First it was Giordano’s. Most recently it was Rosati’s. Champaign-Urbana pizza places have taken a hit in the past year-plus, so when we learned of the recent opening of Legacy Pizzeria in Champaign, I hoped it would be able to fill the space created by the closing of those two well-known pizza producers (not to mention others, such as thin-crust purveyor Pie’s the Limit).
C-U has never had a shortage of pizza restaurants but it also can always use another good one, particularly since Giordano’s and Rosati’s left the scene. Legacy Pizzeria has opened at 2501 Village Green Place in The Village at the Crossing.
If you don’t recognize the address, you no doubt know the building. Legacy has taken the space previously occupied by — well, let’s see — Uncle Jack’s, then Minneci’s, then Amaravati Indian Royal Cuisine. (Did we miss anyone?)
Let’s hope Legacy isn’t burdened by that, um, legacy.
So I ordered from Legacy recently, intrigued by what the restaurant bills as “an homage to those who have come before us, helped us along the way, and those that will come after.” According to its website, Legacy “specializes in pan pizza with a light, flaky, golden, caramelized cheese crust; filled with our legacy blend of cheeses and our signature tomato sauce.”
I ordered my typical fare — pepperoni and Italian sausage. Legacy offers only pan pizza and only one size (approximately 12 inches). The menu says one pie feeds four, and that feels about right.
What I received was a delight. The crust was fresh; it was soft on the bottom, if that’s important to you. The cheese was, indeed, a blend, with distinct hints that set it apart from a mozzarella-only pie. Most notably, piled on top of the cheese was a serious amount of diced tomatoes (roughly half-inch chunks).
The product was a pizza that you won’t — to my knowledge — find anywhere else in C-U. I would most liken it to the type of pie produced by the noted Chicago chain Lou Malnati’s, whose sauce includes the distinctive tomato-chunk recipe. If you dig that type of tomato experience, you’ll probably enjoy Legacy.
What you need to know
Who: Legacy Pizzeria, 2501 Village Green Place, Champaign. (No indoor dining. Carryout, curbside and delivery available. Open seven days a week starting at 4 p.m.)
What: Legacy’s menu offers six signature pan pizzas in one size, plus a make-your-own option. Also available: salads, linguine in Alfredo or red sauce, and desserts.
How much: A cheese pizza is $17.99 plus $2.50 for additional toppings.