Rosati?s Pizza's history dates back to the early 1900s, when a recent Italian immigrant named Ferdinand Rosati moved from New York to Chicago with the dream of opening a restaurant. His first attempt was modest?with Ferdinand simultaneously fulfilling the duties of chef, server, dishwasher, and host?but quickly gained popularity for its crispy-thin-crust pizzas, originally served as complimentary appetizers. Encouraged by the public's response to the pies, Ferdinand and his son, Sam, decided to focus their efforts on opening a true pizzeria.
Today, at Rosati's Pizza locations across the country, plumes of heat swirl above piping-hot pies concocted from handmade sauce and dough. A smattering of toppings cling to five crust options?crispy thin, double dough, Chicago-style, pan, and superstuffed?as well as hide from their hungry predators inside hand-rolled calzones. Homemade lasagna and fettuccine alfredo battle for the top pasta spot, and fried chicken, baby back ribs, and fried-shrimp dinners work together to distract diners from hard-to-resist buffalo wings.
Every pizza that comes out of Little Sicilian Pizza’s kitchen is made with ingredients—fresh dough, fresh sauce, and fresh toppings—that have ever been frozen, letting chefs use the freezer as a home for orphaned snowmen. With this certainty in place, customers have plenty of options: crusts come in extra-thin, thin, and house varieties, and each can bear a choice of nearly two dozen toppings that range from the traditional to options such as ricotta cheese, giardiniera, and italian beef. Pasta dishes and sandwiches round out the menu offerings, served over the counter of a small storefront for take-out or, in the warmer months, open-air dining at umbrella-topped stone tables.
Franco’s chefs draw culinary inspiration from Italy, folding housemade sauces, fresh mozzarella cheese, and olive oil into a variety of specialty pizzas, pasta dishes, and hot Italian sandwiches. To craft their paninis, they layer freshly baked Italian bread and ciabatta rolls with vine-ripened tomatoes, roasted red peppers, and slices of turkey breast, chicken, and ham. For dessert, the skilled chefs assemble plump cannolis before dipping them in chocolate.
For nearly half a century, the Rosati brothers Dick, Ron, Fred, and Al have tempted taste buds with deep-dish and thin-crust pizzas, Italian cuisine, and a wealth of sandwiches. The mouthwatering bill of Italian fare claims a culinary lineage and parmesan-flecked coat of arms dating back to grandpa Ferdinando Rosati's Taylor Street establishment. The Rosati family proudly continues tasty traditions with handmade pies, fall-off-the-bone ribs, and house-made sauces.
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.
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.