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‘Zero-carb, gluten-free pizza the shtick at Eshticken

The White pizzEshticken is topped with an alfredo-like creamy sauce ricottspinach mushrooms garlic. | Richard A. Chapman ~ sun-times

The White pizza at Eshticken is topped with an alfredo-like creamy sauce, ricotta, spinach, mushrooms and garlic. | Richard A. Chapman ~ sun-times

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ESHTICKEN PIZZA ★

4660 Hoffman Blvd., Hoffman Estates

(847) 747-0000;

www.eshticken.com

Prices: Appetizers: average $5.35; pizza: $18.59-mid-$20s; dessert: $3.59-$4.90.

Hours: 11 a.m.-9 p.m., Sunday-Thursday; 11 a.m.-10 p.m., Friday-Saturday.

Try: White pizza, traditional and zero-carb crust versions available.

Tips: Free parking. Sit-down or carry out. Alcohol not served but BYOB is permissible. No delivery service yet, but it is under consideration.

In a bite: Pizza fans watching their carbohydrates can eat their favorite food guilt-free at Eshticken Pizza, which serves a groundbreaking zero-carb version that was two years in development. Traditional pizza also is on the menu.

KEY: ★★★★ Extraordinary;
★★★ Excellent; ★★ Very Good;
★ Good; Zero stars: Poor

Eshticken, the tongue-twister name given a casual pizza parlor that opened earlier this year in Hoffman Estates, isn’t all that’s unusual about the business founded by Mohamed Aly and his wife, Eman.

As diners quickly discover, the 50-plus seat restaurant at Prairie Stone Crossing has an unconventional item on its menu: a patent-pending, zero-carb and gluten-free crust suitable for those on a restrictive diet.

Two years of tinkering with a proprietary recipe preceded the reinvented pizza’s public introduction. The crust’s key ingredient is an open secret: chicken. The zero-carb crust typically requires more than 20 minutes of prep time.

Eight different types of 14-inch-diameter pies are available, among them: margherita, fresh mushroom and Mighty Meaty with pepperoni and house-made sausage. The no-carb iteration is premium-priced — $25.19 including tax — while familiar hand-tossed versions are less expensive. There’s also a build-your-own, flour-crust-based pizza option that starts at $14 and escalates with the addition of various toppings such as tomatoes, kalamata olives, chicken and green peppers.

The White Pizza I shared — one of Eshticken’s most popular items — came topped with an appealing alfredo-like creamy sauce and ricotta, spinach, mushrooms and garlic. The thin, dry zero-carb crust failed to win me over. But the product cannot be dismissed as a viable alternative for diehard pizza fans to whom the carb-laden product is verboten.

Traditional pizza also is available by the piece. Sampling a crusty slice, I found its cheese topping nondescript and its tomato sauce listless and calling out for oregano or other herbs to come alive.

Meanwhile, family recipes form the basis for other menu items, including spicy lentil soup, house-made turkey breast sandwiches and rice pudding.

Eshticken is open daily for lunch or dinner. Diners order at a counter, and their food is brought to the table. No alcohol is sold, though customers may bring their own beer or wine.

Thomas Witom is a local free-lance writer.



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