Each year in December, I drive around the city, buy up platters of some of my favorite eats and invite friends over for a holiday noshing party. This year I rounded up lumpia from Isla Filipina; Chinese soy garlic chicken wings, aka "Little Hotties," from Take Me Out, Let’s Eat Chinese; the undisputed deep-fried doughnut champion of the world, aka the apple fritter, from Old Fashioned Donuts; and a sheet pizza pie split into sausage and onion and fresh ricotta, basil, and tomato topped halves from Italian Superior Bakery. All these goodies are the best of the best, but when I put the goods out this year, the slices from Italian Superior disappeared faster than a bowl of free drugs at Studio 54.
Italian Superior Bakery is an 82-year-old tradition founded in Queens, New York, and moved to Chicago’s Little Italy a few years later. That being said, while I've spent quite a bit of time writing about about their history and their breads, the real unsung bounty of the place is their Italian-bakery-style flatbread.
Unlike other stalwarts in town, Superior’s version is less bready and dense than most. The crust also has a ridiculous versatility and resiliency in that it is almost equally satisfying, hot, cold, reheated, or fresh out of the oven. The guys down at the bakery generally start their 2 a.m. bread-baking shift with a "breakfast" slice or two. The loose sausage and sweet onion toppings and the creamy salty ricotta (made fresh by a local woman), basil, and tomato are my favorite combos. Capped off by a caramelized bubbling blanket of mozzarella and lightly spiced but mostly sweet pure sauce, this is one of my top five pies in Chicago.
Italian Superior Bakery
933 S. Western Avenue, Chicago IL 60612 (map)