Got a hankering for the ooey, gooey goodness of pizza and you’ve tried all the go-to Chicago pizza places? (Cheers to Giordano’s, Lou Malnati’s and the like.) Chicago is brimming with so many sensational pizza options, from wood-fired creations to crispy, buttery crusts. Here are eight acclaimed pizza places ripe for your dining pleasure, whether you want to walk on the wilder pizza side or keep it simple but tasty.
Great for: Wood-fired crust and inventive toppings
Both the Wicker Park and West Loop locations feature spacious patios (with ping pong!) and a modern, rustic indoor vibe. Neapolitan-inspired pizzas are cooked in imported Italian wood-burning ovens at full view from the dining room. Kids get a kick out of seeing their pizza creations fired up right before their very eyes.
Each pizza is a generous 12 inches, with your choice of interesting toppings, from burrata to Brussels sprouts. Creative seasonal cocktails and rotating craft beers provide alluring adult beverage options.
Great for: Interesting sauces
This Webster Avenue pizza place divides its menu into the meats, chicken and veggies, but what’s most distinct are the variety of sauces. Ever had Cheddar & ranch, spinach/ ricotta or cheddar & cream cheese on your ‘za? Me neither, until now. They are definitely worth a try.
Think “chicken taco on pizza” and that’s what the Mercenary is. The Knife & Forkner presents pepperoni, blackened chicken, bacon, red onions, three cheeses and barbecue sauce on a wood-fired crust. There are 10 tempting pizzas on the veggie menu, helping you to get your greens in the most delicious way. The lodge setting with tree trunk tables is super cool, especially the penny-clad bathroom floor. Homeslice boasts a kitschy outdoor patio, but it’s only for the over-21 crowd. Come another time without the kids and order a drink in a honey bear glass.
Great for: Focaccia-like deep dish
If you like focaccia, then Pequod’s is your place for pizza. They serve up deep dish and thin crust, and are known for their caramelized cheese crust. The deep dish is airy like focaccia and is served up in Chicago and Morton Grove.
Great for: Crispy, buttery crust
With six locations across Chicagoland, Pizano’s lays claim to being Oprah’s favorite thin crust. It’s crispy, buttery and oh-so-delicious. With just the right crunch and caramelization, their pizza provides the perfect base for your favorite, traditional toppings. Run by Rudy Malnati, Jr., son of the Chicago-style pizza creator and brother of Lou Malnati, this powerhouse pizza family sure knows what they’re doing, from deep dish to thin crust.
Great for: Mac & cheese pizza and Vegan pizza
If you’re out and about in Wrigleyville or the Six Corners and want to pop in for a quick, yet flavorful, slice of pizza, Dimo’s is the place to go. Imagine dishes like chicken curry, mac & cheese and hamburger with tangy pickles on a pizza crust, and that is the deliciousness that Dimo’s serves up. Not for the finicky eaters, this is a place for those that truly want to try something totally different. They heat up flavorful slices fast, including Vegan, and have some inventive options, like Chicken n’ Waffles.
Great for: Cornmeal crust
This suburban staple has been serving up cornmeal thin crust pizza for decades. I devoured pizza at Barnaby’s as a kid, so it’s heartwarming when my kids request their gatherings there now.
Seat yourself in a wooden booth, then order at the counter for a no frills, budget-stretching experience. Pitchers of soda and beer are available at the bar. Listen for your number and soon you’ll be savoring a family tradition.
Great for: Dessert pizza
Piece Brewery & Pizzeria serves up New Haven style pizza in red, white, BBQ and other varieties. Pick your pleasure from the creative topping choices, including meatballs, clams, mashed potatoes and banana peppers. Our kids’ favorite was the Chocolate Pizza, with homemade chocolate hazelnut sauce and mascarpone cheese on the soft, wood-fired crust. Fresh from the oven, it is heavenly—a melt-in-your-mouth, memorable way to finish a family meal, plus there are plenty of pieces for sharing. I can’t recommend Piece and not bring up their beer. Order an award-winning brew to go with your dinner, or bring a growler home for your honey. These suds take the edge off any tough parenting day.
Great for: Pizza pot pies
Lines out the door are the standard at Chicago Pizza & Oven Grinder Co. Go early to enjoy their pot pie pizzas with less wait (either way, they’re worth it). The pizza pies are cooked upside down in a soup bowl and spooned out for you to enjoy the stringy, hot mozzarella cheese. It’s a unique pizza experience in a lower-level, Lincoln Park restaurant. Huge salads and Mediterranean bread top off the experience. Be sure to stop at the ATM first, though; it’s cash only.
Follow Chicago Parent on Instagram.