REALLY GREAT PIZZA
Spacca Napoli - My personal favorite Neapolitan spot in the country. I don't think anybody cares more than Jonathan Goldsmith and I know that nobody has a better story about how they got into pizza.
Suggested Pies: All.
Pequod's - It seems like this one hasn't permeated the culture like Lou Malnati's, but it should. It's a semi-thick pan pizza with spare toppings (for deep dish) and a glorious ring of charred cheese and it will own you.
Suggested Pies: I think you're fine with sausage, but Dan says to add extra sauce and extra cheese.
Lou Malnati - Oh look, another guy not from Chicago saying you gotta try Lou's. How revolutionary. I don't care, go pay your respects. Also, feel free to take one home on the plane, deep dish is harder to kill than a werewolf.
Suggested Pies: Chicago Classic with the butter crust.
Labriola Cafe - This might be my new favorite. It's got a thinner, bread-ier crust than other places while still maintaining all the other qualities you want from Chicago gut bombs.
Suggested Pies: Sausage.
Pat’s - This isn't everyone's favorite thin-crust Chicago bar pie, but it's mine. Don't get mad at me but I always describe it as the very, very best possible version of a frozen Tombstone pizza cut into squares.
Suggested Pies: I'm starting to think sausage is the only ingredient I recommend in Chicago.
Burt’s - I had one glorious and one mortifying visit when Burt was in the back, but the man has passed. I'm not sure if the guys who bought it and promised to keep it the same are successful, but it was a great place.
Suggested Pies: If it's anything like it was, all the pies are good.
Vito & Nick’s - This is the thin-crust everyone it's publicly acceptable to love. And that's fine because it's great, the dive bar atmosphere is perfect, and it's semi-on-the-way to the airport if you're lucky.
Suggested Pies: Um...sausage.
Pizano's - I get this for the plane if I don't get Lou's. I'm always surprised how different it tastes even though it looks roughly the same and is from the same lineage. I think the tangy cheese stands out more in a good way.
Suggested Pies: I'm not even saying it anymore.
Piece - It's the best New Haven style pizza I've ever had...in Chicago. I think of it more as a beer hall but if I lived here it would be in heavy rotation.
Suggested Pies: Not sausage, but Hot Doug's Atomic Sausage.
Root's - Are you a completist like me? Do you need to check Quad Cities Pizza off your list? Are you looking for a place with a dense, sweet crust? Go here.
Art of Pizza - It's been years since I had it but it was the best stuffed crust I've tasted. Supposedly they've gone down hill, but if you're clamoring to be comatose, this might still be your best option.
Bartoli's, Connie's, Forno Rosso, Home Run Inn, Louisa's (this one hurts), My Pi, and countless others. For this we can all blame Daniel Zemans, who chooses every one of my meals when I enter the city.
Gino's East is no longer viable option. People love Coalfire Pizza, I do not. Stella Barra makes sense in Los Angeles, not as much in Chicago. I didn't like Giordano's when I had the taste buds of a teenager. And I wouldn't do Uno, although I heard it was on an upswing.