My Kind Of (Restaurant) Town

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    Mike Nolan

      One of the best parts about spending most of a week in Chicago for Chocolate Boot Camp was that Chicago has always been a town that I've enjoyed eating in. It's never really been a 'fancy restaurant'
      [See the full post at: My Kind Of (Restaurant) Town]

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        It's wonderful that you enjoyed all aspects of your trip to Chicago, Mike. I miss that city, but am glad not to be a taxpayer there. We lived in the suburbs, but I enjoyed taking the train into the Loop. I loved the hustle and bustle.


          Reading this post made me smile. I've been to three conventions in Chicago, and the meals eaten out with friends are great memories.


            The only nit I have to pick is Mike characterizing the Chicago style of thin crust as being "North side". As a fourth generation South Sider there was and is plenty of the distinctive, ultra-thin pizza on that side of town too. In fact, the legend of Ike Sewell ( aside the first place in Chicago to server pizza was a tavern in Hyde Park called Ken and Jacques's. In the late 50s Urban Renewal razed the entire block and Ken and Jacques's became a group of row houses one of which became my family's home.

            Mike Nolan

              I do know the legend/story of Ike Sewell. There are at least two pizza places in New York that claim to have been the first to have made pizza in the USA, I think there was even a lawsuit over advertisements.

              There was a lot of crossover in styles, as most pizza places made several types. And as I recall, the Chicago Magazine article in the mid 70's was criticized for having left out several types of pizza, so an argument could be made that there were several distinct styles of deep dish, of thin crust, etc. I also recall the war between Uno's and Due's, though some of us thought it was an advertising stunt. (Philly still has its cheese steak wars and there used to be a lot of discussion in Chicago over who made the best Italian Beef, too.)

              But at least in the 70's (when we lived in Chicago), thin crust was more of a north side style and deep dish a south side style, though Gulliver's (on Howard) made a really good deep dish pizza back then.

              As some of the chains, notably Giordano's, became dominant in the 80's, the geographic distribution largely went away. Old north-side thin crust seems to have vanished, Rick's and Pizza Oven closed, My Pie moved and (I'm told), changed styles.

              There are a lot of competing claims as to who invented deep dish and who invented stuffed. Thin crust is closer to the style of pizza we found in Italy when we were there, but we were in Turin, and there's probably a lot of regional differences in Italian pizza (like there were in Chicago 40-50 years ago), and it would take a serious pizza crawl to document them. If someone wants to crowd-fund me on such a trip, I'm game!

              • This reply was modified 6 years, 11 months ago by Mike Nolan.
              Mike Nolan

                There's a lot of crossover content between this thread and the Jim Leahy thread. I don't think there's a way to merge threads in WordPres/BBpress, though.


                  I have lived in and around Chicago my whole life. I am solidly in the thin crust pizza camp. Growing up homemade pizza was always thin crust and the rare times we it it from the local pizza place it was thin crust too.

                  We also had what us kids referred to as Grampa pizza. Turned out Grampa pizza was actually Sicilian pizza - something my grandfather had in Sicily growing up. We didn't know that until much later on.

                  My office host meetings from all over the country and all everybody wants for lunch when they come here is Portillo's or Lou Malnati's. We have many great restaurant choices but these two are the most requested.


                    I grew up on the South Side and we always had thin crust. Pizza was the one food we would bring in on a semi-regular basis. In the 70s we had two new places come to our neighborhood. One served deep dish and the other was Giordano's.

                    I haven't been back to the old neighborhood since my mother died but there were many different pizza places even a Pizza Hut (ugh).

                    I am raising my kids as if they are South Siders when it comes to sports teams and we have a tradition that I will ship in pizza when a team wins a championship. The Blackhawks have cost me a fair bit of money.

                    The place I was craving the most now is the Home Run Inn. It has it's own distinct pizza but seems to never have had the big publicity places like Malnati's and Giordano's enjoyed.

                    And no, we will not be ordering pizza if the Cubs win tonight. I am from the South Side.

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