New York-style pizza in Chicago?
November 14, 2008 11:55 AM   Subscribe

Where can we find New York-style pizza in Chicago? My wife and I have been living here in Chicago for almost a year now; being originally from New York, we're thoroughly sick of what passes here for "pizza". :p Can anyone (especially ex-New Yorkers) offer a clue?

This is essentially the converse of this question.

We've tried Chicago pizza several times, both in deep-dish and thin varieties, and it hasn't grown on us. (If anything, I'm getting more annoyed at how awful it is each time I have it.) I do, however, quite enjoy Chicago-style hot dogs (minus the sport peppers, perhaps substituted with giardiniera), so at least it isn't a total loss. ;-)
posted by korpios to Food & Drink (28 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
As a NJ transplant, I can vouch for Santullo's in Wicker Park being pretty authentic.

That said, until you've tried Lou Malnati's, you haven't given Chicago-style pizza a fair shake.
posted by Oktober at 12:02 PM on November 14, 2008

As an east-coaster now stationed in Chicago, I sympathize.

Someone who lives within the city limits can probably be of more service to you than I, but if you're ever as far north as Evanston, I wholly recommend Gigio's, a wonderful hole-in-the-wall by the CTA/Metra Davis St. Station. Tastes almost exactly the same as Francesco's, my favorite haunt when I lived in the UWS.
posted by SpiffyRob at 12:03 PM on November 14, 2008

Renaldi's has a very good, extremely thin crust, NY style pizza that I love.
posted by erebora at 12:08 PM on November 14, 2008

Coalfire Pizza is a great BYOB/date spot and is Chicago's only coal fired pizza place. It might have been the best pizza I've ever had, too.
posted by prunes at 12:16 PM on November 14, 2008 [1 favorite]

Them's fightin' words, and my first thought was to let you just starve, but try Calo's in Andersonville. They have what I think might be called "NY style" pizza.
posted by nax at 12:16 PM on November 14, 2008 [5 favorites]

Also, I can vouch for Santullo's if by New York-style you mean really big and flat. But visit the above restaurant if you want a more rustic, charred crust.
posted by prunes at 12:17 PM on November 14, 2008

Try the aforementioned Renaldi's, 2827 N. Broadway. Down the street about a quarter mile is Cafe Luigi, 2548 N. Clark. It's less greasy than Renaldi's but just as good.
posted by adrian_h at 12:56 PM on November 14, 2008

Cafe Luigi is good and to me strikes me as the closest (at least for cheese, the mushroom doesn't taste quite right). Santullo's tastes better and is nearly as close with large thin slices. Not personally a fan of Renaldi's.
posted by ejaned8 at 1:02 PM on November 14, 2008

Skip straight to Neapolitan-style at Spacca Napoli. Mmm!
posted by limeswirltart at 1:05 PM on November 14, 2008

I'm sorry you don't like Chicago-style pizza. Maybe it's because you've only had it from bad sources. Please don't give up until you've tried Lou Malnati's or Art of Pizza. And please don't expect it to be anything much like New York-style pizza. It just isn't.

But to actually answer your question, may I recommend doing some reading on LTHforum. Here's a link to a search of the site for New York style pizza. There are some great recommendations there.
posted by Xalf at 1:09 PM on November 14, 2008

Try stuffed from Gino's East, Giordano's, Lou Malnati's, or Aurelios.

For thinner NY-ish pizza try Pizza Metro in Wicker Park, the king of thin crust in the area, if not of all Chicago.
posted by damn dirty ape at 2:02 PM on November 14, 2008

The folks at Slice are obsessed with pizza, real pizza. Do not end your search without checking them out. Buon appetito.
posted by caddis at 2:34 PM on November 14, 2008

Apart Pizza!
Caution: Highly addictive. Two locations in Lincoln Sq and Edgewater. Nom nom nom.

Also seconding the suggestion of asking the folks at LTHForum.
posted by pfafflin at 3:08 PM on November 14, 2008 [1 favorite]

Hmmm. I'm a NY/NJ'er and I have to say that I pretty much swooned over Lou Malnati's pizza when I was there. So much so, we went back for a second time in one weekend. Nom Nom NOM!! Specifically, I went to their Schaumberg Roselle location. Give them a shot. I think you might be pleasantly surprised. Good luck!
posted by dancinglamb at 3:16 PM on November 14, 2008

Oh dear, that photo in the Wikipedia page is ghastly.
posted by rxrfrx at 4:49 PM on November 14, 2008

I do hope you find what you are looking for, but I too have to put in my endorsement of Lou Malnati's. I live two hours from Chicago and do not go there ever without a stop at Lou's. I have actually thought about getting a short term job in the kitchen just to try and figure out how the crust is make.
posted by pazoozoo at 5:57 PM on November 14, 2008

I actually thought about Art of Pizza also, but it's more gourmet/funky than down n dirty name-your-city-style pizza. However, yes, probably my favorite pizza ever.
posted by nax at 6:14 PM on November 14, 2008

Piece, in Wicker Park. Right next to Santullo's, which was recommended above.
posted by pemulis at 6:52 PM on November 14, 2008

You can't really rag on chicago pizza and not name the pizza places you have eaten at? Where have you eaten at? Touristy places, on the street corner places, or places that are known for states around for good pizza.

So yeah, where have you eaten at?
posted by hal_c_on at 7:04 PM on November 14, 2008 [1 favorite]

Santullo's is my favorite, but I'm a Bostonian and you might therefore not trust my judgement. Piece is good, but doesn't come close in my opinion.

Apart, Spacca Napoli and Pizza DOC are all excellent, but Naples style.

Pizza Metro is quite good, but definitely not New York: it's square.

And for deep dish, I'm an advocate of Lou Malnati's (especially the "Lou"), and Art of Pizza for slices.
posted by tsmo at 7:45 PM on November 14, 2008

I forgot Crust! It's off-topic, since they're probably Naples or California style (depending on your attitude), but they're awesome, too. A little expensive, though.

Man I miss the food in Chicago...
posted by tsmo at 8:03 PM on November 14, 2008

We just got back from trying Pizza-Ria, a local chain that advertises "NY style" pizza; my wife summed it up pretty well: "It's definitely not the greatest pizza I've ever had, but it is the best pizza I've had in Chicago so far." Next on our list to try are Santullo's (although the prices sound ridiculous — $3.25 for a slice? $28 for a pie??) and Cafe Luigi.

As for the Chicago-style pizza we've tried: Gino's East (more than once, at different locations), a place I can't recall the name of when my office orders pizza (we're on the Near North Side, right next to the Chicago Brown L stop), and a place in/near Oak Park I can't recall the name of (when I was attending a party). Sorry for the vagueness there. :-/ I'm willing to give Lou Malnati's a shot, since so many people recommend it, but I fear my wife is forever scarred. ^_^

I've had excellent non-NY pizza before; there's a chain in the Lawrence, KS / KCMO area called Papa Keno's that made fantastic thin-crust pizza (in particular, there was one with sun-dried tomatoes, cream cheese, and chicken ... mmmh). I'm probably a bit more open-minded than my wife here, in that I'm willing to give nearly anything a shot; e.g., I readily took to Chicago hot dogs, while my wife still prefers the "dirty water" guy-at-a-stand style NY dogs.

Thanks for the tips so far (and for not burning us heretics)! ;-)
posted by korpios at 8:54 PM on November 14, 2008

As a New Yorker, I found Lou Malnati's to be pretty good, but it's really not the same (i.e.: I've been to Chicago once, eaten at Lou Malnati's, and I'm not still craving it).
posted by Caviar at 9:19 PM on November 14, 2008

I used to live in NYC and swore by Koronet. Then I had Lou Malnati's on a trip to Chicago and I was changed. I still heart Koronet, and miss it out here in California, but Chicago wins the pizza prize. Lou's is totally bitchin'.

Don't count Chicago out until you've been there!
posted by Mikey-San at 11:43 PM on November 14, 2008

Huh. Well, I'm a Chicagoan born and bred (living in Wisconsin at the moment, but I'll get over it), and I love Chicago-style. Since suggestions along that line are not getting deleted I must insist that you at least once give Carmen's in Evanston a shake -- it's all good, but their deep dish spinach is to die for. And the quintessential deep dish comes from Pizzeria Uno (or Due) downtown. They have a murky connection to Lou Malnati, so both are claimed as the origin of Chicago-style.

That said, I did live briefly in New York, and eventually got used to New York style. It's definitely a style of its own and as the Wikipedia article notes Sbarro's is pretty similar. I've also had NY style in the same range from a couple of Rogers Park/North Shore no-name holes in the wall. Oh, Leona's is one chain that sells "Chicago Thin Crust Pizza" as their default, versus "Chicago Pizza Pies". You might give that a whirl.

Deep dish is all over Chicago, but it's not by any means the only kind you can get. Keep trying.
posted by dhartung at 11:53 PM on November 14, 2008

While I'm a die-hard Chicagoan, I share your feelings about the deep-dish stuff.

When it's thin-crust I crave and delivery I need, I call Laurie's at 773-561-3100. It's a hole-in-the-wall on Foster and Broadway that makes an awesome thin-crust pie with all the usual toppings. (Though they do cut it in squares). I always ask them to make it extra crispy.

For something further south, I've also had some really nice pies from Pequod's. (But again, they cut it in squares.)
posted by Work to Live at 8:23 AM on November 15, 2008

We tried Santullo's last night; if Pizza-Ria was 60% of the way there, Santullo's was 80%. The crust was a bit too thin and soggy, but otherwise the stuff wasn't bad. The prices could be better, but I suppose that's what you get when there's not much competition. ;-) The biggest annoyance was seating: there wasn't any available, since the place was full.
posted by korpios at 10:07 AM on November 16, 2008

I used to live in NYC and swore by Koronet.

I've just got to correct the record on this. Koronet is okay, certainly a good value in terms of the size of the slice, and particularly welcome after a long night of intoxication, but it is far from the best pizza in NYC.
posted by Caviar at 7:21 AM on November 23, 2008

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