Looking for Chicago Style Pizza in Chicago

Post
pnwchef
Filet Mignon
2013/04/10 20:42:56
I'll be in Chicago in June for two nights, looking for the best............thx
Foodbme
Porterhouse
Re:Looking for Chicago Style Pizza in Chicago 2013/04/11 00:24:59
as Yogi Berra would say, "If you're looking for Chocago style Pizza in Chocago, Chocago's a good place to look for it"!
Samsquantch
Junior Burger
Re:Looking for Chicago Style Pizza in Chicago 2013/04/11 09:48:53
As I'm sure when you refer to "Chicago Style" pizza, you mean the deep dish, stuffed thing that was invented in the 1940s....and that nobody I know personally in Chicago....with very few exceptions... ever eats. However, as we just moved away, I did give in after many years just prior to leaving....and had the Cheeseburger Pizza at Genos East in Lake Geneva (but there is at least one in Chicago)....wow....truly amazing....glad I did not know about this for the previous 15 years, as the calories must be off the chart....but a delicious indulgence nonetheless!!!

There is a place in Morton Grove north of the city called Burt's Place...that gets spectacular reviews from critics..and although I've never had it, I've seen it profiled on multiple food shows....and it looks tremendous....but you MUST call your order in ahead...even for dining in...and cash only....one of my biggest regrets never having gotten there..

Now, a REAL Chicago style pizza could not be more different than the aforementioned belly bricks....rather, it is a crispy cracker thin crust....cut into tiny squares....and commonly known as the Chicago Bar Pizza....been served since....well...forever in town.

The best in my opinion is at Marie's on W. Lawrence Ave....ahhhhh....just the best...plus REAL old retro Chicago ambiance....servers been there for decades....get the sausage pie..and order it cooked well done (trust me)

Others of this genre:

D'agostinos on Southport
Paternos on N. Milwaukee
Calo on N. Clark St.
Father and Sons on Milwaukee

pnwchef
Filet Mignon
Re:Looking for Chicago Style Pizza in Chicago 2013/04/11 14:00:58
Sam, I had a good Chicago Deep dish pizza last time I was there, many yrs ago. To me eating something other than a CDDP in Chicago, would be like eating a Polish sausage in Little Italy, or Chicago Style Hot Dog on 42nd st in NYC..........There is a unwritten law, written by (Chewingthefat) that states.......When in Rome do as the Romans, when in Maryland, eat BBQ............I follows these rules..............
kland01s
Filet Mignon
Re:Looking for Chicago Style Pizza in Chicago 2013/04/11 14:40:41
What Sam  is saying, most of us who live in Chicago don't eat deep dish. Maybe now and then a Lou Malinati's but day to day, cracker thin crust is the norm.
post edited by kland01s - 2013/04/11 15:34:36
Samsquantch
Junior Burger
Re:Looking for Chicago Style Pizza in Chicago 2013/04/11 15:23:17
Exactly klan....if one wants to eat as the Romans do in Chicago...then it is cracker crust all the way....

Again...and this is not a slam in any way, but the vast majority deep dish eaters tend to be tourists....and folks from the burbs (some of my dearest friends I might add)...so really pnwchef,,I sincerely DO subscribe to your philosophy ...that's why I suggested the places I did, so you can get a genuine feel for how locals eat...(and believe me I KNOW the "I'm a local, and all I eat is deep dish" posts are coming...but again, just 20 plus years of personal resident experience!

That being said, for the style you crave, I think Genos does the best job....oh, and the old Lou Malnatis in Lincolnwood....better than the one downtown in my opinion...they will even make you one with no bread....cheese, sauce and toppings only...great flavor without that heavy crust!

And again, just one doofus' opinion, but I would avoid UNO and DUE..the inventors of this style....long long waits for a pizza that tastes the same (average) at any of their national chain locations around the country...

Chicago' s "pizza culture" has really exploded in the last few years....you can now get authentic Neopolitan style, New Haven style, Sicilian style, New York style...it's really become quite a competitive market....but as for Chicago style....thick or thin, those would be my recommendations...

Enjoy!
post edited by Samsquantch - 2013/04/11 15:47:21
Rocky Enfield
Hamburger
Re:Looking for Chicago Style Pizza in Chicago 2013/04/11 15:59:36
I am fond of Gino's East on Superior St.  It is a Chicago landmark.  I know that many roadfooders (one in particular) are devoted to Burt's Place but I have never been there so I can't comment.  If you're staying in the Loop or on the Mag Mile Gino's is much more convenient.  I am a fan of their sausage pizza with the whole patty of sausage that covers the entire pizza.  I have been going to Gino's since I was a kid so it could be the nostalgia factor that clouds my judgement.  I have been to Lou Malnati's and it is good but my favorite continues to be Gino's.  Wherever you end up going ENJOY!
pnwchef
Filet Mignon
Re:Looking for Chicago Style Pizza in Chicago 2013/04/11 18:10:08
I guess when I think of Chicago, I think deep dish pizza. I only get there once every 10 or 15 yrs. I know it may not be the best pizza in town, but, it will be a slice of tradition at our table. We are off to NYC after that, for me it's deli's and traditional foods around town. From there it's Philadelphia with more traditional foods. As you can see we are hitting some real good roadfood cities, I am ready, willing and waiting for some great food...........thx for the help ..................Bill
kland01s
Filet Mignon
Re:Looking for Chicago Style Pizza in Chicago 2013/04/11 19:26:59
If you are only in Chicago for a short time, skip the pizza! Go for Italian beef, Greek, Mexican, Indian. Chicago has a huge amount of variety to limit it to pizza.
Bonk
Double Cheeseburger
Re:Looking for Chicago Style Pizza in Chicago 2013/04/11 20:24:10
kland01s

If you are only in Chicago for a short time, skip the pizza! Go for Italian beef, Greek, Mexican, Indian. Chicago has a huge amount of variety to limit it to pizza.

 
Yeah, find a Portillo's (they're everywhere) and get an Italian beef dipped with sweet peppers. One of the best foods on the planet.

pnwchef
Filet Mignon
Re:Looking for Chicago Style Pizza in Chicago 2013/04/12 08:59:38
Not many places you can get a good roast beef sandwich in the PNW. Portillo's sounds good, nice Irish name, how could I go wrong........Portillo's is just a few blocks down the street from where we are staying, sounds like a good way to start the day,Italian beef dipped with sweet peppers for breakfast........................I don't know why Washington State knows nothing about Roast beef sandwiches, I would think Roast beef would be an all American sandwich in any state you go too..............It's not like we have a shortage of beef in this country. .........thx...............pnwc
Re:Looking for Chicago Style Pizza in Chicago 2013/04/12 10:05:26
What other restaurants are in the immediate vicinity of your hotel?
 
Connie's was my favorite pizza when I lived there but that was over 23 years ago.
pnwchef
Filet Mignon
Re:Looking for Chicago Style Pizza in Chicago 2013/04/12 10:38:12
ScreamingChicken

What other restaurants are in the immediate vicinity of your hotel?

Connie's was my favorite pizza when I lived there but that was over 23 years ago.

SC, I am staying at the Downtown Marriott, so there is a lot with in walking distance. I only have a short time in Chicago, then flying to NYC.............
post edited by pnwchef - 2013/04/12 11:03:06
Samsquantch
Junior Burger
Re:Looking for Chicago Style Pizza in Chicago 2013/04/12 10:52:31
Oh my...Portillos Italian Beef.......yummmmmmm....but get some hot giardinara on the side at least....really great balance with the sweet peppers! And you are right to get it "wet"

And believe it or not,,Portillos has amazing chocolate cake!

And I make no apologies for the next recommendation....but you have to hit the Billy Goat for a double cheeseburger...OR a salami and egg sandwich....true classic old Chicago greasy joint..

Plus, your hotel is so close you are practically on top of it....you can probably smell the grill from your room!! :)

Oh..and when in NY...see link below....used to work around corner.....Eisenbergs...a real piece of NY deli history!


post edited by Samsquantch - 2013/04/12 11:02:21
Wintahaba
Cheeseburger
Re:Looking for Chicago Style Pizza in Chicago 2013/04/12 11:10:06
@Samsquantch......I somewhat agree, but I would go  just wet w/ hot giardnara....a simple yet complete Italian Beef experience. BTW, My wife and daughter LOVE the cake also.
pnwchef
Filet Mignon
Re:Looking for Chicago Style Pizza in Chicago 2013/04/12 11:19:41
Samsquantch

Oh my...Portillos Italian Beef.......yummmmmmm....but get some hot giardinara on the side at least....really great balance with the sweet peppers! And you are right to get it "wet"

And believe it or not,,Portillos has amazing chocolate cake!

And I make no apologies for the next recommendation....but you have to hit the Billy Goat for a double cheeseburger...OR a salami and egg sandwich....true classic old Chicago greasy joint..

Plus, your hotel is so close you are practically on top of it....you can probably smell the grill from your room!! :)

Oh..and when in NY...see link below....used to work around corner.....Eisenbergs...a real piece of NY deli history!

I saw the Billy Goat on a food channel the other night, it looked great and like you said, it's Chicago all the way.
 I looked at Eisenberg Deli, WOW, it looks like the old time delis, lunch counter and all. I love these kind of places, they are getting far and few between..................
I was in Palm Dessert Calif last week, I stopped at Shermans deli for a Hot Pastrami on Rye. Lets just say, I can't want to get back to the pastrami I love and remember in NYC..........I wish I could tell you how the pickles were but, my little girl downed them as fast as they brought them out.................thx...................Bill
Foodbme
Porterhouse
Re:Looking for Chicago Style Pizza in Chicago 2013/04/13 01:19:39
I know this is a Pizza thread and your time in Chicago is limited----but---- If you have time for some of the best Baby Backs you'll ever eat, check out Miller's Pub. It epitomizes what an old Chicago Saloon is all about! Capone could be sitting at the corner table.
www.millerspub.com
post edited by Foodbme - 2013/04/13 01:26:14
Samsquantch
Junior Burger
Re:Looking for Chicago Style Pizza in Chicago 2013/04/13 09:07:20
Yes, yes, YES....Millers Pub!....even if you don't have a chance to eat, at least have a drink at the bar! Legendary!...and agree about the ribs......local "foodie" types put down this style of "fall off the bone" ribs as "meat jello"...preferring the more southern style....but good is good...and these are very good....again, an example of classic Chicago food.

You can also get a pretty damn fine, inexpensive prime rib too...

Lots of old photos covering the walls...a veritable museum of Chicago celebrities (some borderline) through the years...and if Mike the bartender is there....he's the oldest one.....ask him about the movie he was in!

pnwchef
Filet Mignon
Re:Looking for Chicago Style Pizza in Chicago 2013/04/13 13:29:28
So many places, so little time. Millers Pub looks great, it has the kind of ribs my wife loves. The reason I am doing Pizza is, my wife has good memories of Chicago style pizza and a Greek salad that we shared on a business trip to Chicago. I like places like Millers, the old Chicago bar and restaurant. This is the reason we are going back to Peter Lugers in NYC, great food by people that have been doing it for ever.  ............thx for al the great restaurant ideas, some of these choices will be on the schedule in June........................Bill
HOGIE
Junior Burger
Re:Looking for Chicago Style Pizza in Chicago 2013/04/17 20:31:47
First off, Portillo's is a complete waste of money. Stale bread, beef as tough as asphalt. Save your money for a beef from Al's. Now, pizza...cracker crust is the only way to go. South side, Nick & Vitos is a must. If you up north, try Barnaby's..they have a few locations, each is individually owned and operated, our fav is in DesPlaines.
HOGIE
Junior Burger
Re:Looking for Chicago Style Pizza in Chicago 2013/04/17 20:34:54
And as it goes for the Billy Goat, it is a must. The original is classic. I once ate three triple cheese burgers there in one sitting.
carolina bob
Filet Mignon
Re:Looking for Chicago Style Pizza in Chicago 2013/04/17 23:26:13
Portillo's a waste of money? I don't agree at all. While Al's is my favorite Italian beef place, I've enjoyed many beef sandwiches at various Portillo's locations. In fact, Portillo's is my third favorite after Al's and Mr. Beef on Orleans ( Johnnie's and Pop's rate high on my list too. )  
BuddyRoadhouse
Filet Mignon
Re:Looking for Chicago Style Pizza in Chicago 2013/04/18 02:48:45
Bob, I'm not a fan of Portillo's based solely on the fact that they've grown to "Chain Size".  Nothing wrong with their food, but nothing particularly special either.  Gimme a good ol' Mom & Pop joint for an Italian Beef sandwich any day.
 
I'm more a fan of Al's than Mr. Beef, but as far as I'm concerned, Johnnie's is the total package.  Never had Pop's 'cause you've never taken me there.  What's the hold up?
 
Buddy
carolina bob
Filet Mignon
Re:Looking for Chicago Style Pizza in Chicago 2013/04/18 04:16:26
Buddy, with the exception of one on North Ave. in Elmhurst, all of Pop's locations are in the south suburbs and northwestern Indiana ( 12 in all. ) If you feel like driving down to my neck of the woods sometime to sample their goodies, just let me know; there's one less than 10 minutes from my place.
pnwchef
Filet Mignon
Re:Looking for Chicago Style Pizza in Chicago 2013/04/18 09:36:14
OK, now that I'm all screwed up on where to go for an Italian Beef ??? Portillo's and Al's Beef are a block apart with Mcdonalds being right across the street (McDonalds will keep Mollie happy)........they are all on W Ontario st about 4 or 5 blocks from my Hotel.................What is it guys Portillo's or Al's ???????????????????
kland01s
Filet Mignon
Re:Looking for Chicago Style Pizza in Chicago 2013/04/18 09:50:21
carolina bob

Portillo's a waste of money? I don't agree at all. While Al's is my favorite Italian beef place, I've enjoyed many beef sandwiches at various Portillo's locations. In fact, Portillo's is my third favorite after Al's and Mr. Beef on Orleans ( Johnnie's and Pop's rate high on my list too. )  

 
I agree about Portillo's, been eating there ( and a few others) since Dick Portillo opened his first. Always consistently good.
carolina bob
Filet Mignon
Re:Looking for Chicago Style Pizza in Chicago 2013/04/18 09:50:50
If you only have time and appetite for one beef sandwich, make it Al's. The others can wait until your next visit to Chicago.
kland01s
Filet Mignon
Re:Looking for Chicago Style Pizza in Chicago 2013/04/18 09:57:36
pnwchef

OK, now that I'm all screwed up on where to go for an Italian Beef ??? Portillo's and Al's Beef are a block apart with Mcdonalds being right across the street (McDonalds will keep Mollie happy)........they are all on W Ontario st about 4 or 5 blocks from my Hotel.................What is it guys Portillo's or Al's ???????????????????

Portillo's has more than just beefs if not everyone in you party is in to that. Great char burgers, tuna steak sandwiches,  roasted pepper sandwiches, salads. I don't know that location features but some have ribs, other feature pasta. It's a big crazy place!
http://www.portillos.com/portillos/
BuddyRoadhouse
Filet Mignon
Re:Looking for Chicago Style Pizza in Chicago 2013/04/18 10:04:20
Given a choice between Portillo's and Al's, I'd say it's Al's, hands down, especially if you go to the Taylor Street location.  For starters, you'll get fresh cut fries at Al's.  Portillo's serves a frozen institutional brand.
 
Second, right across the street from Al's on Taylor Street is Mario's Italian Ice stand.  Skip the Coke at Al's.  Go to Mario's for an ice cold slushy Italian Ice.  One person in your party stands in line at Al's for the sandwiches and fries, the other person stands in line at Mario's for the ices.  If you time it out right, you'll both be meeting back at the trunk of your car at the same time.  Al's has an indoor eating area, standing at a counter, but don't bring Mario's Ice into Al's; bad form.  Instead opt for one for the outdoor tables, or as stated before, you can dine "ala trunk".
 
In June you should be able to get one of Mario's fresh fruit flavored ices.  I'm partial to cantaloupe, but there's also watermelon and tutti frutti, available on a regular basis.  Less certain, but totally worth it if it's available, is the fresh peach.  They also have about a dozen and a half syrup based flavors always available.  Or you could always just get classic lemon.
 
Oh yeah, the other reason I like Al's over Portillo's, I just think Al's serves a better beef sandwich.
 
That's my pitch for Al's.  Can anybody match that for Portillo's?
 
Buddy
gostillerz
Cheeseburger
Re:Looking for Chicago Style Pizza in Chicago 2013/04/18 10:48:17
If they're that close, go to both. Share a sammich at each place ;-)

Hot, sweet, dipped. Maybe even a combo with Italian sausage. Portillo's has good hot dogs and burgers too, but Al's is better in my opinion. Italian beefs are easily my second favorite sammich, only after a roast pork w/broccoli rabe in Philly. I've resorted to making ghetto versions at home.

I know Chicagoans aren't big on deep dish pizza, but I'd never go to Chicago without stopping at Giordano's. Their spinach stuffed pizza is amazing.

Another cool place to go is where they make the pizzas pot pies. It's just so different and fun. I think it's called The Oven Grinder Co, but I'm sure someone here can correct me.
post edited by gostillerz - 2013/04/18 10:53:53
pnwchef
Filet Mignon
Re:Looking for Chicago Style Pizza in Chicago 2013/04/18 11:26:28
 
gostillerz: Portillo's looks likea place that does a lot of menu items, The sausage they serve looks great, it's charred on the grill, looks like something well worth trying. That being said, the Italian Beef at Al's looks more original, like it is full of flavor and melts in your mouth. After Chicago, it's a flight to NYC and then to Philly for that Roast Pork you just talked about................I am looking forward to these great sandwiches..............
 
Buddy, I'll be going to the one on Ontario St, it's just a few blocks from my Hotel. I will not have a car, but it isn't beneath me to sit on the curb to eat a great sandwich.............thanks for the tip on the Italian ice
 
 
 
hatteras04
Double Chili Cheeseburger
Re:Looking for Chicago Style Pizza in Chicago 2013/04/18 15:54:13
I am by no means an Italian beef expert, but I have sampled quite a few in my time.  In my opinion Al's is overall better but I think Portillo's is the better one to have first.  I think the giardiniera is more traditional at Portillo's and it's the baseline I use to judge other's by.  The pepper mixture at Al's is dominated by red pepper flakes which I like but almost overwhelm the sandwich and took some getting used to.  There is no question that the fries are better at Al's.  I do think it might be wise to accept the above suggestion since you are staying right there to try a half of a sandwich at both places.  I'd be interested to hear what you think.
 
As for pizza, I've stated here before that my favorite is Pequod's but it has to be ordered with extra cheese and extra sauce.  Here is a link to the story that made me start ordering it that way.  It would be worth the train or cab ride to get.   I have still not made it to burt's for a comparison:
 
http://chicago.seriouseats.com/2011/04/chicago-essential-pequods-pizza-review-daniel-zemans.html
Samsquantch
Junior Burger
Re:Looking for Chicago Style Pizza in Chicago 2013/04/18 16:28:34
Whoever earlier mentioned Vito and Nicks is RIGHT ON...but sadly, sure there is no way he has time to go that far...but my oh my...almost the gold standard for real Chicago style cracker crust...just had it for first time before we moved away....waited too long!

Chicago Oven Grinders?...it's been years....but I'll bet he'd love it....simply nothing like it...barely can even be called a pizza...more like a pot pie....but good nonetheless.....right across the street from St. Valentines Day Massacre site....which is hard to believe now, as this is the epicenter of all that is yuppie in Chicago....

As for the Italian Beef debate......Al's is more authentic....and wonderful...but God help me....I like Portillos more...chain or not...
Bonk
Double Cheeseburger
Re:Looking for Chicago Style Pizza in Chicago 2013/04/18 18:03:26
HOGIE

First off, Portillo's is a complete waste of money. Stale bread, beef as tough as asphalt. Save your money for a beef from Al's. Now, pizza...cracker crust is the only way to go. South side, Nick & Vitos is a must. If you up north, try Barnaby's..they have a few locations, each is individually owned and operated, our fav is in DesPlaines.

 
When I get home the first place we go is Portillo's at North Ave. and Bloomingdale out by where you live, so I'm curious where you've had bad experiences with them. I must've eaten at 10 locations hundreds of times and I've never, ever had stale bread or even remotely tough beef.

pnwchef
Filet Mignon
Re:Looking for Chicago Style Pizza in Chicago 2013/04/19 09:49:11
Bonk

HOGIE

First off, Portillo's is a complete waste of money. Stale bread, beef as tough as asphalt. Save your money for a beef from Al's. Now, pizza...cracker crust is the only way to go. South side, Nick & Vitos is a must. If you up north, try Barnaby's..they have a few locations, each is individually owned and operated, our fav is in DesPlaines.


When I get home the first place we go is Portillo's at North Ave. and Bloomingdale out by where you live, so I'm curious where you've had bad experiences with them. I must've eaten at 10 locations hundreds of times and I've never, ever had stale bread or even remotely tough beef.

Bonk, it looks like most of the RF Members are saying good things about Portillo's, they seem to all be surprised that a chain restaurant is doing the job their doing. I think thats a plus for all of us, now we will not have to travel to just one location, there may be more of the locations to choose from...............Whats nice about the location of Al's and Portillo's on Ontario St is, they are a block apart. I think I'm going to be undecided until I start out walking to these locations in June.......................pnwc
brisketboy
Double Chili Cheeseburger
Re:Looking for Chicago Style Pizza in Chicago 2013/04/19 10:50:04
I can't speak to this subject except for what I know. Having grown up on Chicago's north side really close to Wrigley Feild I can tell you that you can't stand on any given street corner near Clark and Montrose and swing a dead cat (sorry PETA) without hitting at least two mom and pop joints that sell really thin crust pies. One that comes immediatly to mind is Angelo's on Montrose near Albany Ave. The only time I was near one of them deep dish monstrosities was when my in-laws flew into town from Detroit. I was not impressed.
 
carolina bob
Filet Mignon
Re:Looking for Chicago Style Pizza in Chicago 2013/04/19 12:14:32
Just thought I'd mention that, besides really good Italian beef, Portillo's serves up very tasty char-broiled burgers, along with an impressive chocolate cake. 
jorenmathew
Junior Burger
Re:Looking for Chicago Style Pizza in Chicago 2013/05/20 04:37:19
Good to know about this, I am going to chicago , surely go there and enjoy the holidays
eruby
Double Cheeseburger
Re:Looking for Chicago Style Pizza in Chicago 2013/05/20 08:02:48
Been a long time since I was in Chicago, but I really liked:
 
Al's for an Italian beef.  White Castle for a couple of burgers (only have em frozen in Maryland - it's a short walk from Midway).  Lou Malnati's for deep dish pizza.  Billy Goat for one cheezborger cheezborger (not that great, but I'm a nostalgia/SNL chump).  Portillo's for a Chicago style hot dog (no sport peppers, I'm a panty-waist).
 
I know it's a short trip fpr you, but if you have time, the Field Museum is excellent.