Aside from Al Capone, memories of the great Michael Jordan and the Sears Tower (Yes, Sears Tower, dammit!), Chicago is known for pizza. Usually the deserved heaps of praise go to the deep dish pizza titans: Pizzera Uno, Gino’s East or Lou Malnatis. All well and good. Very, very good, I might add. And have: here.
When it comes to the thin pie, there is no clear winner as far as who does it the best.
One place that is certainly in the running is Vito and Nick’s Pizza, 8443 S. Pulaski Avenue. It is a great little place hidden on the far southwest side of Chicago, far from the “foodies” (hate that word) and effete food critic snobs, who are petrified of going anywhere south of Madison Avenue, unless it is to rarefied air of Hyde Park.
Vito and Nicks has spruced up over the last decade or so. This pizza joint traces its origin back to 1932. The festive italian lights are still all over the place, but the mis-matched kitchen tables that once made up their dining room have been replaced by new and sturdy tables. Good thing: Vito and Nicks is one busy pie place. For the purists, there is carpeting on the walls. This was an added improvement as well. You don’t see carpeting on the walls and not on the floor everywhere, so enjoy.
Vito and Nicks makes thin crust pizza that you can read a newspaper through. The dough is twirled around, just like in the bad sit coms and tossed into a brick oven. You can watch, if you want.
The crust slides out after awhile and it is delicate and crispy. There is some mixture of secret ingredients and spices that get slathered ontop that makes the taste explode in your mouth. There are a good number of Vito and Nick knockoffs out there, including some that are either franchised or licensed, but they just…don’t cut it. For the real deal in thin pies, you’ve got to go to the original on south Pulaski Avenue.
There are some other things on the menu, but for most it’s just scribbling and show. What matters is the pizza.
Oh, and don’t call Vito and Nicks for delivery: they don’t. They will give you a half-baked pie that you can pick up and finish off at home, but you won’t find a Vito and Nick’s delivery guy at your door.
Other readers have their favorites.