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.
Nicolino's chefs assemble fresh ingredients into hearty pizzas, pastas, and Italian entrees using decades-old family recipes while patrons wager on equestrians flashing across more than 60 plasma-screen TVs. The dining room beckons nongamblers and self-wagering competitive eaters alike with dishes topped in tangy tomato-cream sauces and imported prosciutto served amid chandelier lighting. Charbroiled steaks tempt landlubbing appetites, and rock shrimp, bay scallops, and fresh scrod lure taste buds out to sea. In the lounge, a candlelit bar hosts conversations and nine self-service terminals and a live mutuel teller field bets on horses at nearby Arlington Park as well as venues across the nation. Patrons flick 17 personal plasma TVs between races and other sporting events or search for insider commentary by Mister Ed on free WiFi.
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.
The chefs at Angie's Pizzeria are diligent scholars of Chicago's culinary traditions. In their bustling kitchen, they fill deep-dish pizzas with heaps of mozzarella, tomato sauce, and meaty toppings; adorn steamed franks with the canonical toppings of the Chicago-style hot dog; and sizzle up slices of Italian beef for pepper-laden sandwiches. But their expertise also makes for satisfying spin offs. The Grabber, for instance, stars a hot dog that's wrapped in bacon, deep fried, and slathered with cheese sauce, sport peppers, and celery salt. They also serve thin-crust and hand-tossed pizza varieties, which diners can order with any of their more than 20 toppings or with marshmallows, hot fudge, and peanuts—the ingredients atop their rocky-road dessert pizza.
Rustic booths and black-linen tables greet customers as they walk into Touch of Italy, setting the stage for the fresh meal to come. Zesty meat and marinara sauces, pan-seared veal, and seafood pastas arrive at tables after chefs assemble them to order from fresh ingredients instead of prepackaged herbs or wax garlic cloves. Diners can calm hunger pangs with combination pasta platters, dishes of chicken marsala, or steamy baked eggplant lasagna during lunch meetings and relaxing dinner dates.
Family-friendly Nick's Pizza & Pub’s menu exercises decision-making muscles with descriptions of thin and double-decker pizzas, italian beef, and stacked sandwiches served inside a winsome barn-style setting. Nick's signature pizza ($10.29–$20.29) arrives at tables metaphorically signed by the chef with sausage, mushrooms, onions, and green peppers, which sit atop a crust that, like a the ice under a child whose parent has counted to two, is thin. The Hawaiian pie, alternatively, shimmies with barbecue sauce, pineapple, and canadian bacon over regular ($9.89–$18.99) or double-decker crust ($20.49–$23.29). Visitors looking to diversify their culinary portfolio can orally invest in italian beef resting between an 8-inch loaf of french bread ($7.99–$8.49), or dig into the layered goodness of a super italian sub, which packs a wallop of genoa salami, imported krakus ham, mozzarella, and a dollop of vinaigrette ($8.49).