Food & Drink

Chicago's 8 best under-the-radar pizza places

Published On 07/11/2014 Published On 07/11/2014
Pizza by Alex
My Pie
Pizza Art Cafe
Facebook.com/IMonelliTrattoriaPizzeria
La Gondola
Flickr/get directly down
Flickr/Kimberly Vardeman
Pizza Rustica
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1. Pizza By Alex 5040 W Montrose Ave, Chicago, IL 60641 (Jefferson Park)

Having grown from a carry-out/delivery spot into a full service restaurant (with BYOB), super-thin brick oven pizzas are the norm for this place. Look for simple staples like the bruschetta pizza and Mexican variants, as well.

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2. My Pie Pizza 2010 N Damen Ave, Chicago, IL 60647 (Bucktown)

My Pie opened their first pizza shop in 1971 and the haven't quit crafting quality pies since, and they still use same delicious ingredients and old-school recipes today at their Bucktown location.

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3. Pizza Art Café 4658 N Rockwell St, Chicago, IL 60686 (Ravenswood)

Owned by Bosnian natives who worked their way through Milan’s pizzerias, their art of pie-making involves a quick-cooking wood-burning oven and 12in pizzas topped with the likes of four cheeses, seafood, house-cured smoked beef, and more.

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4. Pizza Rustica 3908 N Sheridan Rd, Chicago, IL 60613 (Wrigleyville)

If you're looking for something that is exactly what it sounds like, then this is your spot. Rustica is a true option for good Chicago pizza, wine, and ambiance.

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5. I Monelli Trattoria Pizzeria 5019 N Western Ave, Chicago, IL 60625 (Lincoln Square)

Right off Lincoln Square, you'll find Southern Italian cuisine including appetizers like suppli (rice, mozzarella cheese, and marinara sauce rolled in breadcrumbs and fried) and crispy, thin-crust pizzas.

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6. La Gondola 2914 N Ashland Ave, Chicago, IL 60657 (Lakeview)

La Gondola has high quality pies that bely its strip mall surroundings: fill up on generous slices of oily, thin crust pizza topped with BBQ chicken and bolognese.

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7. Marie's Pizza & Liquors 4127 W Lawrence Ave, Chicago, IL 60630 (Albany Park)

Marie's is an old school Chicago Italian in Albany Park known for its tavern-style thin crust pizza. To enter, walk through the liquor store entrance and turn right to find the retro dining room that's hasn't changed much since the 1970s. The menu is filled with Italian-American staples like chicken parm, lasagna, and Italian beef sandwiches, but the wonderfully greasy pizza is the star. The namesake Marie's Special pie, topped with sausages, green peppers, onions, and mushrooms, is a classic.

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8. Chicago Pizza and Oven Grinder Co. 2121 N Clark St, Chicago, IL 60614 (Lincoln Park)

Located in an old brick townhouse in Lincoln Park, Chicago Pizza & Oven Grinder is a cash-only Italian eatery famous for its pizza pot pies. Available in half-pound or one-pound portions, each pie is made of triple-raised Sicilian dough and filled with house-made tomato sauce, a blended mix of cheeses, whole mushrooms, and sausage. The menu also features oven grinder sandwiches stuffed with Italian meats, and if you're scared of carbs, don't worry, there's a whole category of salad dinners as well. You should definitely get the pot pie though -- you can't say you've conquered the Chicago pizza landscape without it.