Top 12 Best Pizza Places in Chicago

Last Updated on February 23, 2024 by Emily Johnson

Chicago is renowned for its deep-dish pizza, which sets it apart from other pizza styles across the country. The Windy City takes its pizza seriously and is home to hundreds of pizzerias serving up mouthwatering pies made with high-quality ingredients. From neighborhood joints to critically acclaimed restaurants, Chicago has something for all pizza lovers.

PizzeriaSpecialtyLocation Highlights
Pequod’s PizzaCaramelized crust deep dishLincoln Park, Morton Grove
Lou Malnati’sChicago-style deep dishMultiple locations
Gino’s EastHand-rolled deep dishMultiple locations
Pizano’sDeep dish and thin crustMultiple locations
Bartoli’sThin crust brick ovenWrigleyville, Lincoln Park
Beggar’sChicago-style with unique toppingsMultiple locations
CoalfireCoal oven pizzasMultiple locations
Santullo’sThin crustWicker Park
Home Run InnClassic thin and deep dishMultiple locations
The Art of PizzaCreative thin crust and deep dishLakeview
Aurelio’sThin crust party-styleMultiple locations
Laboratorio di FioreNeapolitan-certified405 N Armour St

In this article, we spotlight the 12 best pizza places that you must try when in Chicago. These pizzerias offer exceptional flavors, interesting toppings, unique spin on classics, and an unforgettable pizza experience. Whether you’re a local or a tourist, this list has you covered for the most delicious pizzas in town.

1. Pequod’s Pizza

Name and Location: Pequod’s Pizza has locations in Lincoln Park, Morton Grove and Naperville.

History and Significance: Founded in 1970 in a former car shop, Pequod’s signature pan pizzas have crunchy, buttery crusts, mounds of cheese and sweet caramelized edges.

What to Expect: Feast on deep dish pies heaped with toppings from pepperoni to spinach, enjoying that famed crust which crisps up in some spots. Slices are huge!

Visitor Information: Open 11am–10pm or later daily for dine-in and takeout. Expect crowds on weekends.

Pequod’s Pizza tops the list for its famous caramelized crust deep dish pizza. Owned by Burt Katz, Pequod’s has been around since 1966 and is a Chicago institution known for its piping hot pan pizzas with Crust as buttery. Their signature deep-dish pizza has sweet caramelized crust with moist toppings like house-made sausage and chunky tomato sauce. Toppings are loaded generously over layers of cheese. The Lincoln Park and Morton Grove branches have a constant stream of locals and tourists waiting to get a table and slice of their trademark pan pizza.

2. Lou Malnati’s Pizzeria

Name and Location: Lou Malnati’s Pizzeria has over 50 Chicagoland locations.

History and Significance: Lou Malnati’s has specialized in deep dish since 1971 using a secret family sausage recipe, also making thinner butter crust.

What to Expect: Bite into sweet tomato sauce and extra cheese on light flaky or substantial deep dish crust, choosing inventive toppings or their famed sausage blend.

Visitor Information: Most locations are open 11am–10pm Sun-Thu & until 11pm Fri/Sat. Order online for pickup or delivery.

For authentic Chicago-style deep dish, Lou Malnati’s Pizzeria is a legendary name. Started in 1971, Lou Malnati’s has stayed true to the original Chicago deep dish recipe. Their buttery crust is flaky on the edges with a soft airy base. The Lou pizza with spinach mix, sliced Roma tomatoes, and chunks of feta cheese is a favorite. Pepperoni, sausage, extra cheese are standard meat options offered. With a thinner crust, their Boneless pizza and Buttercrust are popular alternatives too. They ship pizzas nationwide for fans missing their hometown classic.

3. Gino’s East

Name and Location: Gino’s East has various locations around downtown Chicago and suburbs.

History and Significance: Tracing its roots to the 1960s, Gino’s East has spread across the country while retaining its graffiti-covered industrial vibe and flaky deep dish pizzas.

What to Expect: Order their buttercrust deep dish served in metal pizza pans with toppings like pepperoni, Italian sausage or spinach baking into melted mozzarella cheese.

Visitor Information: Most locations are open daily 11am–9pm. Expect a wait during peak dinner hours.

Chicago native Gino Sarti opened the first Gino’s East in 1966 serving hand-rolled deep dish pizzas. Their secret hearty, flaky cornbread crust is naturally gluten-free. Generous chunky tomato sauce and mounds of cheese like their signature two-layer cheese blend complete it. For meat lovers, their specialist Butcher Block pizza heaped with sausage, pepperoni, bacon, and hamburger is a delight. Other Gino’s East favorites include their Four Cheese pizza and spinach florentine version. Their River North location has graffiti-filled walls for a classic Chicago pizzeria charm.

4. Pizano’s Pizza & Pasta

Name and Location: Pizano’s Pizza & Pasta has several Chicagoland pizzerias.

History and Significance: Opened by a second-generation pizza maker in 1991, Pizano’s handcrafts thin crust and deep dish pizzas while also offering pastas and sandwiches.

What to Expect: Savor paper-thin or 3-inch high crusts with creative topping combos like sausage and giardiniera or fennel and spinach alongside specialty pastas.

Visitor Information: Hours vary by location but most are open 11am–9pm or later for dine-in/takeout daily.

Pizano’s is owned by Rudy Malnati Jr, whose father created the original Lou Malnati’s recipe. No surprise then that Pizano’s serves exemplary deep dish pizzas with buttery crust and fresh toppings. Their award-winning Rudy Special white pizza with spinach, garlic, feta, and cheddar is a customer favorite. For meat indulgence, the Mark’s Special loaded with sausage, pepperoni, onions, mushrooms, green peppers satisfies. Pizano’s homey ambiance and flavorful pies make it one of the top picks for deep dish pizzas in Chicago.

5. Bartoli’s Pizzeria

Name and Location: Bartoli’s Pizzeria has two locations in Chicagoland.

History and Significance: Family-owned for over 20 years, Bartoli’s makes New York-style thin crust pizza along with classic Italian appetizers, handcrafted pasta and oven-baked sandwiches.

What to Expect: Crunch into crispy thin crust with chunky tomato sauce; toppings range from pepperoni and Italian beef to broccoli rabe and artichokes. Sides like arancini and Brussels sprouts recommended too!

Visitor Information: Open 11am–9pm daily. Takeout and delivery available. Cash only at the Addison location.

Bartoli’s Pizzeria dates back to 1955, making it an original neighborhood pizzeria in Chicago. Bartoli’s thin crust brick oven pizzas areserved at their classic Addison location,Wrigleyville, and Lincoln Park. Their crispy crust cut into squares is topped with chunky tomato sauce, shredded provolone, and toppings. Customers recommend their specialty Hilltopper with sausage, pepperoni, mushrooms, and bell peppers. Bartoli’s Cashonly policy, old-school vibes, and quality pizzas stand the test of time in Chicago.

6. Beggar’s Pizza

Name and Location: Beggar’s Pizza has over 20 locations spanning Illinois, Wisconsin and Indiana.

History and Significance: Since 1973, this Midwest pizza chain has gained a following serving loaded thin crust pizzas, cold beer and its signature free Pizza Spins appetizer.

What to Expect: Generously topped thin crust pies arrive cut into squares alongside crispy Pizza Spins; toppings range from pepperoni to Italian beef with hot giardiniera.

Visitor Information: Open 11am daily; closing time varies by location. Dine-in, carryout and delivery available.

Beggar’s Pizza is a Chicago-style pizza chain that has gained a reputation for its flavorful pies over the years. Their crust is buttery and caramelized with toppings like Italian sausage, pepperoni, and bell peppers. For a lighter pizza, try their classic thin crust with upgraded toppings like artichoke hearts, roasted garlic, and prosciutto. Beggar’s uses fresh ingredients, house-made sauce, and Wisconsin cheese on their pizzas. Their cozy indoor seating and delivery service make it a perfect neighborhood pizza spot.

7. Coalfire Pizza

Name and Location: Coalfire Pizza has locations in Peoria, Chicago and Des Moines.

History and Significance: Founded in 1965 in West Peoria, this pizza chain uses secret recipes and house-made ingredients across its thin crust, deep dish, stuffed and coal oven specialty pizzas.

What to Expect: Enjoy Quad City-style thin crust cut into strips or fork-and-knife deep dish as well as stuffed and coal-fired pies with toppings like pepperoni, sausage and kalamata olives.

Visitor Information: Hours vary by shop but most are open 11am–9pm daily. Takeout and delivery available.

Coalfire Pizza is relatively new having started in 2015 but has already made a mark with its unique coal oven pizzas. As the name suggests, pizzas are cooked in an 1000F coal over that imparts a charred, smoky taste. Their thin crust comes out crisp with bite-sized burnt edges yet a soft interior. The dough and ingredients are made in-house daily allowing for creative pies like their fig-prosciutto, pesto chicken, and spicy Nduja pie. They also offer gluten-free and vegan options. The rustic minimalist setting makes Coalfire a favorite Chicago pizza stop.

8. Santullo’s Pizza and Eatery

Name and Location: Santullo’s Pizza and Eatery has two Chicago locations on N Harlem Ave and W Grand Ave.

History and Significance: Founded in 1943 in Chicago and specializing in thin crust, Santullo’s signature menu item is the Pizza Pot Pie combining a pizza stuffed inside a bowl of pizza sauce topped with more cheese and toppings.

What to Expect: Try their Pizza Pot Pie’s crispy crust and loaded interior or order the Classic thin crust topped with sausage, mushrooms, onions and green pepper. Cash only.

Visitor Information: Open Tuesday through Sunday from 11am–midnight. Closed Mondays. Takeout available.

Santullo’s has been a Wicker Park favorite neighborhood pizza joint since 1943. Their claim to fame is the self-proclaimed “Best Pizza in the City” title with overstuffed pizzas and sandwiches. The crispy thin crust pizza sliced in squares is topped generously with meats like Italian sausage and meatballs, vegetables, and cheese. Santullo’s gives giant pizza slices overflowing with ingredients and their loyal customers keep coming back for it. The old-world charm, quirky decor, and enticing pizza aroma make this a quintessential Chicago pizzeria.

9. Home Run Inn Pizzeria

Name and Location: Home Run Inn Pizzeria has locations across Chicagoland.

History and Significance: Home Run Inn dates back over 50 years, shipping their famous frozen pizzas nationwide while retaining old-school vibes at their casual Chicagoland pizzerias.

What to Expect: Grab a slice or whole pie with buttery, cornmeal-lined crust piled high with chunky sauce and ample mozzarella plus your preferred toppings.

Visitor Information: Hours vary by shop but most are open 10:30am–9pm daily for dine-in or carryout.

Home Run Inn started out in 1923 as a small Italian bakery making pizza. Nearly a century later, Home Run Inn has grown into a well-known frozen pizza brand and pizzeria chain across Chicago. Their pizzas are made with a secret yeast-based dough recipe and topped with vine-ripened tomatoes and fresh cheese. Home Run Inn is praised for its family-friendly ambiance and specialty pizzas like the Chicago Fire pie heaped with meat and giardiniera. Their classic thin crust, Detroit-style deep dish, and stuffed pizzas are customer go-tos here.

10. The Art of Pizza

Name and Location: The Art of Pizza has several locations across Chicago.

History and Significance: Open since 1986 on the North Side, Art of Pizza serves up thin crust alongside deep dish and stuffed variants baked in a coal oven.

What to Expect: Tackle monster-sized stuffed pies brimming with cheese or thin crust loaded down with homemade sausage and sliced tomatoes. Save room for the spumoni!

Visitor Information: Varying hours but most shops open 11am–10pm daily. Takeout and delivery available.

The Art of Pizza in Lakeview prides itself on being an unconventional pizzeria with a punk rock edge. The walls feature colorful graffiti, punk band stickers, and eclectic antique furniture. But their diverse pizza selection steals the spotlight. Patrons rave about their flaky deep dish Spinach Ricotta pie and specialties like Mac n Cheese pizza. Thin crust, NY-style, pan pizzas with creative toppings and crusts make this an artistic pizza experience. Cash-only and BYOB, locals adore The Art of Pizza for its quirky ambiance and tasty handcrafted pies.

11. Aurelio’s Pizza

Name and Location: Aurelio’s Pizza maintains over 40 pizzerias, mostly in Illinois.

History and Significance: Founded in 1959, Aurelio’s has spread across the Midwest, staying family-owned for 60+ years while dishing their classic thin crust cut into squares.

What to Expect: Crispy thin crust pies topped with chunky homemade sauce and loads of cheese gets cut into square slices perfect for sharing alongside breadsticks.

Visitor Information: Hours vary by shop but most open from 4pm for dinner daily. Takeout and delivery available.

Aurelio’s has been serving Chicago-style pizza since 1959 with over 40 Chicagoland locations today. Their crispy thin crust cut party-style into squares is their specialty. Covered in their secret vine-ripened sauce Aurelio’s piles on toppings generously on pizzas like the Aurelio’s Special. Their Pizza Puffs as an appetizer are also well-liked. Aurelio’s family-friendly dining, lunch specials, and gluten-free pizzas appeal to loyal patrons all over town.

12. Laboratorio di Fiore

Name and Location: Laboratorio di Fiore is located at 305 S Halsted St in Chicago.

History and Significance: Launched by Naples native Tony Fiore in 2021, this casual West Loop pizzeria focuses on Neapolitan-style pies tucked inside a sleek, modern space accented with Italian marble.

What to Expect: Bite into blistered and bubbly wood-fired Neapolitan pizzas like the Diavola with spicy salami and Vine Ripe with fresh mozzarella and sweet tomato sauce.

Visitor Information: Opens daily at 4pm. Closes 11pm Sun-Thu; midnight Fri/Sat. Walk-ins welcome but reservations recommended.

Laboratorio di Fiore is a Neapolitan-certified pizzeria using traditional techniques to create authentic wood-fired pizzas with fresh toppings. Their thin and soft crust is made with imported Caputo flour, San Marzano tomatoes, and fresh mozzarella. The Margherita and Bufala Campagnola with creamy buffalo mozzarella are recommended. Their meatballs, antipasti, wines, and desserts like Nutella pizza and tiramisu are also highlights. The industrial-chic ambiance makes Laboratorio di Fiore a top destination for Neapolitan pizza in Chicago.

Conclusion

Chicago undoubtedly takes its pizza seriously and the long list of recommendations above proves it. From deep dish icons to inventive thin crust pies, the city has every style covered. Lesser-known neighborhood pizzerias hold their own against nationally renowned chains in terms of taste and quality. Pizza styles may vary across these popular Chicago pizzerias but attention to fresh ingredients, house-made dough, and culinary creativity shine through. So next time you are in Chicago, stray off the tourist path and into its dynamic pizza scene slicing through the city one pie at a time.

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