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The Great Chicagoist Pizza Joint Debate

By Chuck Sudo in Food on Feb 5, 2010 8:40PM

Photo via Joe M500 on flickr.

Tuesday is National Pizza Pie Day. That's separate from National Pizza Week which happened last month, or the Great American Pizza Bake next week, or National Cheese Pizza Day (September 5), or National Pizza Festival Month in October, or National Sausage Pizza Day (October 11), or National Pizza with Everything Except Anchovies Day (November 12). We point this out to emphasize the inanity of national "food holidays" and to ask for the idiots who created each of these individual days to incorporate these all under one National Pizza Pie Day. But we digress.

In addition to National Pizza Pie Day, an estimated 58 percent of Americans eat pizza on Super Bowl Sunday. It's the biggest day of the year for takeout pizza. This being Chicago, everyone has a favorite pizza joint, and rarely do two people agree on the same place. Families have been broken arguing this, but a very candid discussion of the Chicagoist staffers in our Internet bunker showed that we might be the exception to the rule. Still, what follows is a wide swath of favorite pizza parlors, with links and addresses if the parlors aren't related to a chain. Fee free to continue the discussion in the comments.

Chuck: "I have three favorites: Vito & Nick's (8433 S. Pulaski, 773-735-2050), Marie's Liquor & Pizza (4129 W. Lawrence, 773-725-1853) and Phil's Pizza in Bridgeport (1102 W. 35th St., 773-548-3203), where I tend to order a sausage pie from them once a week."

Carrie: "For deep dish (which I don't eat too much), I go with Lou Malnati's sausage --- the entire pizza has a layer of sausage on it. 'Nuff said. For thin crust, Coalfire (1321 W. Grand, 312-226-2625) for the Fiorentino (mozzarella topped with tomato sauce, layered with hot calabrese salami & roasted red peppers) or the Margherita."

Megan: "Coalfire is hands down my favorite, but I also like the thin crust from Salerno's in West Town (1201 W. Grand, 312-666-3444). I haven't eaten much deep dish in the two years I've been in Chicago. In fact I just had my first deep dish experience at Lou Malnati's this weekend."

Chuck: "I'm not a huge fan of deep dish; If I want a casserole, I don't want it served in a bread bowl."

Veronica: "I second Coalfire. It's simple, it's delicious, the staff are personable and I always leave feeling just the right amount of full, but never gross. Doesn't hurt that it's within walking distance."

Tankboy: "I've become a recent devotee of John's Pizzeria Ristorante And Lounge (2104 N. Western, 773-384-1755) and their double dough pizzas.They tread the perfect ground between thick and thin and I walk out satisfied every time. If I'm in the mood for a thin slice though I have to admit I always fall for Piece (1972 W
North, 773-772-4422
) but that probably has more to do with their beer selection than anything else."

Laura Browning: "Spacca Napoli (1769 W. Sunnyside, 773-878-2420). If you're lucky, they'll have the burrata special. The owner once gave me a very detailed explanation of what burrata is -- let's just say it tastes like the best bufala mozzarella mixed with fresh cream and it is ten kinds of delicious. Spacca Napoli is around the corner from the Montrose Brown Line, but they don't always have the burrata. When they do... those are my happiest days, too. It must be what heaven tastes like."

Marcus: "I love the deep dish stuffed pizza from Art of Pizza (3033 N. Ashland, 773-327-5600). Best I've had in the city."

Rob: "I also love Art of Pizza, no contest. Our typical order: large pan pizza with pepperoni and black olives; or, large pan with sausage and onion. Comes with a free liter of Pepsi. I did my pizza stats for 2009 (yes, I keep track of this stuff) and last year I got delivery from Art of Pizza 34 times. $884: approximate amount spent (including tips) on these pizzas."

Veronica: "Rob and Marcus, you just convinced me to try Art of Pizza. I go by this place all the time and never once thought it might be good."

Marcus: "Benjy's on the Art of Pizza bandwagon too."

Benjy: "Art of Pizza is OK... I'll eat it if I'm in the area, but it's not my top choice. For deep dish, my favorite is Gino's, for thin crust Barnaby's (636 E. Touhy, 847-297-8866) and Tomato Head (823 W. Eastman St., 312-642-6700), and Spacca Napoli for Neapolitan style."

Kevin: "Connie's."

Chuck: "Ugh."

Aaron Cynic: "Dude, fuck Connie's. I ordered a BBQ chicken pizza from them once and it seriously came with fried chicken strips on it. If we're going with chains I'll take Aurelio's any day over anywhere else."

Kevin: "Oh yeah, that place is good, too. I went to high school with one of the Aurelio's owners kids."

Jake Guidry: "There's this real gem of a place right down the block from me, and to make it even better, they just changed their recipe. You may have seen their quaint multi-million dollar ad campaign on television: Domino's. To be serious, though, I haven't had enough different pizza here to make an educated guess (I had Bacci once, and I remember liking it, but I wasn't exactly sober). I have been meaning to try Great Lake (1477 W. Balmoral, 773-334-9270) because I have heard so much about it. Has anyone had it?"

Lindsey Miller: "I've tried (Domino's). But it had been so many years since I had the old Dominos, I couldn't tell much of a difference. The crust has more garlicand butter on it now so it tastes like a bread stick. My friend who for some reason loves Dominos wasn't impressed."

Carrie: "Does your friend have the sense of taste? ;)"

Aaron: "I dig Bacci's just for the sass factor."

Betsy Mikel: "I have never eaten Crocodile's Pizza (1540 N. Milwaukee, 773-252-0880) before, but I'm going to say it's my favorite because it's free. You get a free personal pizza with a drink purchase."

Lindsey: "Crocodile is good. Much more wonderful because it's free."

Prescott: "Me four on Art of Pizza. In my youth I dated a girl that lived in the apartment building across the street, I think I ate there every other day."

Lindsey: "Santullo's Eatery (1943 W. North Ave., 773-227-7960) has the best NY-style that I've tasted in Chicago and they're cheap."

Aaron: "In Chicago my favorite is Damenzo's (2322 W. Taylor,312-421-1142) hands down. They deliver into the wee hours of the night. The pizza is a bit thicker but not sauce heavy. In the south burbs, I gotta go with Serio's Italian Villa in Tinley Park (17801 Oak Park Ave., 708-429-5353), which has the best thin crust pizza I've had to date for dirt cheap. I think you can get a jumbo there that feeds five people for under $20. Honorable mention to the Blarney Stone Pub in Oak Forest (15400 Cicero Ave., 708-535-4800) for the best BBQ chicken pizza I've ever had. Hardly anyone gets that shit right, mostly because so many places forget to use decent BBQ sauce in their pizza."

Kevin: "The $5 "pizza pizza" deals at Little Caesar's in the Bridgeport strip mall (30th and Halsted). Almost forgot about that place."

Chuck: "You're fucking banned from this discussion, Kev."

Kevin: "Chuck Sudo, the pizza snob from Bridgeport. Lunch at Carlito's Way on 31st and Morgan this weekend?"

Benjamin Schuler-Stoler: "Carmen's carmen's carmen's! Mmmmmm: straight up classic good-ass deep dish. (6568 N. Sheridan, 773-465 5257)"

Amy Perry: "I like the Popeye and Berzerkeley pizza at Brick’s (1909 N. Lincoln, 312-255-0851). I also liked Pequod’s (2207 N. Clybourn, 773-327-1512) when I first moved to the city when it was more of dive with customer's photos tacked up on the wall but I still think it has the best Chicago deep dish because of the caramelized crust."

Chuck: "Pequod's is sooooo good. Even with all the improvements it smells
slightly of urinal cakes and pizza sauce."

Julienne Bilker: "For greasy bar pizza, Quencher's (2401 N. Western, 773-276-9730) tater tot pizza! And, as a non-fan of deep-dish (I'm sorry, don't fire me), the best NY-style I've found is at Mangia Roma on Halsted." (1623 N. Halsted, 312-475-9801)

Jake: "Trust me, you aren't the only one who is meh about deep dish. However, I do come from a city whose style of pizza is as thin as a saltine. Actually now that I think of it, Piece is my pick."

Benjy: "Clearly a pizza crawl is in order to settle all this."