Best Pizza in Chicagoland area

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chilimaster
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RE: Best Pizza in Chicagoland area 2006/09/30 10:58:22 (permalink)
Without a doubt, Kenootz Pizza in the southwest suburbs has the VERY BEST pizza in the Chicagoland area!!

I was first introduced to their extraordinary pie at an event that they catered where they served their thin crust pizza. Generous portions, top shelf toppings coupled with a sauce (secret family recipe) to die for, was just out of this world.

While I live in the southwest suburbs, I am just outside of their delivery service area by a mile. Remembering the culinary delight that was their thin crust pizza and finding their website on the net where I saw that they also that they had deep-dish which left me no choice but to place an order.

Their regular price is good but they also had a $5 off online coupon. Being the frugal person that I am, I quickly printed it out, hopped in the car and made my way over to pick up my much anticipated dinner.

Quick, friendly service got me in and out promptly. Carefully setting the pie down on the seat next to me, I started the car and eagerly home. More than once I was tempted to stop, pull over and sample a slice but I fought hard not to and arrived home in short order.

I set the box down on the kitchen table, opened the top and the room exploded with an aroma that wars have been fought for. With mouth watering and hand trembling, I reached for a knife and plate.

Now finally having this treasure in my hand, I slowing take a small bite in an attempt to savor the moment. Having expericed Kenootz's thin crust, I thought I tasted the best pizza around. I was wrong. The deep dish surpassed my expectations. I had just expericed Pizza Nirvana.

I have since become a Kenootz's fan, recommending them as often as I can. If you deceide to sample their pie, be sure to get your %5 off coupon from their website.

Kenootz Pizza
4648 West 147th
Midlothian IL 60445
708.824.0005
http://www.kenootz.com

In my 50+ years on planet Earth, I have travelled and dined out extensively.

I have ate and all of the over-hyped pizza joints in the Chicagoland area more than a few times and they all left something to be desired when compared to Kenootz.

I'm not sure why they haven't been named in the top 10 pizza joints of Chicago. I just maybe Ken (the owner) is just too busy putting out his world-class pizza to be bothered with hiring a pr firm to "sell the sizzle".

 
#31
MilwFoodlovers
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RE: Best Pizza in Chicagoland area 2006/09/30 11:55:03 (permalink)
And what sir, is your occupation?
That's just an amazing first post.

On another note, I have a hard time responding for a "best" of anything. Unless someone has tasted say, every restaurant serving sauteéd kumquats, how could they tell anyone who has the "best" kumquats? I'll go with personal favorites though.
#32
saps
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RE: Best Pizza in Chicagoland area 2006/09/30 15:04:17 (permalink)
quote:
Originally posted by hatteras04

My sister lives near Wrigley and she likes D'Agostino's quite a bit. She supports the claim that I have heard from others on this board that true Chicago pizza is thin and the deep dish is for the tourists. She likes the deep dish but I think she only eats it when I am in town visiting. Fot that our favorite is Gino's on Rush which was closed the last time we tried to go. We ended up at Giordano's which was ok but nothing spectacular.


That's a ridiculous claim. There are dozens of places, many of them independents, that serve Chicago style pizza in the outlying areas that clearly don't cater to tourists. There certainly are deep dish pizza joints in the city that seem to attract tourists- Gino's and Pizzeria Uno and Due come to mind immediately. But there are a lot of other food places that cater to tourists as well.
#33
BuddyRoadhouse
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RE: Best Pizza in Chicagoland area 2006/09/30 16:02:58 (permalink)
While I am no fan of Uno's, Due's or Gino's East Pizzas, the notion that they are there for the tourists is a tail wagging the dog situation. Those restaurants and their famed products were created by Chicagoans, for Chicagoans long before tourism became a major source of income for this city. They became popular, and cultivated their renown thanks to the loyalty and repeated business of the natives.

The fact that their popularity and easy recognition has grown so dramatically outside of northeastern Illinois is due to lazy and shoddy journalism in the form of some boneheaded "reporter" from People Magazine, or the like, doing an article on America's Best Pizza and never getting past the obvious first choices (i.e. the places closest to the downtown hotels where these morons are staying. God forbid they should rent a car and travel outside the loop in search of a better version of the same product). Who knows if these idiots even visit the places they have named to their dubious list. For all we know they call up a local bureau chief and ask, "What's a safe name in your area to put on a list of 'America's Best Fill-in-the-Blank'?"

The result is that folks from all over the country now read that Uno'sDue'sGino's has the best pizza in Chicago. Without even questioning the method for determining, or the accuracy of the list, these folks, when visiting our fair city, assume the list to be true and so these places become tourist havens.

This in turn leads to the need to suddenly serve vast quantities of new customers (who, being tourists, and unfamiliar with the way Pan Pizza is supposed to taste anyway) coupled with the inevitable greed factor to cut costs and increase the bottom line, causes the deterioration of a once fine product into what I like to call "Tourist Food".

Chicago Pizza was not created to bring tourists to our town. Ike Sewell, the fabled father of Pan Pizza and founder of Uno's and Due's created it to feed cash strapped young people, out on a date. There are hundreds, if not thousands of small, mom and pop pizza joints serving superior thin and pan style pizzas to their localities without a tourist in sight.

Buddy
#34
Poverty Pete
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RE: Best Pizza in Chicagoland area 2006/09/30 17:02:48 (permalink)
I only wish I were within sight of one...A good pizza joint, that is...not a tourist. I see plenty of them.
#35
uf
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RE: Best Pizza in Chicagoland area 2006/09/30 17:25:03 (permalink)
Hand's down. Armand's pizza, Elmwood Park (original location) has "The Best" thin crust pizza ever! They have been around for 30+ years need I say more. Then I will.

As a native Elmwood Parker, my family, my friends' families, and I have ordered Armand's weekly for at least 18 years. I lived out in Boulder, CO for the past 3 years and now live in Phoenix, AZ. I've never (believe me I look) had anything even remotely close. I'm not just saying they are the best because of "da neighborhood thing" because I've had pizza from all over Chicago, the burbs, and further.

There are good ones, even great ones, but nothing like Armands! Try them, they have expanded their locations to Elmhurst, St. Charles and maybe another one.

I miss them very much and still crave them weekly. They are in my bloodstream forever.

#36
saps
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RE: Best Pizza in Chicagoland area 2006/10/01 14:36:27 (permalink)
Armands is pretty average, and certainly not the best that Chicago has to offer. Places like Vito and Nick's, Maria's, or Zaffiro's in Milwaukee blow it out of the water. But if it's your favorite, that's great.
#37
uf
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RE: Best Pizza in Chicagoland area 2006/10/03 03:26:59 (permalink)
Saps,

I'm seeing a lot of press on these pages about Vito and Nick's. Next time I'm in town I'll take the challenge and try them out. It would take a lot to convert. But I'm always down with a good pie. How do you like your pie? I'm a sausage and mushroom fan myself. Anyone out there had Salerno's of Berwyn? There are original owners out here in AZ. Should I even try? I'm kinda dyin. Hee hee.
#38
saps
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RE: Best Pizza in Chicagoland area 2006/10/03 03:37:05 (permalink)
I shouldn't knock Armand's. It's just not my favorite- but I've only eaten pizza at the outpost in Elmhurst. I wouldn't be surprised if the original place does a better job than the newer places

I work about a mile away from Salerno's in Berwyn. It's a bit thicker, but pretty good when it's not too salty. It's probably worth a try out there.



#39
georgiadawgs
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RE: Best Pizza in Chicagoland area 2006/10/13 18:08:22 (permalink)
I've spent a few days in Chicago the last few weeks. Can't say I've been to many places, or have a lot of expertise, but I've ate some pretty good stuffed pizza in MI growing up, so I wasn't a total cherry when I tried it in Chicago for the first time. I've only had 2 places in Chicago, Pizzeria Uno off MI Ave. and a local place called Little Frankie's off S. Cicero Ave. by Midway Airport. Uno was pretty good, but I only got the personal size pizza, which wasn't a good dish to judge because there just wasn't enough to it, it was filling enough, but it was small so almost every bite you were biting into crust. Little Frankie's I got a small (10"), I have to say that was AWESOME...Could've used more sauce on top, but it was delicious, I was only able to finish about a 1/4 of the pizza it was so filling. Was going to try Giordano's but a local told me it wasn't good at all. May try it next time anyway???

Going back again the next few weeks, so look forward to trying as many more as possible!
#40
BuddyRoadhouse
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RE: Best Pizza in Chicagoland area 2006/10/13 18:17:11 (permalink)
Skip Giordano's dawg. They were good once but growth and a corporate mentality have taken them down. If you want stuffed pizza, you're better off at Nancy's or Suparossa.

For thick, I cannot recommend too highly Burt's Place in near north suburban Morton Grove.

Buddy
#41
georgiadawgs
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RE: Best Pizza in Chicagoland area 2006/10/13 21:18:50 (permalink)
Buddy, once again thanks for the advice!

I will definately have to try either Nancy's, Suparossa, or Burt's next week...I promise!

This time I'm staying outside the city so it might be a little easier to get around.
#42
danimal15
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RE: Best Pizza in Chicagoland area 2006/10/20 17:46:24 (permalink)
I disagree about Giordano's. It's definitely not what it was 20 years ago, but it's still a fine example of Chicago stuffed pizza. Always enjoyable, especially if you eat it in the restaurant (most pizza suffers when delivered or taken out). Try the stuffed spinach.
#43
PepperPhil
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RE: Best Pizza in Chicagoland area 2006/10/22 18:35:28 (permalink)
i prefer Pudgy's on 87th street in oak lawn . il..........

also Phil's Pizza ( No Not Me) on ridgland....
#44
abe_froeman
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RE: Best Pizza in Chicagoland area 2006/10/28 00:53:24 (permalink)
Giordano's has actually gotten better recently- they were good 15 years ago or so, not so good 7 years ago or so, but I was in their Roger's Park location a couple of months ago and was pleasantly surprised. It was pretty decent, both the stuffed and thin.
#45
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RE: Best Pizza in Chicagoland area 2006/10/30 15:05:34 (permalink)
I don't mean to be disrespectful, but IMHO I've watched Giordano's grow from the moment they won some sort of cub reporters award many years ago when they first started out on 63rd and California in Chicago, tried their restaurant then and tried many, many other expansion locations since (including the one outside of Disney World near Orlando), BUT I and my friends and family can't understand why they've got such hype and attention since. I find their pizzas extremely bland and basically tasteless. Stuffed pizzas are basically crust, crust, crust and then some more crust. And their style of crust is basically tasteless, tasteless, and some more tasteless.

I have to admit that after trying many of the so-called great stuff pizza places in the Chicago area (e.g., Eduardo's, Nancy's, Superrosa's, etc) that I'm not crazy about dough and more dough-based pizzas, but we've found among them all that Giordano's was among the . . . . . excuse the expression . . . worst. If you order sausage, for instance, which my contingent likes, you will be lucky to get one bite of sausage once in every 12 bites of pizza!!! Also they put the sauce on top of the pizza and at least 50% of the time, the pizza is cooked to a point where the top of the pizza is a DRY red top with little taste of tomato sauce. Now this is over dozens of years, not one or two visits. Lou Malnati's even on a bad day (which they have some) and Pizzeria Due's, and Louisa's in the south suburbs of Chicago, is much, much better, but not your variant "stuffed" dough kind of pizza.

If you like it, you like it, and if you had a great experience there that's great, but I don't know many that are crazy about Giordano's "stuffed" pizzas.
#46
abe_froeman
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RE: Best Pizza in Chicagoland area 2006/10/30 16:04:43 (permalink)
I don't disagree, BTB- I think the expansion of the chain is probably what caused the inconsistencies, and like I said, the pizza I had at one location was good- I'm not totally converted to a Giordano's fan, so I'm not going to start going there often or anything. The Roger's Park location is not in my neighborhood- it's in a friend's neighborhood, so if we happen to go there occasionally, we'll see how consistent it is. All I can say is I was surprised by how good it was at one location.
#47
BuddyRoadhouse
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RE: Best Pizza in Chicagoland area 2006/10/30 16:33:03 (permalink)
quote:
Originally posted by BTB

...Stuffed pizzas are basically crust, crust, crust and then some more crust. And their style of crust is basically tasteless, tasteless, and some more tasteless.

If you order sausage...you will be lucky to get one bite of sausage once in every 12 bites of pizza!!! Also they put the sauce on top of the pizza and at least 50% of the time, the pizza is cooked to a point where the top of the pizza is a DRY red top with little taste of tomato sauce.
I'm going to agree with you on the point about the dried, tasteless tomato sauce on top of Giordano's stuffed pizza. Admittedly, it has been a solid ten years since I've had one of their pizzas (I much prefer Nancy's or Suparossa's for stuffed, Burt's Place for thick). But I did eat their pizzas fairly regularly prior to that. In fact the dried, bland tomato topping was one of the reasons I stopped eating there.

As for your complaint about the lack of sausage, I think "one bite of sausage once in every 12 bites of pizza" might be a bit of an exaggeration but my lack of recent visits leaves me unable to comment.

However, I can address your comment regarding the crust of a stuffed pizza.

Unlike a Pan Pizza (also known as Pizza in the Pan, Chicago Style Pizza, Thick Crust Pizza, etc.) the layers of a Stuffed Pizza are actually rather thin. It is made in the same type of high rimmed pan used for a Pan Pizza, with the thin bottom layer of dough drawn up the side of the pan creating a "pie shell" effect. The ingredients (sausage, mushroom, peppers, whatever), including cheese are placed atop the bottom layer. Another thin layer of dough is placed on top and the edges from the two layers are crimped together. A layer of tomato sauce is slathered over the top thin layer of dough and the whole thing bakes for about 40-45 minutes till the dough is firm and somewhat crispy. The ingredients actually cook inside the layers of dough like a pie creating (in most cases) a moist, rich pizza that is remarkably flavorful.

When the finished pizza is cut, removed from the pan, and viewed from the side, the crimped top and bottom layers of dough create the illusion that the dough is two inches or more thick. While the pizza is in total a good inch or more thick, what you are actually measuring is the total thickness of the two layers of dough combined with all the ingredients and cheese stuffed in between (hence the name).

A Stuffed Pizza is not "crust, crust, crust and then some more crust" as you assert. In fact, of the many styles of pizza served in the Chicago area, after an actual thin crust pizza, a stuffed pizza has the least amount of dough of any of them.

But you are correct; Giordano's, IMHO, is not the best representative of the bunch.

Buddy
#48
gpbaker55
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RE: Best Pizza in Chicagoland area 2006/10/30 20:01:49 (permalink)
How about Father & Son's from the old days, are they sill around. My son still lives there and he seems to remember Shakey's Pizza, I don't I remember it in Oklahoma in the service in the 60's when he was born. Who's right?
#49
BuddyRoadhouse
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RE: Best Pizza in Chicagoland area 2006/10/30 20:38:02 (permalink)
Father & Son is not only still around, but they've expanded to several locations and a more comprehensive Italian menu.

As for Shakey's, I don't recall them ever having a strong presence in the Chicago market.

Buddy
#50
BTB
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RE: Best Pizza in Chicagoland area 2006/10/31 08:03:07 (permalink)
Abe, you are probably right on the expansion causing many quality control problems with Giordano's. That's typical of many successful businesses that can't duplicate their success elsewhere's. I realize that there are differences and you occasionally do find a gem among the little chains or associated restaurants and I hope you have with the Giordano's location that you were pleased with. I just never did in the many times I've tried Giordano's when I lived in the Chicago area. And Buddy, you may be right in theory about their stuffed pizzas having two thin layers of dough, but that has not been my experience as they always came out real doughy. And yes, I may have exaggerated a bit about the "one bite of sausage once in every 12 bites of pizza," . . . maybe one in 8 or one in 6!

I used to work up in the Skokie area for 20-some years and I became a die-hard Lou Malnati's fan, but mainly with the original Lincolnwood restaurant. Many of their "expansion" sites had not been very good, like the Schaumburg, Wells Street and other locations (although the Buffalo Grove location had improved alot). Marc Malnati needs to work on his quality control at his now many expanded sites. I still get a craving for their pizza and occasionally order a frozen "six pack" delivered by Federal Express overnight to me here in Florida. Not the same as at the restaurant, but it still is great.

Buddy, another favorite pizza place that we frequented for lunch many times that I know you are familiar with was Pequod's and although I didn't like it as much as Malnati's, I still thought it was very good. I loved that burnt, caramelized appearance that gave it a special flavor. While it looked burnt, it really wasn't and the taste was just great. My only minor problem was that they also were very frugal with the sausage and if I ordered just one ingredient of sausage, it came as basically a cheese pizza. But I learned, as I had at some other pizza places, that you had to order double sausage (or whatever) to get the quantity of the ingredient that you want. I haven't tried Burt's place, but hope to in the future when I'm in town. My wife and I tried a few pizzas when we visited in Chicago this past summer, including my old stomping grounds at Pizzeria Due's, but were disappointed in all the pizzas we had during our visit then, which I may later describe in this thread.
#51
BuddyRoadhouse
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RE: Best Pizza in Chicagoland area 2006/10/31 13:15:13 (permalink)
BTB,

Just curious, when were you visiting Pequod's? I ask because, as I have stated here and at other sites, Burt of Burt's Place was the founder and original owner of Pequod's (he sold the joint in '86 and reopened his current operation in '89) as well as both Gulliver's and The Inferno, both in the early '60s. If you were eating at Pequod's after June of '86 it was the post Burt era.

Next time you're in town, you really should try Burt's "new" place (we've been there for seventeen years; actually longer than we were at Pequod's), also in Morton Grove, two blocks west of the original Pequod's location. If you stop in on a Saturday evening it is more than likely I will be there to take care of you.

Burt is the current darling of the bunch over at www.LTHforum.com a Chicagocentric foodie site. Do a search on "Burt's Place" and you will read of their utter infatuation with Burt, his wife who works with him during the week, and most of all, the pizza. In fact, they just presented him with their Great Neighborhood Restaurant Award.

Hope to see you next time your visiting Our Town,

Buddy
#52
kland01s
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RE: Best Pizza in Chicagoland area 2006/10/31 13:40:04 (permalink)
My 80+ year old uncle always takes us to Gulliver's when we're up that way. I have never tried their pizza though it always looks good when I see it at tables around us. I like their food, a great neighborhood family place!
#53
BTB
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RE: Best Pizza in Chicagoland area 2006/11/02 12:48:15 (permalink)
Buddy, I probably visited Pequod's on and off during the period of 1978 to 1992, but I do remember the pizza being much better earlier during that period of time. And I vaguely recall learning that in the late 80s there was a change in ownership that resulted in the pizzas being a little different, . . . still good but not quite as good as they were before. I remember that one of our high level company officers would often have pizza picked up from Pequod's for himself and he would quietly eat it up in his office suite during lunch. You could smell the pizza down the hall and salivate at the thought of it. And long before that, we went to Gulliver's for lunch when they were very good, but stopped going sometime in the 80's when the quality of their pizza seemed to drop off dramatically. And now that I'm going down memory lane, I remember also the long lunches we took driving east down Howard St. to Western and going to the Candlelight for a great thin crust pizza there. Oh the things you think about now when you're far away. One place I don't miss, though, is the Gino's East Pizzeria that existed out east on Dempster St. You guys have got some great pizza places there and need to enjoy them while you can.
#54
hatteras04
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RE: Best Pizza in Chicagoland area 2006/11/06 13:34:59 (permalink)
quote:
Originally posted by saps

quote:
Originally posted by hatteras04

My sister lives near Wrigley and she likes D'Agostino's quite a bit. She supports the claim that I have heard from others on this board that true Chicago pizza is thin and the deep dish is for the tourists. She likes the deep dish but I think she only eats it when I am in town visiting. Fot that our favorite is Gino's on Rush which was closed the last time we tried to go. We ended up at Giordano's which was ok but nothing spectacular.


That's a ridiculous claim. There are dozens of places, many of them independents, that serve Chicago style pizza in the outlying areas that clearly don't cater to tourists. There certainly are deep dish pizza joints in the city that seem to attract tourists- Gino's and Pizzeria Uno and Due come to mind immediately. But there are a lot of other food places that cater to tourists as well.


Keep in mind that this was not my argument but I am repeating what my sister told me and what I read on other roadfood forums by people from Chicago.

I visited Chicago this weekend and my sister took my wife and I out to D'Agostino's and we got one deep dish and one thin crust. I liked them both. The pan pizza was not as thick as some of the others we have had but it was still very good and I liked the sweet sauce. The thin was also excellent and I think I liked it even better than the deep dish. I did notice that even though both were available that in a place that was full of what appeared to be locals wathcing the Bulls game that we were the only table that did not exclusively order thin crust.
#55
gpbaker55
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RE: Best Pizza in Chicagoland area 2006/11/07 22:52:43 (permalink)
Is Father & Sons still in Chicago? Was it on milwakee ave? It was many years ago!
#56
serkbiggs
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RE: Best Pizza in Chicagoland area 2006/11/11 22:27:21 (permalink)
I would have to say that my favorite pie in Chicago is Beggars (in the south suburbs) thin crust with sausage.
#57
timburr
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RE: Best Pizza in Chicagoland area 2007/03/03 18:10:22 (permalink)
you keep telling us Vito and Nick's pizza !!! Where is it!??? cant try it without a location...I see there is a Vito and Nicks two! Is this the same place? they seem to have three locations...same guys?Thanks!
#58
BTB
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RE: Best Pizza in Chicagoland area 2007/03/03 20:04:35 (permalink)
Here's a link to the original Vito and Nick's. http://www.vitoandnick.com/ Their original location is about 3 to 4 miles from Midway airport on 84th and South Pulaski. There is a running feud with another wing of the owning families who opened a few other stores under the Vito and Nick's II banner, but as you see from the original site, they disclaim any relationship with the other. Basically the same great thin crust pizza, tho.
#59
WIBEARFAN
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RE: Best Pizza in Chicagoland area 2007/03/14 15:07:13 (permalink)
I love Connie's Pizza the original one on Archer Ave & Normal
Years ago it was on 26th & Normal & down the block was Ricobene's
for Beef sandwichs.
#60
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