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REVIEW: Chicago’s Pizza With-A-Twist Nails Indian American Fusion (Subscriber Content)


New to Reno, Chicago’s Pizza With-A-Twist offers your favorite pizzeria dishes married with popular Indian fare. Just about every dish on the menu, whether it’s pizza, wings or pasta, can be ordered with typical pizzeria flavors or with Indian American-fused flavors. Although the restaurant name might suggest exemplary deep-dish pizza, they do not offer that variety of pie. Instead, they serve medium-deep pan pizza and naan pizza. Vegan cheese, cauliflower crust and egg-free options are also available.

Chicago’s Pizza With-A-Twist Successfully Combines Old, New, Here and There

Upon entering the restaurant on a Saturday at noon, a friendly employee welcomed me and my wife as the first customers of the day. Three flat screen televisions display the static menu above the ordering counter at the front. The employee offered us take-out menus for easier reading.

The interior of the restaurant was immaculate, and it featured pizzeria staples such as a pool table, jukebox, sports on some big screens, temporary tattoos and arcade games. The whole joint is well-branded, and large prints of Chicago cityscapes line the walls.

Samosas, green chutney and mango habanero sauce.
Oven-baked samosas, green chutney and mango habanero sauce.
Image: Kaitlin Young.

The restaurant owner was unavailable for comment, but I discovered some tidbits about the franchise origin story through some online sleuthing.

According to Franchise America, Harpreet Dahyia founded Chicago’s Pizza With A Twist, Inc. in 2014. The franchise started out in California and has since branched out to Virginia, New Jersey, New York, Washington and Nevada. Locations are in the works for Indiana.

According to Franchise Direct, diners should expect many staple Indian spices and aromatics including: “garlic, ginger, turmeric, cumin seeds, cilantro, black pepper, nutmeg, cloves, cardamom, [and] fenugreek.”

The restaurant has a wide reach with offerings that will satisfy those looking for a classic pie, hot wings and beer as well as those looking for aromatic spices, samosas and fresh produce.

Toothsome Appetizers

We ordered the Shahi Paneer Naan Pizza for $8.99, a small (10”) Tandoori Chicken Pizza for $11.99, an order of the oven-baked samosas for $6.99, six Tikka Masala wings for $5.99 and two fountain drinks for $1.69 each.

The restaurant manager and cashier, seemingly the only employees on staff at the time, tag-teamed the cooking of our order. It was great to see our food arrive so expeditiously.

The interior of a samosa.
The interior of a samosa at Chicago’s Pizza With-A-Twist.
Image: Kaitlin Young.

The first dish to arrive was the samosas. Most of the samosas around town seem to be fried, so I was curious to see how I would enjoy a baked variety. I should note, too, that many cultures cook something akin to samosas. The gist is a baked or fried pastry typically filled with savory ingredients, sometimes including meat and sometimes not. The variety at Chicago’s Pizza With-A-Twist (CPWAT) included mashed spuds, a variety of spices and peas.

The restaurant serves the samosas with a green chutney and a mango habanero sauce. The pastries were crisp and tender in all the right places. The filling was well-seasoned and packed well. I thought the sauces were delectable. The chutney was bright, herbaceous and had a surprising amount of heat. The mango habanero sauce had a distinct mango fragrance and a nice sweet, heat. One order includes four good-sized samosas. This dish is sure to work its way into my regular rotation.

Next up were the Tikka Masala wings. Before diving in, I admired the careful plating. There wasn’t a single drop or smear of sauce out of place atop the rectangular, white plate. Nicely done, crew! Those who demand crisp wings should look elsewhere, but anyone else with an open mind will dig these wings. The flavor of the sauce didn’t remind me especially of Tikka Masala, but I also don’t order the traditional dish often. The wings tasted of BBQ sauce, buffalo sauce and a hint of tomato. All things considered, my wife and I both really enjoyed the dish.

Tikka Masala chicken wings.
Tikka Masala chicken wings. Image: Kaitlin Young.

The Naan and Pan Pizzas Hold Their Own

The franchise name may not describe the variety of cuisine with total clarity, but when the food is good, it’s easier to stomach confusing nomenclature. I’d like to think the rationale behind the name was to inspire suspense. What twist does this eatery hold? Are we talking a Soylent Green kind of twist, a Dee Snider kind of twist or just some fusion dishes?

Shahi Paneer Naan Pizza and Tandoori Chicken Pizza.
Shahi Paneer Naan Pizza and Tandoori Chicken Pizza. Image: Kaitlin Young.

The first pie to arrive was the Shahi Paneer naan pizza. The size seemed to be commensurate with the cost. When I ordered this variety, admittedly, I was hoping to see a somewhat leavened flat bread with ample leopard-spotting or general charring topped with pizza ingredients.

Upon arrival, the pizza wasn’t especially thin or charred, but it was colorful, and it had a nice, oval shape. The pizza was topped with a creamy butter sauce, mozzarella, paneer, diced red onion, fresh cilantro, green chilies and fresh ginger. Although the crust didn’t have the tear-and-chew quality I sought, the flavor of the toppings was fantastic. The pizza left me wondering why fresh ginger isn’t on more pizzas worldwide.

The Tandoori Chicken Pizza featured tandoori sauce, cubes of tandoori chicken, mozzarella cheese, mushrooms, red onion, garlic, ginger, cilantro and green chilies. The size, here, too, seemed to match the cost. We ordered “some spice” for this one. Next time, we’ll order max-spice. The crust of this pan pizza was dusted with semolina or corn meal – a nice touch reminiscent of Windy City-style pies.

I had hoped to taste some tang and heat on the chicken from yogurt and chilies, but it more so just tasted like baked chicken. The produce and crust really stole the show. In particular, I really liked the mushrooms, ginger and red onion together.

 Tandoori Chicken Pizza
Small (10″) Tandoori Chicken Pizza. Image: Kaitlin Young.

The staff will bring a home-style, squeeze bottle of ranch to your table without request. If you get freaky with ranch, do your thing, but I highly recommend dipping your pizza in the green chutney. The pizzas are tasty on their own, but the heat and acidity in the chutney add something special to the pies.

Chicago’s Pizza With-A-Twist’s Details

Visit Chicago’s Pizza With-A-Twist at 2900 Clear Acre Lane, Suite A, Reno, NV 89512. Call in your take-out order at 775-824-5300. Operating hours are Sunday through Thursday from 10:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Visit them online at chicagospizzatwist.com. Bring your student I.D. for a 10% discount.

Kyle Young
Kyle Younghttp://www.grpnv.com
Kyle Young is a local freelance writer. He offers content writing, blog posts, copywriting, and editing services. His current writing foci are food, cooking, and the oddities native to Reno, Sparks, and Tahoe. He graduated from the University of Nevada, Reno with a bachelor’s degree in English writing. He gained some food chops while working as a dishwasher, line-cook, and food-truck operator. He learned quality control, imports/exports, and logistics at a local spice and seasoning manufacturer. When not hustling as a writer, he plays Scrabble, cooks, wrangles three pups, and attends live music/comedy with his wife.