'Illinois' on Serious Eats

Chicago: Embrace the Stuffed Pizza at Porretta's

Trattorria Porretta & Pizza has grown from tiny pizzeria to a full-service Italian restaurant and banquet hall over the years in Portage Park. The family operation maintains the regional status quo in the Chicago thin crust department, but the carry-out only stuffed crust is worth sacrificing the comforts of a sit-down meal. More

Chicago: More Hits Than Misses at Cafe Spiaggia

Chef Tony Mantuano may be primarily known as the creator of some of the best upscale Italian food in America, but the man is undoubtedly a pizza fan. Four of his restaurants serve pizza, each with a different style. The pies at Cafe Spiaggia have elements of greatness but also some flaws that aren't apparent in at least two of his other ventures. More

Daily Slice: Sopraffina Marketcaffè, Chicago

The special came with prosciutto, crimini mushrooms, pesto marinara, fontina cheese and shaved romano, as well as basil. Like all of the 10-inch pizzas, this one was available as a half or a whole. The pizzas are made in advance and spend a couple of minutes in the oven before being served. The crust was really crunchy and the cheese and prosciutto upped the salt level considerably. The pesto marinara had some nice herbal tomato flavor but was a bit dried out. Not a particularly enticing pizza, but given the options in the area, it'll do in a pinch. More

Chicago: Great Lake to Serve To-Go Sicilian Slices

If you follow pizza, you might know that Great Lake in Chicago is ranked right up there with the best of the best nationwide. The place, though, is small and the wait for a table is notoriously long. This summer, though, the pizzeria will replace its outdoor tables with benches and start serving Sicilian-style pizza to-go to munch on while sitting outside, according to Tasting Table. Grub Street Chicago's Nick Kindelsperger speculates that this may allay some of the grumbling on the part of line-waiters. More

My Pizza Oven: Alberto of 'Forza Pizza'

"I categorize a lot of pizzerias as "Progressive Neapolitan," and I would like to think that description fits me as well. It means building on the foundation of a traditional Neapolitan pizza whether you are herbalizing the sauce, stiffening the crust a bit, or anything else along those lines." More

Q&A: Frankie Flood, Pizza Cutter Artist

This week's Q&A is with artist and professor Frankie Flood, the man behind those amazing pizza cutters we've seen surface online throughout the years. —The Mgmt. [Photographs: Frankie Flood] Name: Frankie Flood Location: Milwaukee Occupation: Acting head of Jewelry and Metalsmithing at University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee Website: frankieflood.com You're head of the Jewelry and Metalsmithing Department at the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee and took a master's degree at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign in metals. So that explains your skill in executing these cutters, huh? I am currently acting area head of the Jewelry and Metalsmithing area at the Peck School of... More

'Slice of Chicago Pizza Tour' Launching in March

Slice of Chicago Pizza Tours is launching in March. The work of husband-and-wife team Mark and Lauren Singer, the 2.5-hour walking tours will take the pie-curious to various "Chicago-style deep-dish pizzerias based on their historical significance and great taste." Total walking distance is 1 to 1.5 miles, depending on the route taken. Pizza-tourists will get "a sizeable but not full size piece of deep-dish cheese pizza at each restaurant." Tickets are $40 a person and may be purchased by calling 312-623-9292.... More

A Pizza-Eating Feat for the Ages

Stronger than ever as the month comes to an end [Photograph: Ron Kaplan] Just three weeks ago, I introduced you to a man who was a week into his effort to complete what might be the greatest pizza-eating feat in the history of humankind. Thanks to an article in the Chicago Tribune, we now know the man's name is Craig Scharoff, he has a remarkably forgiving palate, and that if he made it through the entire month of October eating no food other than sausage pizza (with optional additional toppings), he stood to make a four-figure sum. Well, October... More

Whoa, Nella: Grassano's Return to Chicago's Pizza Scene Is Imminent

[Photographs: Franco Grassano] Nella Pizzeria Napoletana 2423 N. Clark Street, Chicago, IL 60614 (map); 773-327-3400; pizzerianella.com Getting There: #22 Clark Street bus to Clark and Fullerton, walk ½ block north Pizza Style: Neapolitan Oven Type: Wood Since Spacca Napoli opened in early 2006, it has been, hands down, the best Neapolitan pizzeria in Chicago. At some point in the next few weeks, I predict that will no longer be the case. The reason: Nella Grassano, Spacca Napoli's original pizzaiola, the woman who taught most of Spacca's staff how to make pizza, is opening Nella Pizzeria Napoletana. To say that... More

An Epic Quest For Pizza Immortality: Eating Nothing But Sausage Pizza for a Month

Going strong on Day 4. The place: An unknown office in the Chicago area The date: Late September 2009 The event: The birth of an American Hero How many among us have made the claim that we could eat nothing but pizza for the rest of our lives? I certainly have on more than one occasion, and the typical responses range from silence to mild amusement. Occasionally, someone calls me out, which leads to immediate backtracking on my part. Nobody, I reason, could actually eat nothing but pizza. No human being, I think to myself, could possibly be that... More

Great Lake Too Busy for Its Shirt

[Photograph: Robyn Lee] From You're the Boss, one of the gazillion New York Times blogs, a bit on Great Lake in Chicago: Sometimes they run out of dough by 8 p.m. and just close the restaurant. Ms. Esparza estimates that 30 percent of the customers get mad waiting. They also say that Chicago has some of the worst pizza in the nation and some of the worst customers. Related: The Windy City Finally Has Great Pizza to Call Its Own Great Lake 1477 W. Balmoral Avenue, Chicago IL 60640 (map) 773-334-9270... More

Quote of the Day: A Maxim to Eat Pizza By

"... One of my rules is, always try a pizza that dates back to the 1950s. There is always a small possibility that in the intervening 35+ years, they have NOT screwed it up by trying to make it more like Domino’s or something." —Michael Gebert, on Bill's Pizza in Mundelein, Illinois, which he finds surprisingly good... More

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