CHITOWN CHOWDOWN: Chowing down at 5 of the best pizza places in Chicago

Now, you KNOW we couldn’t come to Chicago and NOT eat pizza, bro! This city is known for deep dish, but the locals prefer tavern-style, which is anything but — we’re talking some of the thinnest crust you can imagine. So how do 5 of Chicago’s top pizza joints measure up? You’re about to find out — right here, right now on Triple B:

Pizano’s Pizza & Pasta

Pizano’s is the kinda place you’d see in the movies, with the checkered tablecloths and signed photos from all the local sports teams on the walls.

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This place does both deep-dish and thin crust — apparently the thin crust is Oprah’s favourite.

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Thin crust is crunchy and cheesy, with some nice pieces of sausage scattered throughout. Wish there was more meat here…but when you get a bite of the sausage, that, right there is the ticket.

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The deep dish was more tomato than anything else. Bit of cheese, with a crispy crust. I think I got the veggie one — if you put some of that sausage on here, it would be that much better…

Flo & Santos Pizza & Pub

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Flo & Santos is within stumbling distance of Soldier Field, and there’s no doubt that more than a few Bears fans have stumbled out of this place. They’ve also serving up a Polish-style pizza with kielbasa, bacon and sauerkraut and an Italian Beef pizza — sign me up, bro!

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While I don’t think I got any bacon on this slice, the thick ‘n meaty kielbasa goes great on pizza!

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The Italian Beef pie has got a lot going on. You get lotsa beef, but also some onions and peppers. Doesn’t beat a dipped Italian beef sando, but I would order this again, bro!!!

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They’ve even got a dessert pizza, topped with chocolate and toasted marshmallows. It’s like S’mores Gone Wild, bro!!!!!

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They’ve also got $3 cans of Goose Island 312 Urban Wheat Ale. Goose is a local brewery here, so their beer is plentiful and affordable. This one coulda been a bit more citrusy, though…


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As the name suggests, Coalfire, this West Town joint, cooks their pizza in a coal-fired oven, the hottest oven in Chicago, apparently — so the pizza comes out quick and crispy, in true Neapolitan fashion.

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Their pepperoni & whipped ricotta pie combines the texture of hot pepperoni and cool cheese, which goes on afterwards and you spread it over the top. Ricotta is a pretty mild cheese, so it has good texture, without overpowering the meat.

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This Bacon Jam pie is actually dominated by these big ol slices of soppressata, but with little pieces of bacon on top. It’s sorta like, come for the sausage, stay for the bacon, son!!!!

Bartoli’s Pizzeria

Bartoli’s, this funky little joint near the United Center is bringing back the 70’s style pies from Gino’s East, and they sell em by the slice — cuz you can’t always eat a whole deep-dish pizza, bro!

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I had a picture in my mind of what Chicago deep dish pizza would be, and this was pretty much it.This slice is definitely too thick to eat with your hands. Saucy, cheesy with some nice bites of Italian sausage on a thick, cornmeal crust. This might be the deepest deep dish pizza I’ve ever seen…

Lou Malnati’s

Now, this is the first time I’ve tried to take down a whole deep dish pizza on my own. I did go for the small size, which they say is enough for 2 people… So no problemo, right?

I went with the Malnati Chicago Classic, which has sausage, extra cheese and tomato. Started off with some garlic bread, and washed it down with a Goose Green Line, an APA so light that I wouldn’t even call it a pale ale. (This is not a good thing.) They do not short you on the garlic bread, though…

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Now, when they brought the pizza out, I even asked the guy, “Is this the Small for two people? Cuz it looks like a personal pizza to me!“ (Of course, any pizza is a personal pizza if you try hard and believe in yourself, bro!!!!) in any case, this pie was pretty tasty; nice bites of sausage, and a good crispy crust. If that’s extra cheese, though, I’d hate to see what a normal amount of cheese would be…

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You KNOW I still had room for dessert, though, bro! Lemme tell ya, though, this is NOT your Nonna’s tiramisu. I don’t taste ladyfingers, cocoa powder or cappuccino— instead, they put chocolate chips in it and top it with chocolate sauce. Not sure if that’s how they do it in Chicago…but I am never ordering tiramisu here again, bro!!!!!!!!!!!


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