As a New Jersey native, pizza has long been a part of my life. When I think of pizza, I imagine the small, hole-in-the-wall pizza joints of the tri-state area that specialize in Italian-American cuisine and “thin crust” pizza. The guy behind the counter in the dirty smock is never too friendly, and the food is fresh and consistently delicious. However, since my move to Chicago about 2 years ago, I have struggled to find really good New York Style, thin crust pizza. While deep dish pizza is awesome in its own unique way, comparing the two is like comparing apples and oranges - they are two completely different animals. Because of this, I have made it my mission these past few years to find Chicago’s best thin crust pizza and I have decided to pass along my research to you.
I have come up with three categories that every New York Style pizza must have:
- Thin crust,
- Foldable/triangular shape, and
- Availability by the slice.
That means no square cut pizza, and no pizza that you can only buy by the pie, and no deep dish. So read on and scratch the New York pizza itch you never knew you had with these 5 local pizzerias.
Formerly known as 5 Boroughs Pizza, it was once located right off of the Sedgwick brown line but has now moved to a new location in Rogers Park. Fortunately, they are still committed to making excellent pizza.
This hole-in-the-wall is a quintessential NY/NJ pizza joint. It not only looks the part, but the pizza is delicious. When it was located right off of the Sedgwick Brown Line stop, I discovered it by chance when taking classes at The Second City and it soon became part of my after-class routine. The pizza here is cheap, and most importantly, delicious. There new location is no exception; check these guys out!
This should come as no surprise to the pizza crowd, The Boiler Room is well known for its excellent thin crust pizza. The reputation is well deserved as the pizza here is always good and the beer is always cold. For those who are unfamiliar with thin crust pizza, I would suggest starting here. Check out their PB & J deal (slice, PBR can, and shot of Jameson for $8.50) to get the full Boiler Room effect.
Another pizza shop that is basically just a countertop inside, this small space consistently bangs out great pizza and other pizzeria staples like Chicken Parm, Calzones, and Garlic Bread. Located on 18th Street in Pilsen, be wary of the host of other pizzerias nearby. If you are looking for New York style pizza, Pizzeria Milan is by far the best around. Their sauce is uniquely sweet which helps it stand out in a field of average competitors. Foldable, easy to eat, cheap delicious pizza.
A cool spot in the great Lincoln Square neighborhood, Roots pizza delivers excellent quality thin crust pizza at an affordable price. Just a block away from the heart of Lincoln Square’s shopping district, Roots is a great way to close out a day of shopping this holiday season.
Possibly the best pizza on the list, Jimmy’s Pizza Café is textbook New York style pizza with plenty of classic topping options. Their crispy crust and foldability is a thing of beauty. The cheese is always fresh and gooey, which goes nicely with the bite of the crust and the tangy sauce. East-Coast, New York pizza at its Chicago finest.
Since pizza is an important part of every well-balanced diet, I highly recommend also learning how to cook your own! There are few things better than some home cooked Neapolitan or pan pizza cooked just the way you like it with all of your favorite cheeses and toppings. Did you know you can even make homemade pizza dough in a food processor? The Chopping Block offers pizza-making classes such as Chicago Deep Dish Pizza and Calzones coming up on Wednesday, December 27 at 7pm at Lincoln Square. Sign up now!
If you’re already a pizza-making pro, then you know the importance of a high quality pizza stone or steel. Luckily, The Chopping Block has top-of-the-line Emile Henry pizza stones and other bakeware on sale for 20% off for the entire month of November. So strike while the pizza stone is hot, and visit The Chopping Block nearest you to begin your pizza journey!