I had a hankering for a calzone the other day, and I knew exactly where to go. Calzones aren’t on many menus at restaurants in Champaign-Urbana. Even though there are a lot of pizza places in town, the only restaurants (that I know of) that serve a calzone are Rosati’s or DP Dough. And the only one to specialize in the calzone itself is DP Dough. Though DP Dough is a national chain, the Champaign location has been open since 2006 and is still owned by the original owner Steve Fiala. Last summer, he and his brother Ryan Fiala (who owns a DP Dough in Normal) opened Fiala Brothers Brewery & Beer Hall where they serve gooey grilled cheese sandwiches.
So last Friday, I wanted a calzone, and I told my husband I was bringing home calzones, and there was nothing he could do to stop me. While online ordering is available (as well as delivery), I ordered in person at the calzone shop off Green Street between Neil and First.
My original plan was to try four calzones for this review, but when I saw that the menu offered appetizers, salads, wings, tots, and desserts, I changed my mind. I ordered two calzones, an appetizer, and a salad. I about ordered those wings, but when the cashier said the wings were boneless, I couldn’t even.
While I waited in the lobby (there is no dine in), DP Dough filled the Italian hot pockets to order and then cooked the calzones and roni rolls in the oven. After ten minutes, my order was ready, and I was out the door with a bag full of calzones.
Everything was packaged nicely (and labeled!), so this would be easy for groups or if buying something to take to someone’s house.
I ordered the appetizer roni rolls ($8.50), which had eight little rolls and a side of marinara. This pizza sushi had a soft crust wrapped around pepperoni and cheese. With a nice crispness to the outer layer, each roni roll was like loaded garlic bread, and I loved the sprinkle of Italian herbs and salty grated parm. The side of marinara was hot, chunky, and delicious — and needed because without a dip, the app was a little dry. Topped with marinara, the roni rolls were like a savory Italian version of a cinnamon roll and totally tasty.
DP Dough offers a variety of calzones in names that end in Zone. For instance, they offer a Time Zone and a Comfort Zone. There’s an End Zone with steak, peppers, and onions, plus a Drop Zone with breaded chicken and ricotta. They offer a Danger Zone, a Twilight Zone, Oh Zone, and more.
My husband wanted the Italian Zone calzone ($9). The Italian Zone had salami, ham, pepperoni, mozzarella, parmesan, and ricotta, served with a side of marinara. This had all the flavors of an Italian sandwich but instead of bread, those Italian meats and cheeses got folded inside pizza crust. The pepperoni was delicious and thick-cut, so the oily, porky flavor of ‘roni was undeniable in every bite. Sliced thin, the ham had some smokiness that went well with mild, melty cheeses. A meaty calzone — not one vegetable included — the calzone’s savory pork and hot cheese was a winning combo that needed no veg.
I wanted to try out the build-your-own calzone. So, I ordered a Construction Zone ($10), which includes up to four toppings. I chose meatballs, mozzarella, spinach, and onions with marinara sauce. I’m naming this combination the Friend Zone. (How is there not a calzone named the Friend Zone on their Zone-themed menu?!) This was a yummy pocket of deliciousness — probably because I chose the ingredients, but the flavors were solid. With little grill-marks on the outside, the seasoned meatballs were chopped so some were crumbles of herbed ground beef while some were flavorful half-spheres tucked in between spinach and cheese. I liked how the layer of fresh spinach wilted only a little bit because the stem retained crunch that matched the tender-crisp texture of the chopped white onions.
Once sliced, my ‘zone ate similar to an Italian burrito. The bready exterior held everything in without being too thick since the turned-over dough was like thin crust pizza. And while the calzones tasted good with the butter sauce, the marinara won out, surprising even myself. It was superior to the butter garlic for pretty much everything (even the roni rolls) which is saying something.
For range, we also ordered a house salad ($7.25). The salad came with lettuce, tomato, cucumber, croutons, and cheese with dressing on the side. A gigantic portion, the salad was easily shared between two to four people, depending on how much like they salad. Neatly arranged, it was a good looking salad, not some slap-dash attempt at throwing lettuce in a bowl with a half-assed sprinkle of garnishes. That house dressing was super good, packed with peppery flavors, and heavy on tangy vinegar — but in the best way. The salad’s components were fresh, and the romaine was crunchy.
Overall, the prices were low for the big portions and quality. I couldn’t even finish my calzone because it was bigger than my face, but the other leftover half heated up perfectly. It tasted pretty much as good as the first half after I heated it in the oven for 15 minutes. When I crave a calzone in this town, the only place I’m going is DP Dough. It’s the king of calzones and for good reason: they made damn good calzones. From 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., every calzone comes with a free cold soda. There’s Pepsi in the front case, but for Dr. Pepper people like me, they keep those behind the counter.
The original calzone company is open late in Champaign, so if beer decisions influence calzone cravings, you know where to go. And, if you ever order a Friend Zone (meatballs, spinach, onions, mozz), tag me on Instagram.
33 E Green St
M-W 11 a.m. to 1 a.m.
Th-Sa 11 a.m. to 2 a.m.
Su 11 a.m. to midnight