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.
Taylor Street Pizza dishes out succulent Italian-American fare in a family-friendly sports-bar atmosphere. Gather friends to watch a football game or an emotional rerun of the Airwolf finale while noshing on a bouquet of crusty breadsticks or a platter of spicy or barbecue chicken wings. A large handmade pizza arrives doused in Taylor Street's signature tomato sauce and festooned with two toppings, including options such as canadian bacon, anchovies, eggplant, and giardiniera. Sips of fizzy, refreshing soda clear palates and extinguish spicy mouth fires. Diners can indulge in their delicious bounty in a Taylor Street Pizza dining room, carry their meals home, or request for it to be delivered to the inflatable ballpit of their choosing.
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).
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.
Jimano's Pizzeria's deft dough-tossers craft homemade crusts, succulent sauces, and pies layered with fresh ingredients for an oven-fresh menu of Chicago-style pizzas. Top a thin-crust cheese pizza ($15.80 for a 16") or piñata-pack a pan-baked deep-dish cheese pizza ($17.95 for a 16") with a panoply of ingredients, such as pepperoni, mushrooms, bacon, or pineapple ($2.10 per ingredient for a 16" pizza), ensuring that modest pizzas don't have to arrive at the table undressed. Cooks also create stacked delights such as the italian beef ($5.85) or the crispy buffalo chicken sandwich ($5.99); baby back ribs ($16.99 for a full slab, $14.99 for a half slab) offer carnivorous sustenance coated in a homemade St. Louis–style barbecue sauce. The pizzeria's famed bread sticks ($3.99) satisfy carb cravings alongside a slew of pasta dishes, which arrive with sides of saucy banter and cheesy dialogue.
At Marzano's Wood Fired Italian, pizza is such a serious business that the chefs won't even entrust the cheese to an outsider. Instead, fresh mozzarella is made in house for the restaurant's authentic neopolitan pizzas. When a pizza maker certified by Italy's Associazione Pizzaiuoli Napoletani slides pies into the wood-fired oven, the creamy cheese bubbles atop sauce made from imported San Marzano tomatoes. On many of these pizzas, the mozzarella mingles with other traditional toppings, such as salami, arugula, or prosciutto di parma.
But the chefs are also aware that American pizza has become a class unto itself. Separate from the classically Italian pies are pizzas topped with barbecue chicken and onions, ham and pineapple, and italian beef and giardiniera. Make-your-own pizzas are also available, as are entrees like butternut-squash ravioli, seared scallops over mushroom risotto, and veal marsala. Echoing the kitchen's 1000-degree pizza oven is the dining room's large stone fireplace, which, like the server who inquires whether you ate your vegetables, gives Marzano's a homey atmosphere.