After spending hours in the kitchen this week, Chicago-area residents are definitely ready to kick back and order pizza this weekend, and NBC 5’s Food Guy Steve Dolinsky has four suggestions.
All four serve thin-crust pizza, two of which are located in downtown Chicago and two in the western suburbs.
New options for tavern-style crusts are popping up all over town, and now there’s a new Neapolitan-inspired spot to the west that makes mozzarella in-house. Plus, it has the most satisfying New York-style slice joints. A fed-up ex-Pat from Brooklyn.
Middle Brow Bungalow (Izakaya style only on Tuesdays)
2840 W. Armitage Ave
On Tuesday nights in Logan Square, enjoy thin, crispy tavern-style pies at Bungalow by Middlebrow. The tavern owner’s sheer love has come to the point where he has to offer pies cut into squares smaller than usual, but perfect with their homemade beer.
3037 N. Clark Street
Zaza’s in Lake View is one of the latest and greatest examples of New York-style slice joints.
“I really liked the thin, light, airy texture. I thought the culture was cool and the pizza was delicious, so why not play around with this style,” said owner Brett Nemec.
Grandma-style pies (a Sicilian crispy and thin version) are rarely seen in Chicago, but they’re proudly made. The regular slices are served in a case and reheated to order just like on the east coast. However, nemec is coated with olive oil on the rim and sprinkled with sea salt for extra flavor.
207 N. Cass Ave, Westmont
pizza fried chicken ice cream
964 W.31st st.
Uncle Pete’s in Westmont is now Kim’s Uncle. This is the next chapter for the team behind Bridgeport’s Pizza His Fried Chicken Ice Cream. However, the style of this izakaya is slightly different from the city version.
“We took the recipe from Pizza Fried Chicken Ice Cream.
There are fewer than 10 Falls Ovens in the area, but Shorten says it makes a big difference, creating a crispy crust that reminds him of his childhood eating pizza nearby.
“I think the food is better. I think that was one of the big reasons we wanted this place. It was the Folls Oven. is,” he said.
lantern pizza company
1420 Ogden Ave, Downers Grove
Neo-Napoli pizzas are baked in less than two minutes in Downers Grove’s new Lantern Pizza Company’s gas oven, the brainchild of a former McDonald’s corporate chef who fell in love with Italian style.
“The dough comes out, rolls out the dough, tops the dough. Cook it in the oven for two minutes and it’s done in no time,” says owner Dan Coudreaut.
Kudrow is a step above your average joint, making fresh mozzarella cheese by heating curds in water and then hand-pulling and stretching them into immaculate blocks. Sometimes he even smokes them.
“I knew it had to be made in-house to keep it fresh,” he said.
Add homemade pesto to the tomato sauce and let the dough rise a little longer than your average wood-fired pie. The result is a uniformly puffed pizza that bursts with acidity and richness at the same time.
“I think the best experience is sitting at the table with you, but 50% of our business is takeout,” says Coudreaut.
To wrap up, here’s a recommendation: You can take any of these pizzas home with you, but to really understand and appreciate the pizza and what the pizza makers went through to create it, Drin Ski invites you to eat it right out of the oven, just minutes, as intended. The difference in quality is huge.