Renowned chef Michael Papandrea leads a team of culinary craftspeople as they create wide-ranging Italian fare including shrimp, veal, and pasta dishes, as well as a slew of sandwiches. Pizza artisans bake hand-pulled crusts directly on stone, bestowing each round foundation with a scrumptiously crispy texture and excellent posture. The eatery’s pesto sauce kicks butter to the curb, while cheesy bread stashes gooey mozzarella inside an italian loaf prior to baking. Parmesans’ skilled staffers deliver catered fare and set up the Italian nibbles, freeing up hosts to light candles, arrange flowers, and retrieve the special-occasion china from the basement’s 7,926-mile hole leading to the other end of the world.
Tossing pizzas and slinging Italian fare in Evergreen Park since 1980, the Barraco family has since extended its cheese-drenched reach across south and west Chicagoland with the help of a winsome menu. Deep-dish pizza ($12.30–$18.55) floods a dough basin with Olympic size pools of cheese and other mix-'em-ins. Diners embark on transatlantic journeys with each bite of the Around the World pizza ($10.95–$22.30), with a gustatory Baedeker of sausage, mushrooms, onions, and green peppers. Because it takes 25–30 minutes for pizzas to bake and compose adequate love sonnets to ovens, parties can quell impatient bellies with a roster of appetizers, such as fried and stuffed artichoke hearts ($8) or breaded mushrooms ($7.25). Alternatively, diners can dip into noncylindrical fare, such as the chicken linguine pesto ($18.50) on the pasta menu, the grilled tilapia dinner ($16.75) on the specialties menu, or a savory selection of rhombuses on the complimentary geometry tests.
At six locations dispersed throughout the Chicago suburbs, Old Town Pizza Co.'s dough doyens handcraft an array of Italian edibles, including four styles of pizza—signature thin crust, double dough crimped with a hand-rolled edge, Chicago-style deep dish, and Sicilian-style stuffed pizza. Specialty pies, which comes in such varieties as the Florentine and The Butcher Block, arrive adorned with fresh spinach and spices or a choice of four meats. Chefs also tempt carb cravers with pastas, calzones, and sandwiches, including italian beef.
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).