ITALIAN FIESTA PIZZA
With five locations, this no-frills strip-mall pizza shop is best
known as the childhood pizzeria of Michelle Obama (is it mere
coincidence that the First Lady and President Obama own a home-just a couple of blocks away?). Serving up thin-crust pies topped
with everything from Italian beef to shrimp in sizes ranging from
9” to 16”, the pizzeria, due to its popularity, can have a wait in
excess of 45 minutes for a simple pickup order. Barrett and Morin
took notice of the restaurant’s clever signage and ingenious pizza
box punch-out coupon, which o;ers $10 o; your pizza once you
collect 15 coupons.
VITO & NICK’S
;is neighborhood hangout maintains an irresistible old-school
vibe, complete with carpeted walls, turquoise strung lights and
matching chairs lined up at the bar, and e;cient, no-nonsense
service. ;e glamor is all in the artfully crafted pies, featuring a
cracker-thin crust charred at the edges that has been beloved for
generations. ;e PMQ group ordered an egg pizza (like the all-you-can-eat smelts special, o;ered only on Fridays) and a specialty pie
with housemade giardiniera—polished o; with a pitcher of Old
Style on draft to complete the vintage experience.
With kudos from Zagat, Wine Spectator, the Boston Globe and Chicago chef Charlie Trotter, the Chicago outpost of the four-location
Bella Bacino’s was a must-stop for a slice of stu;ed pizza to round
out the evening (and everyone’s bellies). ;e Spinach Supreme,
with spinach, mushrooms and a special blend of herbs and spices,
is a top seller on a menu touting both stu;ed and thin-crust pies,
pasta, panini and more. Bella Bacino’s has appeared on Oprah,
ships pizzas worldwide and has won numerous “best of” polls. No
surprise, then, that the stu;ed-pizza slices were virtually inhaled
by the group on its outdoor tables overlooking the Chicago River
and the twinkling Chicago skyline.
Where We've Been
In Chicago for the National Restaurant Association Show, PMQ editor at large Liz Barrett and senior copy editor Tracy Morin joined Chicago Pizza Tours owner Jonathan Porter for some Windy City slices.
Punch-out pizza-box coupons and signs stating the rules are
part of the charm at Italian Fiesta.
Vito & Nick’s egg-topped pizza, offered only on Fridays, is a
A prime location near
the Chicago River and
pizza make for a winning
combo at Bella Bacino’s.