Jeff Ruby Picks the Best 25 Pizzas in Chicago for Chicago

Gino's East Made the List
Gino’s East Made the List Photo: tribalicious/Flickr

It’s no great surprise that Great Lake came out on top of Chicago Magazine’s “Piece Offerings: The 25 Best Pizzas in Chicago.” After all, the notoriously slow pizzeria is occasionally mentioned as the best pizza in the country. But we have to admit to being surprised by the direction Jeff Ruby takes after number one. Instead of pitting one style against each other, he takes the high road and spreads the love around between five distinct styles that you can find in the city. “This feature is not meant to settle arguments about which style is best-as if we could-but rather to celebrate the blessed landscape.” In other words: Deep-dish lovers rejoice.

If you count Art of Pizza’s stuffed-crust adaptation and the thick pan style practiced by Pequod’s and Burt’s Place, then six deep dish places made the list, including Lou Malnati’s way up at number six. Almost all the big players are here except Giordano’s. I can’t think of another prominent critic that puts this much weight behind so many of these classic places. Interestingly, he picks Pizano’s thin crust over its thick.

Chicago thin-crust is another story. He snubs both Vito and Nick’s and Pat’s, two places often mentioned in best pizza talk. Also missing are Marie’s and Candlelite. In the piece he talks about the need to hand roll the dough, and all these places roll out their dough.

Other surprises include Spacca Napoli slightly beating out new comer Nella Pizzeria Napoletana on the Neapolitan route. Though that may have more to do with Nella’s quick exit than the pies.

Ruby also doesn’t even attempt to dip into any new pizzerias. So we’ll have to wait a while longer to see how places like Ciao Napoli Pizzeria in Logan Square and Pizzeria Serio in Roscoe Village.

It’s hard to get worked up about list that advertises itself as a celebration of the many styles of pizza available in Chicago. Still, we really wonder how a place like Piece (which definitely makes a delicious New Haven style pizza), would stack up to actual New Haven pizzerias like Sally’s and Pepe’s. Other than that, we’re just awfully hungry at the moment. Hopefully the line at Great Lake doesn’t get even longer.

Below is the full list.

Piece Offerings: The 25 Best Pizzas in Chicago [Chicago Magazine]

1. Great Lake - Cremini Mushrooms, Dante Cheese
2. Piece - Plain with Artichoke Hearts
3. Castel Gandolfo - Margherita
4. Crust - Flammkuchen
5. Coalfire - Margherita
6. Lou Malnati’s - Deep-Dish with Sausage
7. Santullo’s Eatery - Pepperoni
8. Burt’s Place - Pan with Sausage
9. Art of Pizza - Stuffed with Sausage
10. Pequod’s - Pan with Sausage
11. Union Pizzeria - Lam Sausage, Eggplant, Kalamata Olives
12. Macello - Bianca
13. Pizano’s - Thin with Sausage
14. Coco Pazzo - Coppa
15. Spacca Napoli - Margherita
16. Apart Pizza Company - Apart Signature pie
17. Nella Pizzeria Napoletana - Margherita
18. Gino’s East - Deep-Dish with Sausage Patty
19. Gruppo Di Amici - Funghi e Formaggi
20. Louisa’s - Cheese
21. Frasca - Margherita
22. Gigio’s - Thin with Sausage
23. Paula & Monica’s - Thin with Sausage
24. Parkers’ Restaurant & Bar - Margherita
25. Aurelio’s - Thin with Black Olives
Jeff Ruby Picks the Best 25 Pizzas in Chicago for Chicago