The Real Dish: Find Chicago’s Tavern-Style Pizza Hot Spots

It’s always good to know what any city is famous for before you visit or relocate there. There’s a reason that the San Diego Zoo is world-famous or why New Orleans’ music scene is one of the best in the world.

Chicago has several claims to fame. The breeze off Lake Michigan inspired the nickname “The Windy City.” Chicago blues is a distinctive style of blues music. And, while Chicago is known for its signature deep-dish pizza, there is another style pizza that many Chicagoans prefer.

Tavern-style pizza is also a Chicagoland standout favorite! Although Americans associate deep-dish pizza with Chicago, real Chicago pizza is a tavern style pizza with an ultra-thin crispy crust.

This fact surprises many visitors and new residents who expect to find deep-dish style everywhere they see a pizza place. Read on to learn about tavern-style pizza and where to get it.

What is Tavern Style Pizza?

This pizza preparation is the first choice of Chicagoans. Pizzerias concoct it with a thin crust and traditionally-layered toppings. So what makes it so unique?

First, the crust is cracker-thin and crunchy, and it can hold whatever toppings you can think of, although the local favorite is sausage.

The second characteristic that defines “tavern-style” is how it’s cut. This pie is sliced into squares designed to be small portions that tavern customers can snack on.

The tavern cut was invented on Chicago’s South Side to keep bar customers in their seats instead of going elsewhere for food. The pizza was free, so smaller pieces could stretch the pie further and increase beer sales.

Who Makes the Best Tavern Pizza?

If you’re near Lakeview, two establishments stand out from the crowd: the Side Street Saloon and Pat’s Pizza. If you’re near Ashburn, Vito & Nick’s is the place to go for this pizza.

Side Street Saloon

This restaurant has a bar that’s larger than the kitchen. Along with pool and darts, you can enjoy a thin-crust pizza baked on cornmeal and topped with all the classics.

Located at 1456 W George St, in Chicago, Side Street Saloon hosts local brewery events and offers Tuesday Night Trivia if you want to satisfy your mind as well as your pizza craving.

Pat’s Pizza

This pizzeria opened in 1950, has occupied space across from the Vic Theater and found its permanent home fourteen years ago at 2679 N. Lincoln Ave. Pat’s rolls their dough to a thickness of seven sheets of paper and offers an array of creative toppings that include homemade sausage.

Widely considered one of the best, if not THE best, Pat’s is a must-visit and is open seven days a week. And, the owner and his family are all named Nick.

Vito & Nick’s

At 8433 S. Pulaski Rd., Chicago, you will find the most old-school tavern pizza available in Chicago. Guy Fieri decided it was worth visiting, and this pizzeria, established in 1932, also makes its sausage in-house. Visitors can choose from several other traditional toppings, including egg on Fridays.

Many Chicagoans consider Vito & Nick’s to be the best tavern-style pizza in Chicago.

Pizza City, USA

Chicago has earned another informal nickname: Pizza City, USA. It’s a great pizza town with a long history of serving all kinds of great pies.

Whether you’re relocating to the Chicago area or just planning an excursion, visit our blog for helpful tips and local guides. There’s no such thing as too much information, and we’re here to help you enjoy this great city. If you’re relocating, contact us today to see how we can make your move painless.