Established in 1990, the bar and grill formerly known as Pete's Pizza took on its new nommé de cuisine in 2008 after extending the menu to encompass burgers, sandwiches, pasta, and Greek fare from chefs Spiro Theodoropoulos and John Patouhas. The hugely varied pub fare weighs down tables in the expansive, relaxed dining room. In the adjoining bar, raucous games of darts, pool, and sudoku wait to break out. During warmer weather, diners take in fresh air on the stone patio that also provides the ideal amount of give for toe-tapping to the sporadically scheduled live music.
For Mark Greenbaum and his father, Lewis, sharing a pizza meant spending quality time as a family. When his father passed away, Mark decided that the best way to honor his memory was to give Chicagoans a taste of the New York–style pie he had loved so much.
Mark’s venture proved wildly successful—Time Out Chicago columnist and Brooklyn transplant Judy Sutton Taylor swears the eatery “could hold its own alongside any Brooklyn pizzeria.” Aside from the traditional thin-crust pies, the menu at New York Slices also features a specialty Grandma’s pizza with a thicker crust and hand-embroidered pepperonis.
At Trattoria Valle D’Itria, chef Giovanni calls upon a brick oven and an armory of fresh ingredients to bring to life the culinary traditions of the sun-soaked Itria Valley. Diners draw in deep breaths loaded with the aromas of sweet polenta, chicken stuffed with mushrooms, and gnocchi cloaked in vodka-cream sauce. Cooks roll sheets of dough, which they trim into myriad fresh pastas bound for steaming pots and the desk of alphabet-soup editors. Warm lighting romps across dark wooden accents in the restaurant's interior, and umbrellas shelter patrons as they dine and people watch in sidewalk seating.
Family owned since 1932, Alex's Washington Gardens serves a varied menu of sophisticated cuisine, starring fresh seafood and Italian specialties. Amphibious feasters can start with an appetizer of frog legs ($11) before diving into deep-sea delicacies such as salmon stimpinada, which is bathed in citrus, white wine, and red-wine vinegar and sautéed with celery and onion ($25). Hop aboard the from-scratch gravy train with saucy specialties such as pasta primavera, which tempts veggie lovers with a seasonal spread tossed in alfredo or marinara ($18.50), and ravioli al forno, which dresses spinach- and cheese-filled pasta in a demurely delicious ensemble of butter, garlic, and parmesan ($15.50/$10.25). Other offerings include pork chops served Sicilian style with a family of sweet peppers, garlic, and roasted potatoes ($23) and a variety of popular pizzas ($15+).
For more than three decades, Mario's has been a neighborhood staple, serving a unique menu brimming with affordable, Chicago-centric fare. Sink incisors into italian beef sandwiches, made with meat Mario's roasts in-house ($5.90), or pinch pearly whites into a juicy polish sausage ($3.65). Patriotic palates can puncture Old Glory deep into the meaty center of a grilled jumbo hot dog with fries ($4.55). Appease heartier appetites with equally affordable entrees, such as spaghetti with meat sauce and garlic bread ($5.35), or a 21-shrimp basket with fries ($5.95). Mario's specializes in pizza made from fresh dough and stretched into four different styles: thin crust, pan crust, Sicilian style, and stuffed. Choose a slice ($3.20+), an individual 8-inch pie ($4.60+), or customize a massive 20-inch behemoth ($17.25+) that doubles as a tasty tarp to cover Skidoos.