.
More than a dozen other pizzas ranging from Hawaiian to Cheeseburger to the quintessentially Italian Margherita also are on the Fio’s menu.
Creat-your-own pasta dishes, salads, soups and calzones are also offered. Pasta dishes cost $5.50 for small plates and $8.50 for large; meat add-ons cost an additional $3. A Cesar Salad without chicken costs $6.95, and a cup of soup costs $3.50.
• The Mystery Diner is a newsroom employee at the Kane County Chronicle. The diner’s identity is not revealed to the restaurant staff before or during the meal. The Mystery Diner visits different restaurants during the month and then reports on the experience. If the Mystery Diner cannot recommend the establishment, we will not publish a review.