Santora's pie masters craft 17 gourmet and signature pizzas entirely from scratch, tossing each crust by hand, slathering it with house-made sauce, and festooning the savory circle with fresh-cut vegetables and locally sourced meats. The margarita pizza begins with a zesty pesto base before piling on fresh slices of tomato, garlic, and basil, whereas Lil Anthony's 8 Cheese pie showcases a gooey synthesis of romano, parmesan, feta, alfredo, mozzarella, cheddar, smoked provolone, and the shop's signature herb blend. Juliana's Taco pie disguises all the components of a taco—salsa, refried beans, fresh ground beef, and sour cream—into a form that is easier to share, but harder to hide under a derby hat. Alternatively, uncover the cornucopia of veggies, pepperoni, hamburger, italian sausage, meatballs, and canadian bacon cleverly concealed beneath the Mamma Mia pizza's extra heap of golden cheese.
The chefs at CJ's Chicago Pizzeria ladle sauce and sprinkle italian cheeses onto homemade dough with a Chicago-inspired pizza menu. The deep-dish stuffed pizza’s golden crust (14", $17) conceals strands of melted cheese within its crispy, parrot-free treasure chest. Add pepperoni, cream cheese, or fresh garlic ($2 per topping) to family-sized thin-crust cheese pizzas ($17) or dress up hand-tossed thick-crust cheese pizzas ($18) with veggies. The preadorned tops of CJ's specialty pizzas, such as the JFK flanked by pepperoni, sausage, hamburger, and canadian bacon ($14.50 for a regular), erect taste monuments more awe inducing than a marinara-doused Stonehenge.
Founded in 1964 by a tile maker as an edible canvas on which to practice his square-cutting, Imo’s original St. Louis–style pizza features a thin, cracker-crisp crust topped with homemade sauce and Provel cheese, then sliced into squares. The love child of a culinary fromage a trois between cheddar, Swiss, and provolone cheeses, Provel melts into a soft, creamy pool reminiscent of the delicious dairy lagoons tucked away high in the Swiss Alps, and can be enjoyed on Imo’s pizza for its minimalistic beauty or as a blank canvas for a DIY pizza experience ($12.38–$14.76 base price for a large). Pile on any of Imo’s 14 fresh toppings—including pepperoncini, hamburger, Canadian bacon, and jalapeno—or indulge in one of its popular specialty pies (less than $20 at either location). The all-meat pizza combines sausage, hamburger, bacon, Canadian bacon, and pepperoni, while the veggie deluxe (mushroom, onion, green pepper, and tomato) hosts a stately garden party in one’s mouth.
Emerging from a wood-fired oven framed by brick and white marble, gooey, melted mozzarella bubbles atop a freshly crafted pizza. With this oven as their centerpiece, Open Fire Pizza’s pizzaioli curate a menu of gourmet pizzas and calzones composed of fresh, local, and organic ingredients. The pizzeria strives to make a minimal impact on the environment by powering its eatery with rooftop solar panels, maintaining zero-trash policies, and fueling its ovens with wood from well-hugged trees. Meanwhile, Open Fire Pizza nourishes its surrounding community by hosting regular art openings and open-mic nights.
The brainchild of New York–native Joseph Palladino, Coal Vines Restaurant centers its Italian-inspired menu around thin-crust pizzas crisped inside a coal-fired oven. Chef T.J. Stack applies his years of culinary expertise working at the landmark Savoy Grill to Coal Vine Restaurant’s menu, which pairs its retinue of cheesy pies, pastas, and sandwiches with an extensive assortment of merlots, cabernets, and chardonnays freshly squeezed from the grape’s udder. The omelet and pancake stations erected during Sunday brunch augment the eatery’s Italian offerings with classic midday fare washed down with seasonal mimosas served by flute or carafe. Daily grinders can unwind during weekday Winedowns, which offer select glasses of wine for $5 from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.Wine bottles nestle inside Coal Vines Restaurant’s every nook and cranny, flanking floor-to-ceiling doors that give way to a breezy patio stationed between potted plants and black fencing. In the dining room, floors burnished to a shimmering mocha hue reflect the bright red cushioned chairs that surround each table, and at night, candles illuminate the shiny marble bar laden with vino harvested from an on-site wine vault.