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Northwest Side Restaurant Review: Marie's Pizza and Liquors

By Chuck Sudo in Food on Mar 12, 2007 7:30PM

2007_03_Maries_sign.jpgThere’s a lot of debate about the best pizza in Chicago. Choosing deep dish, pan or thin crust can be just as taxing as choosing between Gino’s, Lou Malnati's and Uno’s. But sometimes you just need a pizza without all that fuss. We’d much rather skip the hassle of waiting in line to sit in a crowded room of tourists and head to our local pizza joint: Marie’s Pizza & Liquors. There’s rarely a long wait for a table thanks to their spacious dining room that captures all the glitz and glamour of a hotspot in the '60s. Red booths line the walls along the bar and the main carpeted dining room. Mirrors etched with scenes, such as the Chicago skyline, fill in the walls above the booths. Tables of varying sizes fill in the rest of the space underneath several massive crystal chandeliers. But don’t get your boogie nights on just yet; Marie’s is a family place.

The décor can be forgiven, though, because since 1940, Marie’s has been making some of the best thin crust pizza in existence. It’s not fancy; there’s no barbeque chicken or caviar to be found on these pizzas. The "Marie’s special" is their only specialty pizza, and it’s a happy mix of sausage, green peppers, mushrooms and onions. Each pizza is delivered by an attentive waitress on a giant rectangular cookie sheet the instant it comes out of the oven, and it’s so hot that you’re forced to smell and stare at the pizza for a minute before you can even try it.

2007_03_Pizza_at_Maries.jpgOn this particular visit, Chicagoist ordered a sausage and black olive pizza. The cheese was still a little bubbly, and both toppings were generously distributed on the pizza. Their sausage was in large clumps and was cooked to the point where it was no longer excessively greasy, but also wasn’t dried out. The key to Marie’s pizza is that the crust is so thin it’s barely noticeable. As someone who values toppings over crust, we love it. But our crust-loving boyfriend prefers Marie’s double dough crust. While still crispy and thin by most standards, this crust is more filling and better withstands the weight of its toppings.

If you want to look beyond pizza, Marie’s has a decent selection of typical Italian fare, such as chicken parmigiana and lasagna, along with sandwiches you’d expect to find at any pizza or hot dog stand in Chicago: Italian beef, hamburgers, and pepper-and-egg. But, honestly, we’d skip all that and head straight for the pizza. While the pizza stands above all else, one of the perks of Marie’s is that you can walk into the liquor side of the building, choose a wine and have it served at your table right away. Additionally, they recently added a $4 martini special and live jazz combo on Thursday nights.

When you just need a good old-fashioned pizza without any hassle or goofy toppings, check out Marie’s Pizza and Liquors at 4127 W. Lawrence Ave., just west of Pulaski on the south side of the street. Or, if you’re feeling lazy, skip the décor and order in by calling 773-725-1812.

This review submitted by Meghan Clark.