Flickering candles and a grand chandelier fill Sam's Ristorante's high-ceilinged dining room with a romantic glow. Graceful arches and painted landscapes foster a classic ambiance that carries through to the menu of traditional Italian cuisine. The kitchen crafts its own marinara sauce in house to add rich flavor to orders of veal parmigiana. Pasta varieties, including angel hair, ravioli, and fettuccine, tangle with morsels of seafood, veggies, and housemade italian sausage in specialty dishes. Sauces made with marsala wine and portobello mushrooms coat chicken breasts and center-cut fillets with more flavor than a spice-rubbed quilt.
Papa John's has carefully curated a menu stocked with robust topping options to adorn blank pizza canvases. Unify bubbly discs under a blanketing of freshly cut roma tomatoes, or spice up bites with jalepeño peppers. The pizzeria imports its black olives from Spain's Herrara grove, where they peak in plumpness and accomplish astounding feats of international diplomacy before populating Papa John's pizzas. Meaty options such as grilled all-white-meat chicken, filler-free spicy italian sausage, and hickory-smoked bacon add layers of heartiness to slices, and reinforcing mozzarella with parmesan, romano, or a blend of asiago, provolone, and fontina improves the genetic robustness of cheese.
Papa Murphy's was born out of the owner's frustration with bad pizza from chains, which often tasted as if every ingredient was canned or frozen. Deciding to change the industry, Papa Murphy's tosses every ingredient, all of which are never frozen, onto the crust in front of the customer's eyes and sends them home to bake in a home oven. This dedication to fresh flavor earned Papa Murphy's the top spot on Zagat's National Chain survey.
Visitors can create their own take on the pizza pie or chomp into one of his signature pizzas, which range from meat-filled stuffed crust to calorie-conscious lite varieties covered in vegetables. His appetizers and desserts follow the same pattern. Customers order raw cookie dough or cheesy bread ripe for the baking, resulting in every course being fresh from the oven.
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 jalape?os 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.
Following in the footsteps of their father, the three Coli brothers aim to capture the flavors and traditions of classic Chicago cuisine with their slate of hearty comfort fare. Backed by a team of chefs, they forge Georgio's Chicago Pizzeria and Pub’s trademark deep-dish pizzas from a more than 60-year-old recipe, kept hidden to preserve its authenticity and hand-model-caliber hands. The hefty pies, along with their crispy thin-crust cohorts, were declared the best pizza in McHenry County by readers of the Northwest Herald, and helped the eatery garner a slot on Pizza Today magazine’s list of the Hot 100 Independent pizzerias in 2011. The brothers complement their acclaimed creations with a roster of pasta and sandwiches, dished up amid a sleek, upscale sports-bar atmosphere. Both locations are decked out in flat-screen TVs and reclaimed exposed brick.. The comfortable environs regularly play host to fundraisers and events, such as dinners that pair the Coli brothers’ prize-winning pizzas with a lineup of craft beers on tap.
Originally opened in 1998, Papa Saverio’s Pizzeria now operates out of more than 20 locations spread across the Midwest. Each location uses 40-year-old family recipes to build a menu of italian-beef sandwiches, pastas, and create-your-own or specialty pizzas sprinkled with the restaurant’s own blend of cheeses and more than 20 toppings. Five varieties of crust thickness range from crispy thin to stuffed, which folds cheese, toppings, and a personalized fortune between two layers of crust crowned with a swirl of homemade pizza sauce. The kitchen’s rotating deck oven ensures consistent cooking throughout each pizza, calzone, and baked pasta dish.