Streeterville Pizzeria & Tap

12 inch pepperoni and green pepper

Half Caesar salad

Exterior

Bar

Upstairs

Interior

**** (4 stars)

Streeterville pizza is a small, airy pizzeria on two levels with a full bar. Their pizza is “tavern style” a Chicago specialty, with thin crust and cut into squares. The pizza was liberally sauced, which I like, and well-topped. The crust was nicely singed as I requested.

I also enjoyed the half Caesar salad I started with, which had a good dressing and some sun-dried tomato for color.

Service by Dylan was friendly and attentive.

Streeterville Pizzeria & Tap
355 E Ohio St
Chicago, IL
60611
(312) 631-3877
https://www.yelp.com/biz/streeterville-pizzeria-and-tap-chicago

Gino’s East – Magnificent Mile

Upstairs

Walls

Chicken thin crust

Meaty legend deep dish

**** (4 stars)

Gino’s has a great ambiance, mostly because of the graffiti. It’s everywhere. Well, not EVERYWHERE. The inside joke is that every surface at Gino’s is covered in graffiti except the restroom,s which are spotless.

Oh, and they have pizza. Deep dish pizza. So deep that I can even print the word for how deep it is. But it is as deep as that. It’s also pretty good. I admit I’m not a huge deep dish fan, but the crust here has cornmeal, which helps, and there is lots of good tasting filling. Be aware that it takes a good 45 minutes to cook your pizza.

Their thin crust pizza doesn’t take quite that long. The crust isn’t actually all that thin, though, just thinner.

The place is large and busy, so service isn’t super attentive, but it’s adequate. If you’ve always wanted to try deep dish pizza, I’d say this is your best bet.

Gino’s East – Magnificent Mile
162 E Superior St
Chicago, IL 60611
(312) 266-3337
https://www.yelp.com/biz/ginos-east-magnificent-mile-chicago

Shakey’s Pizza Parlor

Pepperoni and basil thin crust 9 inch

Mojo potatoes

Interior

**** (4 stars)

I’ve been coming to this location since the 1960s, when Shakey’s was in its heyday, the tables and chairs were wooden planks, and there was a live piano player cranking out honky-tonk tunes, accompanied by “multimedia” in the form of a slide projector!

The planks and piano are gone, but Shakey’s is largely unchanged. There’s a special taste to the pizza here that I really like; I think they use more sauce, and it’s tangy-er. The original thin crust recipe is still crisp and delicious, with just the right amount of chew, and even the pepperoni seems to have a slightly different taste from other places.

One thing that changed–albeit back in the 80s–was the addition to mojo potatoes, and those quickly became a favorite of mine, and still are. Essentially they are thin slabs of whole potatoes deep fried in a concoction that attempts to turn them into fried chicken. Yum.

I’m sad that there are so few Shakey’s left, but I hope this one hangs in there–it was certainly busy the day we visited–because it’s a delightful blast from my past.

Shakey’s Pizza Parlor
6052 W Olympic Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90036
(323) 937-4234
https://www.yelp.com/biz/shakeys-pizza-parlor-los-angeles-6

Pizzeria Via Stato

Exterior

Bar

Interior

Caesar salad

Pepperoni pizza

**** (4 stars)

Opening another pizza restaurant in Chicago is only slightly less redundant than opening another steakhouse. But Lettuce Entertain You rarely miscalculates, and this place is another winner.

If you like thin crust–and by thin, I mean wafer thin–pizza, then Pizzeria Via Stato is the place to go. This relatively small, casual but nice restaurant is making some of the best pizza in River North.

The crispy pepperoni with fresh basil was excellent, with a cracker crisp crust, and an excellent tomato sauce, and lots of (not actually all that crispy) pepperoni, and generous fresh basil.

I also really liked the “celery” Caesar salad, which was a normal Caesar with lots of tasty croutons and an extra crunch imparted by celery. Although served on a small plate, it was a deceptively large mound, ample for sharing.

Service was professional, and there are interesting beer and cocktail selections.

Pizzeria Via Stato
620 N State St
Chicago, IL 60654
(312) 642-8450
https://www.yelp.com/biz/pizzeria-via-stato-chicago

Luigi Stefani Pizzeria

*** (3 stars)

This place has quite a collection of poor reviews, but it is possible to get a good meal here. In fact, it can be one of the more healthful options in the entire airport food court. The trick is to go around the corner, past the greasy pizza, to the deli salad area. There, for$10, you can get a green salad topped with your choice of three fresh made deli salads. I chose grilled vegetables, asparagus, and something called harvest grains. They were all delicious.

Luigi Stefani Pizzeria
5700 S Cicero Ave
Chicago, IL 60638
(773) 838-8824
http://www.yelp.com/biz/luigi-stefani-pizzeria-chicago

Dough Bros: Pizzeria & Sub Shop

**** (4 stars)

This place makes great New York style pizza and sells it by the slice for the great price of $4 for any type. It’s heated to order, and comes out piping hot. Because there are very few seats, you’ll be tempted to get it to go, but don’t. The crust is a perfect combination of thin, soft, slightly chewy, yet crisp on the bottom, and it won’t still be that way when you get home.

If you like spicy food, try the Roland. It has Thai basil, lemon grass, and sausage, and is covered in a sriracha drizzle. Wow!

Dough Bros: Pizzeria & Sub Shop
400 N State St
Chicago, IL 60654
(312) 600-9078
http://www.yelp.com/biz/dough-bros-pizzeria-and-sub-shop-chicago

Pizza @ Artegon

**** (4 stars)

I’ve been to this mall many times over the past fifteen years, and it has always been deserted. But I hadn’t been there since it changed to Artagon, so I was surprised to find… that it’s still deserted.

Be that as it may, this is an excellent pizza spot. You place your order at the counter and supervise as they assemble your pizza and run it though a conveyor oven, a process that only takes a few minutes.

The resulting pizza is on a thin, tasty crust. What’s really nice is that for about $8 you can put up to six ingredients on. Usually extra ingredients are ridiculously expensive, so I love this build your own approach.

That said, I decided to go with one of their featured recipes, the”Goofy Foot.” I’m not sure what a sauceless seafood pizza has to do with where you put your feet on a skateboard, but it was delicious. The combination of cheeses, mahi, shrimp, basil and chili oil really went together. My only complaint was that for some reason–probably the amount of moist ingredients–condensation immediately began to form under the crust, and I had to keep moving it around to keep it from dissolving. I’d like to experiment with ingredients and see if there’s a way to get a truly crispy crust.

Everyone in our group absolutely loved their pizzas, and said they’d like to return. That shouldn’t be a problem, as there will likely be no lines.

Pizza @ Artegon
5250 International Dr
Orlando, FL 32819
(407) 480-5008
http://www.yelp.com/biz/pizza-artegon-orlando

Giordano’s

*** (3 stars)

I’ve never been a fan of deep dish pizza, so there’s that. I find the crust tastes like saltine crackers, and there’s just too much filling.

Plus, it takes about 40 minutes to cook, which is tool long for lunch hour. So it’s unfortunate that the only pizza lunch specials at Giordano’s involve deep dish pizza (what they called stuffed).

Still, they offer regular pizza and even an extra thin version. Unfortunately they have that same weird dough. Not my favorite.

That said, their Caesar salad is excellent. And the service at this Giordano’s is excellent. So if deep dish is your thing, by all means check it out.

Giordano’s
6203 W Sand Lake Rd
Orlando, FL 32819
(407) 377-0022
http://www.yelp.com/biz/giordanos-orlando-3

BJ’s Restaurant & Brewhouse

**** (4 stars)

This BJ’s has the nicest interior decor of any BJ’s I’ve been to. As with all of them it has a very extensive menu, and a full page devoted to a very clearly described array of beers.

We took a large (16 people) group here after playing the Escape game nearby, and our servers did an amazing job of dealing with so many people.

I really liked the queso dip appetizer, which was more about chili than cheese. The appetizer combo was less exciting, and I particularly disliked the egg rolls and the spinach dip.

My entree, the ahi tuna salad, was delicious, with tender, rare slices of ahi arranged around a nicely tossed pile of greens with just the right amount of tangy dressing, and a nice variety of textures.

In short, this is a great place for large groups or small parties, for groups who all want something different to eat, and for beer lovers. One of the better choices on I-Drive, for sure.

BJ’s Restaurant & Brewhouse
8103 International Dr
Orlando, FL 32819
(321) 732-8190
http://www.yelp.com/biz/bjs-restaurant-and-brewhouse-orlando-4