I'll second Marie's Pizza on Lawrence! I had it last night. Opened in 1950, my dad ate there since day 1. They still make pizza in the front window. It's a classic pizza neighborhood joint with the smoky bar and tacky interior. Pretty big place too.
Marie's is a true representative of thin Chicago pizza (which only a fool compares to New York style pizza - they are totally different-don't compare them as if they were the same!)
Do not take Marie's to go. You have to eat it there, it does not travel well.
To the person who picked up Malnati's in Highland Park - you remind me of my brother and his wife - clueless. When you get a deep dish pizza to go, ALWAYS ask for it UNCUT! This will prevent the pizza from getting soggy. When you get home, you are going to turn your oven on and put the pizza on a cookie sheet or pan on the lower rack for 10 solid minutes. I'd even cover the top with foil. The crust bottom will get crisp and hard again and it will be as close to optimal temperature and texture as the restaurant. PS - You're welcome.
I'm sorry if I come off as rude, but I have no respect for anyone that eats something not at optimal temperature/texture and still passes judgement. You're already disqualifed!
Barnaby's is a crazy one. They were started by Schlitz Beer, and opened in many states. We all know them for the windowless, dark rooms, corn meal on the crust, and the numbers they call out. If you want Barnaby's at it's best, there is only one location left that I know of that still does it right - Northbrook IL. They are the only ones that redecorated and actually have windows. The Barnaby's on Caldwell near Oakton is not bad, but it's still dingy. Other ones are god-awful. They just changed the recipe completely. Most people I know, including pizza freaks from the Chicago area, absolutely love Barnaby's of Northbrook over pretty much any other pizza. This includes all styles like deep dish, stuffed, New York style, etc. It's easily in my top 5. If you've never had it from Northbrook, PLEASE give it one more chance and try it. PS - Never ever go there on a Friday-Sunday between 5-8! It will be families with kids. Don't say I didn't warn you. Barnaby's is very consistent whether you take it to go or not. That is rare among pizza joints to me. You can even get them par-baked frozen, and keep some in your freezer.
Here are a bunch of quick mentions:
D'Augostino's - not bad, but sauce is just too sweet.
Pat's Pizza - another really thin one, really good.
Pequod (Morton Grove) - When it's at it's best - the deep dish is a favorite. Sometimes the dough isn't "right" and I'm not happy! I love the carmelized cheese.
Burt's Place (Morton Grove) - Once I found it, it was not bad, but maybe I will go back again.
Lou Malnati's - One of my all time favorite deep dish, Lincolnwood is the best location.
Gino's East - For some reason, all the locations are a step below the one on Wells and Ontario.
Home Run Inn - Cheese gets too rubbery. It can be really good, but I just don't crave it anymore.
Garibaldi's in Villa Park - I love this place for East Coast style pizza. Their frozen version was horrible.
Judy's (Highland Park) - Really thin, tasty, but sometimes too much cheese.
Bill's (Mundelein) - Many people love this Lake County place, and it's a good thin 'za. The double decker was ok, and deadly with molten sauce coming out of the sides.
Il Forno (Highland Park) - I had this a lot as a kid. It's not bad, very cheesy and greasy.
Il Forno (Deerfield) - Different owner and pizza. Similar to other one, but not as greasy. (So it comes down to how much grease you want this time!)
Aurelio's - A unique thin pizza, with a sweet sauce. The cheese is sometimes too much for me. It also burns really strange when I ask for well done.
Gulo's Pizza Paddle (Buffalo Grove) - Very good thin crust pizza. They win best pizza in Buffalo Grove all the time.
Joe's Pizzeria (Wheeling) - A real hole in the wall dive with a super thin pizza that is one of those neighborhood style joints that is all it's own.
My Pi (Clark near Fullerton) - A very good deep dish, similar to Gino's East. Sauce is smooth, not chunky.
None of the Stuffed Pizza places in Chicago have ever won me over, though one time I had an amazing pizza at Nancy's. The crust had corn meal on the bottom and a lot of flavor. I don't know what happened after that, the crust was totally different. Maybe it was a one off Nancy's location that had that. Anyone know?
HONORABLE MENTION (Top 5 pizza joint)
Timpone's (Urbana, IL) - Yes Urbana has one of the best thin crust pizzas hands down. It's paper thin, with minimal cheese and a unique flavor. They even cut it like no other place I've seen! Be ready to order 2 of them since they are not that big. Why this place? I've driven to Nashville a bunch of times and when I go with friends, they all want to stop there. My brother was in a band with 6 other guys, and on road trips to Carbondale or St. Louis or Springfield they would stop there on both legs of their trip even if it meant extra driving time. The crazy thing about this place is that it is an upscale Italian restaurant with cloth napkins. I always eat in the small bar area when you first walk in. Upstairs is the main dining room. There is a small chance I might go there next week. If I do, I am going to be tempted to bring a bunch home to freeze.
I could keep going but I'm tired![|)]