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paulraphael

Great pizza in Chicago

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My family's Xmas eve tradition has always been Giordano's pizza and champagne. We would buy it half baked, finish it off at home, and dig in while passing presents around. Bliss.

But last year just about everyone spontaneously came to the same conclusion: the pizza is not very good. It was a bit deflating to wake up from a delusion that goes back to childhood, but man, that pizza is basically a deep dish cheese casserole in a pastry shell. The little kids didn't like it, the grownups could barely get half a piece down before feeling queezy, and I found myself missing Brooklyn.

So what are some better choices? I've become a convert to the neapolitan-styled pizzas of New York's new wave. I realize these things don't travel so well, and I don't know what's available in Chicago, in the downtown / near north / lincoln park region. Preferably near north.

We'd like something delicious that can be taken home, and that could survive the trip and being reheated or held in the oven.

Any ideas?


Notes from the underbelly

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Well, the obvious would be the "best pizza in the country" at Great Lake in Andersonville, but don't let them hear about your plan to reheat it.

The sausage pizza at Coalfire is my favorite in the city, while others prefer Spacca Nappoli. Both would likely suffer heavily from the transit.

If you don't want to deal with potential waits at GL and want something a bit more forgiving to travel than the super-thin places, I might look to Piece or Roots. The former is an old standby for New Haven style, the latter is relatively new to the scene, offering "Quad Cities" style pizza, which has an addictively sweet, malty crust.


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Have you tried one of the HomeMade Pizza locations?


"A cloud o' dust! Could be most anything. Even a whirling dervish.

That, gentlemen, is the whirlingest dervish of them all." - The Professionals by Richard Brooks

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By the way, if you have the time and are on North Michigan Avenue during your stay, try to fit in lunch or dinner at The Purple Pig...you should enjoy the experience!


"A cloud o' dust! Could be most anything. Even a whirling dervish.

That, gentlemen, is the whirlingest dervish of them all." - The Professionals by Richard Brooks

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Have you tried one of the HomeMade Pizza locations?

One of these is right down the street. They were on the short list, but they close at 4pm on xmas eve. I'm a bit worried about trying to hold a pizza that long.

What's their pizza like?


Notes from the underbelly

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Pizza as your used to and my favorite type also, really doesn't exist in Chicago Land, at least i haven't been able to find it!

Burt is revered in Chicago but you have to like dish type pizza and unfortunately Burt comes with the pizza! I have yet to try Great Lakes.

The closest i have come is Wells Pizza in Racine Wisconsin which is near where we live but that doesn't help you at all.-Dick

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Regrettably, the Spacca Napoli style, blistered and crispy, can't travel without getting soggy. I personally love the Lou Malnati thin-crust and deep dish (though Lou himself threatened once, literally, to shoot me after a less-than-stellar review in my magazine, Chicago).

For a shorter trip and excellent thin-crust pizzas, I suggest you scoot to Pizzeria via Stato in the Embassy Suites between Ohio and Ontario on State. Ask chef David DiGregorio if their pies could be properly reconstituted on the rack of a highly preheated oven or a bread oven stone, if you have one.

FYI, I don't like the fold-over NY style pizzas, save for their best's luscious underside charring, which Pizzeria via Stato's have.

:wink:

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Have you tried one of the HomeMade Pizza locations?

One of these is right down the street. They were on the short list, but they close at 4pm on xmas eve. I'm a bit worried about trying to hold a pizza that long.

What's their pizza like?

I just checked this place out in person ... they give you an unbaked pizza to take home. I don't have high hopes for the quality, but as far as convenience it's tempting. I think baking our own will be a good fallback position.


Notes from the underbelly

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Have you tried one of the HomeMade Pizza locations?

One of these is right down the street. They were on the short list, but they close at 4pm on xmas eve. I'm a bit worried about trying to hold a pizza that long.

What's their pizza like?

In a word, it sucks (yes, I realize that's actually 2 words :wink:).

Crust is too thick and doughy. Ingredients are of high quality but they're bland and seem almost entirely out of place on a pizza, where each square inch of real estate should mean something. This a place where suburban moms buy ready-to-bake pies for their kids. I cannot imagine anyone who's serious about pizza regarding this place very highly at all. Interesting business model, to be sure, though.

=R=


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Have you tried the more traditional Chicago deep-dish "pizza in the pan", such as from Lou Malnati's? That single-crust style is different from the double-crust "stuffed pizza" variation that you get from Giordano's. Personally, I love both of them, but you should at least try both before ruling either one out.

As for HomeMade Pizza, I've had it and it has failed to satisfy. It's no better than that awful greasy, oregano-laden, foldable pizza they're stuck with in New York City.


Edited by nsxtasy (log)

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It's no better than that awful greasy, oregano-laden, foldable pizza they're stuck with in New York City.

Hey, watch it, buddy. You're messing with some serious nostalgia there.

So, Paul, what was the pizza decision this year?


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Have you tried the more traditional Chicago deep-dish "pizza in the pan", such as from Lou Malnati's? That single-crust style is different from the double-crust "stuffed pizza" variation that you get from Giordano's. Personally, I love both of them, but you should at least try both before ruling either one out.

As for HomeMade Pizza, I've had it and it has failed to satisfy. It's no better than that awful greasy, oregano-laden, foldable pizza they're stuck with in New York City.

Akin to Lou Malnati's would be Gino's East, my personal favorite of the city, but only by a *slight* margin over Lou's. Lou's would win for overall experience (atmosphere, fuller menu, etc.), but Gino's East would have the *slightest* edge over Lou's pizza, methinks. This, however, is based on the original location on Superior, and not the "new" location which took over the old Planet Hollywood, which I haven't experienced yet. It's strange...you wouldn't think that a simple venue change would affect the end product, but sometimes it can, and I don't want to espouse the ex-PH location product before I've had it.

Even so, there's still no besting Loui's Pizza in Hazel Park, MI. It's still the best pizza I've ever eaten, but it's most definitely not Chicago-style, but rather Detroit style.


Edited by boagman (log)

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