For more than 22 years, the scent of freshly baking pizza has drifted out the door of Kenootz Pizza. Chefs fill their ovens with both thin-crust and deep-dish pies, sprinkling in more than a dozen toppings such as bacon, all-beef pepperoni, and spinach. To complement the flavors of their pizzas, chefs cook up classic Italian sides such as cheese-laden garlic bread, zucchini sticks, and fried mushrooms, as well as more substantial platters of meat ravioli and spaghetti. With a delivery area that covers most of the surrounding neighborhoods, the restaurant can stock groups with a tasty, sharable meal without them having to leave the house or cut a cheeseburger into eight equal parts.
Open for 28 years and voted Chicagoland's Best Pizza by AM670 The Score listeners, and Best Beer Garden by the the Southland Star, the items on the Durbin’s menu vary by location, but all of its kitchens prepare hearty sandwiches, pizzas, and barbecue. Patch.com has also dished about how wood embers infuse ribs and chicken with smoky flavors as USDA Black Angus steaks are plated alongside sautéed mushrooms and homemade coleslaw. Fresh donut holes are also made in-house and stacked on ice cream sundaes topped with a single red cherry that resembles the setting sun resting on a pillow of vanilla-flavored clouds.
Durbin’s rewards watering mouths with a roster of gratifying pub fare, a full bar, and an idyllic outdoor beer garden at every location. Durbin's menus vary slightly between locations, united by an emphasis on meaty sandwiches, comforting fried nosh, pizza, and trademarked ribs. Prime appetites with a Durbin’s Combo—mozzarella sticks, chicken wings, potato skins, and onion rings ($8.50)—or the Kelly Special's mozzarella-topped butterflied filet mignon on toasted garlic bread ($10.95). Durbin's slow-smokes its signature “Branding Iron” ribs over an open pit of smoldering hickory wood, basting them with secret-recipe barbecue sauce and whispering sweet, flaming nothings to them tenderize the meat ($11.95 for a half slab; $18.95 for a full slab). The 14-inch stuffed sausage pizza’s layers of meat and cheese are trapped between its saucy crust, forming a delicate closed ecosystem of Italian flavor ($17.95).
Fox's Restaurant & Pub first propped open its doors in 1964, welcoming diners with an extensive menu that eventually grew to encompass comfort foods from both sides of the Atlantic Ocean. In addition to familiar Irish staples—including corned-beef sandwiches and shepherd's pie—the cooks sear 10-ounce hamburger patties and slather baby-back ribs in a rich barbecue sauce. For a distinctly Mediterranean touch, they also hand-form meatballs into perfect dodecahedrons and whisk together their own marinara sauces in-house. The pizza chefs can layer oven-crisped pies with more than 10 available toppings, such as giardiniera, sausage, and chopped garlic.
Select locations help to keep spirits high by hosting live music and restaurant-wide games of musical chairs throughout the week. Bands can get diners' toes tapping and heads bobbing by playing a combination of lively Irish classics and popular favorites.
The Original Papa Joe’s Italian Restaurant’s menu advertises a bevy of fresh pastas and classic Italian entrees featuring marsala and lemon butter sauces, zesty marinara, tenderly cooked chicken, beef medallions, and milk-fed Provimi veal. Thin- and deep-crust pizzas can be decorated with a combination of a dozen fresh toppings, and savory meatball sandwiches vie with house-made lasagna for the chance to kiss taste buds. A roster of 20 wines and a dozen different beers helps patrons wash down generous forkfuls of chicken parmigiana, manicotti, and calamari.
The rules to Nonna’s Challenge are deceptively simple: eat two slices in half an hour. Every last bit of pizza must be finished, and you can only get up from the table to refill your drink. So what’s the catch? Well, for starters, the slices are gargantuan––each constitutes a quarter of a pie and measures nearly an inch thick. None of this could dissuade pizza aficionado Tim Brown, who polished off two slices in less than four minutes. Thankfully, not all meals at Nonna’s Pizza have to be so intense. Though the pizzeria has been serving up enormous slices for more than four decades, its menu has a lot more to offer. Hearty pastas, 8-inch Italian sandwiches, and sauce-slathered wings are just some of the dishes that fill tables beside the dining room’s large picture windows. Nonna’s even brews a special house cola, which gets its distinctive spice from being fired in the same oven as the pizzas.