In the four decades since the first Papa Saverio’s opened its doors, the pizzeria has expanded to more than 20 locations but stayed true to the family recipes its founders brought from Italy. As a tribute to their long paddle across the Atlantic, a Venetian gondola wraps around the pizzeria’s logo; though the boat’s five-pronged prow has become its signature of sorts, it’s Saverio’s oven-baked pies that continue to earn the eatery new fans. Guests can choose from a menu of specialty pizzas or create their own from more than 25 toppings and five crusts, including a double-stuffed crust that nearly bursts with melted cheese. Chefs also churn out Italian classics, such as calzones, family-size pasta dishes, house-specialty ribs, and fried chicken. Lest anyone question the Italian origins of the latter two items, the pizzeria serves each with a buttery garlic breadstick.
At Luigi’s Pizza and Fun Center, no belly goes unfilled, and no guest leaves bored. Between bites from a menu offering hamburgers, hot wings, and pizzas, kids and adults alike can explore Luigi’s entertaining confines. An arcade with more than 100 games entices with flashing lights, cheery sounds, and whispered advice on how to get to the kill screen, and a mini-bowling alley hosts frames. Nearby, a three floor, 4,500-square-foot laser-tag arena glows with friendly beams, and ghostly black lights transform the space into an otherworldly battlefield.
The menu at Amato's Pizzeria spans the entire spectrum of Italian cooking with lasagna, meatball sandwiches, panzerotti, and calzones each eliciting their share of salivating, but the pizza is the true centerpiece of the menu. Since the establishment's inception in 1966, the chefs have whipped up their own pizza sauce from scratch and made dough fresh each morning to create a delectable canvas for 24 available toppings. Pies arrive in thin-crust, double-dough, pan-style, and stuffed Chicago-style forms, piping hot and ready to be devoured by the slice or handed out to members of an easily persuaded jury.
When childhood pals Michael Caringella and Armand Christopher bought Elmwood Park's Victory Tap in 1956, one of their first orders of business was determining whom their new establishment would be named after. In the end Michael won the deciding coin toss and, to dodge any complaints that might arise, slyly chose to dub their eatery Armand’s Victory Tap. With Armand’s original artwork gracing the walls and Michael’s decadent thin-crust pizza flying from the oven, the restaurant received far more compliments than criticisms; and although Armand sold his portion to Mike in the 1960s, the eatery—since renamed Armand's Pizzeria—still thrives today.
City dwellers and suburbanites alike can taste a slice of the original thin-crust pie at any of Armand's 10 locations. Though menus differ slightly at each eatery, all contain thin- or pan-crust pizzas crowned with an array of fresh toppings, ranging from ham, bacon, and pineapple to feta and kalamata olives to italian beef and spicy giardiniera. Beyond pizza, the chefs pull fresh-baked mozzarella mostaccioli from the oven, glaze baby back ribs with tangy barbecue sauce, and assemble hearty sandwiches from italian beef, italian sausage, and genuine italian leather.
Luigi's Pizza & Pasta's owner, Michael Maretick, was featured on Chicago's Best for his popular deep dish pies, which have been a local favorite for nearly 40 years. Each one starts with made-from-scratch pizza dough, then cheese, followed by a generous serving of Luigi's secret house-made sauce. Additional toppings include green peppers, mushrooms, black olives, and giardiniera, plus a pie-sized sausage patty that ensures a bite of sausage in every bite. To complement their renowned deep dish pies, Michael and his team also craft thin crust ones, too, and, upon request, they can even make an extra-thin crust pizza for fans of that style or anyone trapped inside an outgoing mail box.
This cozy eatery isn’t really a diner, a drive-in, or a dive, but that didn’t stop its celebrated italian-beef pizza pie from being featured on the Food Network show of the same name. Cooks craft that superstar’s mozzarella and pepper-topped crust to order alongside other thin, deep-dish, or double-dough pizzas, and they form round meatballs and shape-shifting alfredo sauces in-house. Servers descend upon red-checkered tabletops with plates of juicy half-pound burgers or classic spaghetti, and they proffer glasses of wine and other liquid libations from the full bar.