Northside Tap: Valparaiso

For a while I've been craving some Detroit-style pizza and I'd been hearing that this place called Northside Tap served up a good one. Love the buttery crust and crunchiness of a square pie. This one lived up to the hype. I loved the ingredient options and ordered one with sausage and some dollops of ricotta. 10/10

I could have stopped at the pizza, but when I noticed the "Diner Burger" on the menu, I had to give it a try. It's a mustard-grilled burger patty with garlic aioli, American cheese and pickles. I had just been out in Arizona a couple months before when I had my first In-N-Out burger. Had it not been for that I would have had no clue what mustard-grilled burger was. I'd just had one for the first time and was definitely a fan. I ordered mushrooms as well - great addition. It came on a nice brioche bun.

I grew up with a chain-smoking mother and will forever avoid cigarette smoke at all costs. I inhaled it enough in my youth and hated the way the smell permeated everything I wore. So, when I learned this was a smoking establishment, I almost changed my mind. But, we were already there. It was a not-busy time and we sat it a quiet corner, so it wasn't an issue. Had it been busy and smoke-filled, I probably would have opted to get it to go. But I am glad we stuck around and got to enjoy this meal while it was hot and at its peak. 

It's basically a dive bar - and I saw that the building dates back to 1874. But I've learned that dive bars can churn out some of the best food. I was sad when I went back to a favorite dive bar in SW Michigan a couple weeks ago for a sandwich (they had the best Ruebens in the world) and learned that they'd changed hands, changed concepts and had a very limited menu with no Rueben.

Anyway, the burger and pizza get a definite thumbs up and are well worth the visit.

Northside Tap
712 Calumet Ave.