When most people think of Chicago-style pizza, they probably imagine a dense, deep-dish pie weighed down by an inches-thick layer of cheese. But the chefs at Nicolo's Pizza point to a different definition offered up by famed Chicago film critic Roger Ebert. In an interview with Vanity Fair , Ebert estimated that as much as 85 percent of Chicago's pizza is built upon a thin crust, and that what really sets the city's pies apart is the homemade sauces and crusts cooked up by Chicago's abundant Italian population.
That's exactly the type of Chicago-style pizza that Nicolo's has been dishing up for more than 30 years, using recipes born generations ago in Italy. Each thin or hand-rolled crust is made fresh every day, topped with a choice of sauce such as traditional red, alfredo, or garlicky extra virgin olive oil, then baked in an authentic stone-bottom oven. Patrons can choose their own ingredients––which range from artichoke hearts to green chilies––or choose one of the shop's specialties such as Buffalo Pie, a ranch-based pizza topped with chicken, celery, carrots, and mozzarella, or the Besto Pesto with Chicken, featuring chicken, black olives, artichoke hearts, and provolone cheese with a pesto sauce. Beyond the pizza pan, chefs painstakingly assemble layers of fresh noodles, ricotta, and sauce into classic meaty or vegetarian lasagna and slather chicken wings in a variety of sauces, including pomegranate chipotle and thai peanut.
Drawing from a supply of imported Greek ingredients and familiar Old-World recipes, Bucci's Greek & Italian Specialties' chefs forge a menu of homey Mediterranean cuisine that calls to mind visions of the old world’s tastiest traditions. Homemade tzatziki sauce crowns gyros stuffed with roasted beef and lamb or baked chicken, and the spanakopita's carefully assembled layers of spinach, feta, and phyllo pastry bake to a perfectly golden brown. These ingredients even influence the Italian specialties, creating pizzas with distinctive toppings of spinach, black olives, and feta or gyro meat, tomatoes, and onions. However, entrees such as the spicy sausage ravioli and the baked ziti maintain their hearty Italian roots by following the time-honored recipes first published in the Aeneid's appendices.
A trim of decorative vines circles the dining area, alluding to the trellises of Greek and Italian vineyards, and adding a verdant splash of color to the cherry-red walls and their framed artwork. A faux-stone archway separates the front and back halves of the room, and nearby potted plants add even more greenery to the space.
Pasta Jay Elowsky cut his teeth in the restaurant trade at the age of 20, when he started washing dishes for his aunt and uncle at Sonny's Pizza in San Clemente, California. He went on to spend years in the Italian food business mastering the family recipes from a family that includes the chef and pizza taster for the first King of Italy. Eventually, Jay opened up the first Pasta Jay's in Boulder in 1988, dishing out handmade pizzas and pastas flavored with rich cheeses and savory sauces. His menu includes such classic plates as meatball stroganoff and crumbled sausage diavolo, or margherita and pesto pizzas.