At some point, every customer of JJ's Pizza Shack should order the Kitchen Sink pizza, a behemoth of a pie that is topped with sausage, bacon, canadian bacon, pepperoni, ham, cheese, and veggies and proudly touted as the pizzeria's trademark dish. But until they build up the appetite for such a meaty undertaking, customers can try other specialty traditional-crust and deep-dish pies such as taco pizza or a veggie pizza with mushrooms and green peppers. In addition to 'za, JJ's kitchen also serves pasta, double cheeseburgers, and foot-long sandwiches on toasted French bread.
Antonio and Rosa DeRosa came from a long line of merchants who sold Italian staples such as pasta, olive oil, and wine in Montedecoro, Italy. The family was well known around Naples for these provisions, and when Antonio and Rosa immigrated to America in 1926, they stocked their business, DeRosa Imports, with these same Old World staples.
Today, grandson Anthony DeRosa runs the shop, where he upholds tradition by importing extra-virgin Sicilian olive oil, Italian espresso, and pastas ranging from rigatoni to gnocchi. Over time, the family has expanded their selection to include products from countries such as Croatia and Serbia. Artisanal pickles, sauces, and jams infused with rose hips or sour cherries line the shelves, along with bottles of wine to pair with dinner or pour on thirsty houseplants.
Gino's East's still stands at its original spot on Michigan and Superior but has also stretched to 10 other city and suburban locations. Whether dining downtown or in St. Charles, customers find Alice Mae’s signature crust piled with mounds of cheese, sauce made from vine-ripened tomatoes, and plenty of fresh toppings—from sausage and pepperoni to jalapeños and canadian bacon. Hot from the oven, pizzas arrive at tables snuggled inside seasoned deep-dish pans, ready to welcome a fork and knife. Thin-crust varieties are also available for those who don’t know how to work silverware, as is a bounty of sandwiches.
Theo’s Steaks & Seafood showcases fresh fish flown in daily and premium meats aged for up to 20 days that are hand-cut on the premises. The menu’s newly plucked fruits of the sea include a New Zealand orange roughy topped with lemon butter and crabmeat ($16.95), and a medley of shrimp and scallops tossed with fettuccine and drizzled in the kitchen’s creamy homemade alfredo sauce ($18.95). An 18-ounce bone-in rib eye piggybacks tender texture on top of rich flavor and sports both a signature marbling and a rakishly tilted fedora ($26.95). Among the eatery’s Pavlovian-pooch-shaming proteins, a pair of thick, center-cut pork chops arrives bearing hickory sauce and oozing succulence ($16.95). Customers can dine inside among cushioned chairs and colorful wall murals, or on the restaurant's outdoor patio during warmer months. All entrees come with complimentary fresh-baked bread and cheese spread, and a rhyming dictionary to assist diners with the composition of paeans to the chef.
In 1966, taxi drivers Sam Levine and Fred Bartoli finally became fed up with their stop-and-go lives full of honking horns and rush-hour traffic. So they shut off their engines, handed in their keys, and took root. Along with pal George Loverde, they invested in property just off the bustling Magnificent Mile, but then didn’t know what to do with it. According to a 2004 profile in the Chicago Tribune, they got their direction when someone finally said, “Put pizza in it.”
Though the rest is history, it wasn’t quite easy. Bartoli and Loverde came from Italian and Sicilian backgrounds, but neither knew the key to a good pizza. It wasn’t until they hired Alice Mae Redmond, the woman responsible for the dough at Pizzeria Uno, that the Gino's East Chicagoans know and love was truly born. Although Alice Mae retired back in 1989, the recipe for her flaky, golden deep-dish pizza crust lives on.
Today, Gino’s still stands at its original spot on Michigan and Superior but has also stretched to 10 other city and suburban locations. Whether dining downtown or in St. Charles, customers find Alice Mae’s signature crust piled with mounds of cheese, sauce made from vine-ripened tomatoes, and plenty of fresh toppings—from sausage and pepperoni to jalapeños and ground beef. Hot from the oven, pizzas arrive at tables snuggled inside seasoned deep-dish pans, ready to welcome a fork and knife. Thin-crust varieties are also available for those who don’t know how to work silverware, as is a bounty of sandwiches.
Bulldog Brewery was born out of steelworker Kevin Clark's home brewing hobby. But founding his own brewery didn't mean Kevin was ready to quit his day job. And neither have co-owners, Bob Fausto and Jeff Kochis, a steelworker and a second-generation firefighter respectively. The hard work required of having two jobs is in keeping with the brewery's mission: to celebrate small town America and the blue collar workers who live there.
One of the ways they achieve this goal is by providing a place for customers to relax after a hard day's work, whether it's with a grilled panini sandwich or a pint of flavorful lager, stout, or IPA. Their beer also celebrates the working man. The 1890 Stout, for instance, commemorates the year that oil refineries came to Whiting. Its dark, crude-like color conceals notes of vanilla bean and cherry, and it's best consumed while wearing an oil can jauntily perched upon your head.