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The dough wizards at Papa John's hand toss circular masterpieces with original and thin crusts made from high-protein flour to support warm bouquets of toppings. Hand-cut produce crowns all of Papa John's pizzas, mingling with the sun-soaked sweetness of sauce made from fresh, California-grown tomatoes. By adhering to its brand promise of "better ingredients, better pizza," Papa John's grew from a back-tavern pizzeria into more than 3,500 restaurants within three decades' time, or the amount of time it takes to grow a single pizzeria from a small seed.

5103 W Cermak Rd
Cicero,
IL
US

Paisans supplies fresh pies with sauces concocted fresh daily, hearty pastas, and steaming sandwiches in a casual, familiar atmosphere. Start off with a six-piece ensemble of hot wings ($5.25) before infusing a disk with your own thin-crust symphony ($10.99 for 14") from a euphonious selection of more than 20 fresh embellishments such as ricotta, canadian bacon, and cream of bassoon ($1.95 a piece), or arrange ingredients on a stuffed or deep-dish dough canvas ($12.50 for 12", plus $1.90 per topping).

5840 W 16th St
Cicero,
IL
US

“If we weren’t so stubborn we would have quit a long time ago.” That’s what Brian Mahoney told MySuburbanLife.com_’s Adam Rosen, in 2010, shortly after he and childhood pal Gianni Pincente opened Brando’s Beef in the historic depot district of Berwyn. After a lifetime of wanting to yell out gibberish from their own hot-dog stand, and plenty of trials with building codes and repairs, the duo finally opened the doors to their family-friendly eatery. Today, the best buds serve up decadent italian-beef sandwiches and sausages, hot dogs, and fresh-cut fries—all at prices that earned them a nod as a bargain eatery from _Chicago's Best. The menu includes other Chicago favorites, such as thick-crust pizzas and fresh-made lasagna. Beyond serving their typical lunches and dinners, the Brando’s crew heads to special events, alleyway meet-ups, and fundraisers with trays of beef, chicken parmesan, and mini subs.

6838 W Windsor Ave
Berwyn,
IL
US

The cooks at Lou's Pizza & Beef prepare a spread of Italian and American favorites, crowning pizzas with custom topping combinations, such as italian sausage and jalapeños, and stirring pots of housemade chili to pour over hot dogs. Patrons may opt to call ahead so they can take their italian-beef and meatball sandwiches home for dinner without losing their stride during marathon training.

6333 Ogden Ave
Berwyn,
IL
US

Since 1965, The Original Arnie Salerno’s has cured pizza cravings with a menu of hearty Italian fare. Enfolded within a meatball sandwich, sauce-doused spheroids cozy up inside fresh bread under cover of melted cheese ($7.95). A team of ingredients plays atop pizzas ranging from 8 ($6.05+) to 16 inches ($19.69+), avoiding the eyes of the anchovies, forever chosen last. Dig into the lasagna's strata of fresh noodles, sauce, and cheese ($13.95) like an archeologist uncovering the secrets of the lost pizza parlors of Etna, or excavate sweet cheese from a cannoli shell ($3.50). Blue umbrellas shade people watchers at sidewalk tables, and the bar area taunts four eyes by hosting five 55-inch flat-screen televisions.

3250 Grove Ave
Berwyn,
IL
US

Cicero Scene