• Victoria Hardison-Sterry

The Best Pizza in Town... or is it


Pizza! Who makes it better? Chicago? New York? Italy? This topic always starts an argument at my house. But on this day, we were on our way to find the best pizza in Chicago and I can’t think of a better way to do it than a pizza tour!

​​They say Chicago's gooey, cheesy, deep-dish pizza, characterized by its thick cornmeal crust, was invented by Pizzeria Uno in 1943. But on our tour, we visited 4 restaurants in 4 different neighborhoods of Chicago, that highlighted just how far "the windy city" pie has come. We're told that if we eat all the slices put in front of us we will each consume 3 pounds of pizza. Let's Eat!

Stop #1: Pizano's Pizza & Pasta

​​Rudy Malnati Sr. opened his first restaurant, Pizzeria Uno, in 1943. Located in Chicago, he featured “Deep Dish Pizza”, an innovative creation that made a meal of pizza, which had previously only been eaten as a snack. Having learned the ins-and-outs of the pizza business from his father, Rudy Malnati Jr. developed Pizano's now famous thin crust pizza and opened Pizano’s in 1991.

Here you have the traditional Deep Dish Cheese pizza, and two slices of sausage thin crust pizza. The Crust had a really great rustic flavor to it. It was well done and crisp but not burnt. All I could think is this is what my Sicilian Grandmother, Nanny, had been trying to order all these years. The restaurant is decorated with Chicago Sports teams, red and white checkered table cloths, and cheesy Christmas lights all around. If this was stop one, it was going to be a great three hours ahead.

Stop #2: Flo & Santos:

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The name says it all Pizza & Pierogis. Located in the South Loop, this Polish Italian Fusion restaurant wasn't in the neighborhood until 15 years ago. My first clue it was some of the best pizza around was the fact that many of Chicago's finest (Chicago police men/women) were dining there. We had two types of pizza there. First up Polska Kielbasa, sauerkraut, with apple wood smoked bacon. The crust was so thin and crunchy and the sauce to cheese ratio was perfect.

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The second pizza was Marco's Italian Beef - Shaved beef, giardiniera, caramelized onion, and fire roasted tomatoes. Quite fitting to have in Chicago. It was then that we learned that pizza was the way that taverns used keep customers drinking during the depression. They cut it into squares, served it on a cocktail napkin, and gave it out for free. The salt in the dough plus the salt in the cheese kept the patrons drinking and not going home. Upon leaving Flo and Santos we took a vote for the favorite pizza & the Polish pizza won.

​​ Stop #3 Pequod's Pizza

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Looking for a Blackhawks bar that serves the true Deep-Dish Chicago Pizza? Then go to Pequod's in Lincoln Park. For me, I couldn't even finish one slice. I chose to eat this one starting from "the crust" as they are known for their caramelized crust and sweet sauce. Today, they served up a pepperoni pizza and it did not disappoint. By now, I am ready to explode.

Stop #4 (Last stop): Coalfire Pizza

We ended with American Neapolitan Style pizza that took 90 seconds to cook in West Town. Mainly because I think most of us could barely take another bite. What was most impressive about Coalfire were the unique flavors that melded so well.

First, we had a Pepperoni​ ​&​ ​Whipped​ ​Ricotta​​ ​​​with mozzarella, ​sauce, ​thick-cut​ ​pepperoni, ​​ricotta, garlic, ​and ​basil.

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We also tried a ​White​ ​Pizza​​ ​​with mozzarella, ​garlic, ​evoo, ​oregano, ​basil, and whipped​ ​ricotta. The hands down favorite, however, was the Pistachio​ ​Pesto​​ ​​with​ ​Berkshire​ ​sausage, ​burrata, ​and ​honey. It went so fast I couldn't even snag a picture.

This was a great 4-hour tour. Needless to say, we didn't eat the rest of the day.

Want to know how to enjoy a pizza tour just like this one?

Contact me at Victoria@luxuryeditiontravel.com for more information.


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