After years of selling their thin-crust pies with varying degrees of success at Guy?s Pizza, Italian-born Nancy and Rocco Palese decided to change things up. Rocco traveled back home to Italy to get a long-held family recipe for an Easter pie called scarciedda. He wasn't trying to add the pastry to the menu, rather, he had the idea of creating a pizza modeled after the scarciedda.
The resulting product was a stuffed pizza?gooey cheese, marinara sauce, and toppings galore tucked into a pizza crust?and they soon introduced their creation at a new venture, Nancy's Pizza. In the decades since its opening, the eatery has won handfuls of awards, including Best Stuffed Pizza by Chicago magazine.
When they're not crafting stuffed or original thin-crust pizzas, the pizzeria?s chefs can be found doing jazz hands and cooking platefuls of creamy fettuccine alfredo and Italian-influenced sandwiches stuffed with roasted Italian beef and melted mozzarella cheese.
Couple Michael and Dora Sutcliffe proudly oversee a family staff inside their bustling mom-and-pop pizzeria. New York–style pies are made fresh and roll out of the oven crowned with toppings such as fresh veggies, barbecue chicken, italian sausage, and giardiniera, and homemade chicken tenders, garlic knots and sweet cinnamon knots complete family-size feasts. Delivery agents ferry pizzas, sodas, and mostaccioli with speed and aplomb.
In 1956, butcher's son Mike Caringella and artist Armand Christopher decided to try their hand at the restaurant business. They decorated the dining room with Armand's art and filled the menu with Mike's family recipes. The combination proved successful, and the eatery still dishes classic Caringella Italian cuisine almost 60 years later, including original pizza pies with homemade sauce.
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.
Every course of a traditional Italian meal can be found on the menu at Evviva Pizzeria & Cafe. Appetizers such as fried calamari and caprese salad rev up appetites for heartier dishes, such as the Italian deli sandwiches, sauce-drizzled ravioli, or chicken saut?ed with mushrooms and marsala wine sauce. For family-style dishes, they craft a handful of traditional Chicago-style pizza?including a gluten-free version?that range from the traditional Margarita to the unorthodox Capone, topped with Italian beef and hot giardinera. Classic desserts such as flaky cannoli and creamy gelato, along with espresso drinks create the perfect end to a meal.
Nestled inside Fox Bowl, Stella's Pizza and Pub fuels both bowlers and non-bowlers alike with hearty pub food. The kitchen strews the tops of thin-crust pizzas with Grande cheese, and ingredients such as italian beef and giardiniera give the pizzas Chicago-style flavor. Thirty different beers pair well with the menu of burgers and beef sandwiches, and patrons can keep their eyes on the large-screen televisions for the latest score or to find out who went home on Project Runway.