Food Truck Challenge: 30 Must-Try Chicago Area Food Trucks

Following the Pizza Challenge list (which is still ongoing) that I released at the end of spring, I was ready for a new foodie adventure. I wanted to focus on something that represented both the city and summer perfectly…What better than food trucks?

Food trucks have variety, they have personality, and they are all unique in their own way which makes it almost impossible to rank them. So here’s your first HEADS UP:

THESE ARE NOT RANKED!

With a little help from my friends and the Chicago Food Truck Finder, I made stops from Libertyville…to Palwaukee Airport…to Rosemont…to the middle of Daley Plaza, to try something new and delicious each week. I found trucks on street corners, outside suburban office buildings, on the perimeter at concerts and festivals, on an airstrip, and in front of the (Bruce) Willis Tower.

I’ll include the Facebook profile and Twitter handle for each truck, along with any available menus for you to peruse before diving into your own Food Truck Challenge. I’ll also keep adding trucks to this list to serve as a database, so any recommendations are more than welcome.

1. The Slide Ride

#1 Slide Ride

“The Bacon Baby Trio”

Angus beef, brown sugar bacon, melted cheddar and mustard onions on a sesame bun

Finding “The Pink Lady” truck was a priority for me to kickoff this challenge. Who doesn’t love sliders? Each slider is $3.50 or you can snag 3 for $9. Not just burgers either; pork, chicken and even tilapia make the rotation. 

Facebook / Twitter / Menu

2. Gino’s Steaks Truck Chicago

#2 Gino's Steak Truck

“Steak and Cheese”

steak, onions, peppers, melted swiss, pickle, herbs and mayo

While “The Fatty” sounds amazing, which you’ll find on the menu, I had to go with a classic. What also struck me about this truck was how cool the guys were running it. Very personable and conversational, which is nice while you wait on your sandwich.

Facebook / Twitter / Menu

3. Toasty Cheese Mobile Eatery

#3 Toasty Cheese

“The Chef’s Choice”

Duck bacon, provolone, fresh spinach, baby arugula, Sicilian cherry tomatoes and aioli

Very prevalent in the northwest suburbs, you can find this awesome grilled cheese truck outside offices, town festivals, and even breweries. Don’t fear the Duck Bacon either. It’s so thick and the flavor is fantastic….and goes great on the cheese fries.

Facebook / Twitter / Menu

4. Beaver’s Donuts

#4 Beavers Donuts

“Reese’s Minis”

chocolate and peanut butter…what else? 

An underrated food item in Chicago has to be THE DOUGHNUTS we have here. So many fantastic shops (some that run out before you even make it down from the burbs…looking at you, Doughnut Vault), and the trucks are no different…Beavers is by far the most unique though with their mini servings and fun toppings. 4 minis is just $2, 9 is just $4.

Facebook / Twitter / Menu

5. Haute Sausage

#5 Haute Sausage

“Bacon Guacamole”

bacon sausage, roast poblano & corn guacamole, Merkt’s cheddar, and chipotle mayo

The Haute Sausage truck certainly makes it’s way around town. I’ve had it outside of my old work studio, at local beer festivals, and in the middle of the Daley Plaza food truck wagon circle. What’s very clutch with these sausages are the Texas toast style buns and homemade chips.

Facebook / Twitter / Menu

6. DönerMen

#6 DonerMen

“The Döner Box”

fries and greens topped with roasted chicken, tomato/cucumber shirazi, onion, spicy harissa, and tzatziki yogurt sauce

Fittingly, I got to try this masterpiece for a concert at Montrose Beach. Forking threw each layer to the sounds of Mumford and Sons was a treat, as was the curry wurst.

Facebook / Twitter / Menu

7. Tamale Spaceship

#7 The Tamale Spaceship

“Complicate de Carne”

flank steak tamale with traditional Oaxacan black mole and sesame seeds

The best part of this food challenge for me was trying new things. Confession: I had never had a tamale before boarding the “spaceship”…and now I love them. Thank you for that, Spaceship.

Facebook / Twitter / Menu

8. Best Truckin’ BBQ

#8 Best Truck'n BBQ

“The Interstate”

hand seasoned pork shoulder, smoked for twelve hours, chopped and sauced on a pretzel bun

Another truck that you’ll find in the suburbs and the sauce is to die for…I’m not even kidding. Some of the best sauce I’ve had in the Chicagoland area.

Facebook / Twitter / Menu

9. Cheesie’s

#9 Cheesie's

“The Melt”

American cheese, Chihuahua cheese, bacon, marinated chicken breast, 1,000 Island dressing, and tomato on Texas toast w/ pesto mayo dip

With pub locations on Belmont and in Evanston, this truck sparked my fascination with food trucks years ago at Riot Fest. Since then, I’ve found it outside of the Merch Mart, the Willis Tower, and regularly in line at Clark and Monroe. ALL THE SANDWICHES ARE PERFECT (All Caps necessary)

Facebook / Twitter / Menu

10. Jerk Grill

#10 Jerk

“Jerk Chicken”

with Rude Girl sauce on toast

The hype is real on the Jerk truck, and I am dying to pickup a hat or t-shirt from them that just says “Jerk.” The food actually may be magical…Why? Sharing it got me on-stage to see Spoon at The Taste of Chicago.

Proof:

Spoon

Facebook / Twitter / Menu

11. The Happy Lobster Truck

#11 The Happy Lobster Truck

“The Holy Guaca-Rolly”

Maine lobster, guac, and pickled onions

This made me a believer in lobster rolls, even after having it for the first time at Fenway Park.

Facebook / Twitter / Menu

12. The Model Chef

#12 The Model Chef

“Jerk Chicken Tacos”

Burgers, tacos, and crepes…? Oh my. Really nice lunch portions and I’m in need of a second visit to try the peach cobbler.

Facebook / Twitter / Menu

13. Ms. Tittle’s Cupcakes

#13 Ms. Tittle's Cupcakes

“Turtle and German Chocolate”

Ms. Tittle’s was the first of 3 cupcake trucks I tried, each one different from the other. You can find her in both the city and out in the suburbs.

Facebook / Twitter

14. Pierogi Wagon

#14 Pierogi Wagon

“Braised Beef Pierogis”

w/ bacon and sour cream

As I mentioned before, THIS IS NOT A RANKING…however…

If I were to rank the trucks, the Pierogi Wagon is in my Top 3. I introduced it to some friends from California (half of which were Polish) and they loved it.

(They seem to be going through some rebranding with their online presence, but I have found the truck at Millennium Park, Clark & Monroe, and Wacker & Adams)

15. Yum Dum

#15 Yum Dum

“Pork Belly Baowiches”

slow braised with Taiwanese spices, topped with pickled mustard greens, crushed peanuts and cilantro

Another first for me…Baos. Delicious beyond description and the “Baowiches” were very original to me. Like a pancake tortilla shell, that I couldn’t get enough of.

Facebook / Twitter / Menu

16. Windy City Patty Wagon

#16 Windy City Patty Wagon

“Gouda Burger”

smoked gouda, bacon, chipotle aioli, red onions and fries

Awesome truck name. Very unique taste with the hand-pressed burgers which I enjoyed with their seasoning. Would love to try the “stuffed patty” too.

Facebook / Twitter / Menu

17. La Cocinita

#17 La Cocinita

“Burri-Tacos”

with lechon, spiced cream and jalepeno salsa 

One of the best Latin American trucks I’ve tried. Greatly appreciated the “build-your-own” style and more importantly…Mexican Coke.

Facebook / Twitter / Menu

18. Chicago Pizza Boss

#18 Chicago Pizza Boss

“Sausage Pizza Puff”

You may recall that Pizza Boss ranked fairly high on the Pizza Challenge list, and deservedly so. I had to go back and try the pizza puff..and it was TOP NOTCH!

Facebook / Twitter / Menu

19. The Jibarito Stop

#19 The Jibarito Stop

“Beef & Cheese Empanadas”

Amazing Puerto Rican food and another first for me…empanadas. Yes, I feel weak admitting that, but I’ve had quite a few since trying them over a month ago.

Facebook / Twitter / Menu

20. More Cupcakes

#20 More Cupcakes

“Salted Caramel”

Yes please…Great surprisingly whipped frosting (given it’s appearance). And who says no to cupcakes when offered?

Facebook / Twitter / Menu

21. Blue Street Market

#21 Blue Street Market

“Mushroom Braised Beef Sandwich”

with caramelized shallot and shroom sauce

Very nice variety of lunch selections and sandwiches with excellent sides. You can’t tell me that “bacon wrapped chorizo stuffed pork” doesn’t involuntarily make you make Homer Simpson drool noises…

Facebook / Twitter / Menu

22. 5411 Empanadas

#22 5411 Empanadas

“Empanadas”

with dates & goat cheese and ham & cheese

Nothing does this truck justice like the webpage for the menu, so I’ll let you carry on to that immediately…You’re welcome.

Facebook / Twitter / Menu

23. Bruges Brothers

#23 Bruges Brothers

“Oxtail Poutine”

oxtail braised in red wine and thyme, gravy, cheddar cheese curds and crispy leeks

Not only is it remarkable poutine and a beautiful mess, these may be some of the best french fries I’ve ever had. I’ve had a lot of fries in my day (*Grandpa Simpson voice*), and those fries truly stuck out to me. Hurray, superlatives!

Facebook / Twitter / Menu

24. Fat Shallot

#24 The Fat Shallot

“Jumbo Polish”

with giardiniera, coarse grain mustard on a pretzel bun

Another truck I would place in my “Top 3” with incredibly cool folks working it, I’d love to go back and try everything. I got to enjoy this bad boy to the sweet rocking sounds of Motorhead at Riot Fest.

Facebook / Twitter / Menu

25. Grill Chasers

#25 Grill Chasers

“Skewer Taster & Bacon Beer Cheese Fries”

A pretty extensive menu of grilled chicken options like wings, sandwiches and skewers. The cheese fries make it well worth the feast, and I can imagine they pair great with any of the breweries they park out front of.

Facebook / Twitter / Menu

26 The Cajun Connoisseur

 #26 The Cajun Connoisseur

“Lobster Po-Boy”

….cajun style.

I’m no expert on cajun food, but this truck did make me want to explore it more. Very cool folks running the truck as well.

Facebook / Twitter / Menu

27. Chicago Cupcake

#27 Chicago Cupcake

“Turtle and Peanut Butter Cupcakes”

These are my favorite cupcakes around Chicago. They taste like cheesecake in cupcake form, and they are perfect because of it. They are actually served at the Coalfire pizza place in West Town as well.

Facebook / Twitter / Menu

28. Kate & Jan Hot Dogs

#28 Kate & Jan Hot Dogs

“German Oktoberfest Sausage”

There’s a sweet variety of selections beyond your typical hot dogs, like polish and even french sausages. It’s also sweet having the option to put on your own toppings outside of the truck as well.

Facebook / Twitter

29. Aztec Dave’s

#29 Aztec Dave's

“Al Pastor and Skirt Steak Quesadillas”

Amazing design on the truck, super outgoing people serving, and delicious Mexican food. I think that sums it up nicely.

Facebook / Twitter 

30. Jack’s Fork in the Road

#30 Jack's Fork in the Road

“Corned Beef Grilled Cheese”

with Guinness onions, aged english cheddar and whole grain mustard on dark rye

Capping the summer-long adventure was another favorite that I looked forward to trying the entire time. I could probably have these gourmet sandwiches for lunch everyday…and there are plenty to choose from.

Facebook / Twitter / Menu

Send anymore Food Truck recommendations or just follow along as The Adventure Continues on Facebook and Twitter

Post Ron Swanson, Nick Offerman Still Rules

Even after the Ultimate American Character was retired on-air…

Ron Swanson Gif

Nick Offerman isn’t going away any time soon.

It’s well known that Offerman is as interesting as his “Parks and Recreation” character. He is an accomplished wood craftsman who builds furniture and canoes at his Offerman Woodshop in East Los Angeles…while sometimes reading tweets from young female celebrities. He has released two semi-autobiographical books,Paddle Your Own Canoe: One Man’s Fundamentals for Delicious Living in 2013 and Gumption: Relighting the Torch of Freedom with America’s Gutsiest Troublemakers in May of 2015. Offerman also tours regularly with his wife of 12 years, Megan Mullally, performing comedy and music.

You can see Offerman as a philosophy professor dad who only wears robes in my favorite film of the year so far, Me and Earl and the Dying Girl . You’ll also see him in the second installment of FX’s “Fargo“, premiering in September this year.

In the meantime, I recommend filling your void for more Ron Swanson with Offerman’s fantastic “Pizza Farm” PSA from Funny or Die…because “french fries are practically salads”.

The Adventure Continues on Facebook and Twitter

The Pizza Challenge: 40 Chicago Area Pizza Places Ranked

(UPDATE: A new list of 60 PLACES will be coming soon!)

In June of 2014, my favorite pizza place in Lake Zurich closed down.

….I was on a mission to find the next best thing.

For 11 months, I tried 40 different unique pizza places in the Chicagoland area that I had never been to before. I left out the usual suspects (Lou Malnati’s, Giordano’s, Gino’s East) because we’ve all had them before. I kept track of my findings by posting photos from each location to Instagram, Facebook and Twitter with the hashtag #PizzaChallenge.

The wonderful thing about pizza is that it truly brings people together. I had so much fun getting recommendations from friends and strangers alike, meeting up and trying new things. Pizza = Love, I guess.

Pizza Day GIF

Although these places are ranked, it doesn’t necessarily mean the one’s ranked lower are bad…more so that the others made a better impression on me. I judged each pizza place based on taste, presentation, customer service, and the overall vibe. Pizza isn’t just a meal, it’s an experience.

*deep breath*

Here we go.

40. Cooper’s – Barrington, IL

Cooper's

Remember that disclaimer I gave about pizza places not necessarily being bad? That doesn’t apply here…I’m going to go with the Thumper Rule though and that’s it. 

39. Joe’s Pizzeria – Palatine

Joe's

No need for the Thumper rule here. The pizza was okay (nothing special), but I would give some advice:

PEOPLE MAY LIKE YOUR PIZZA BETTER IF YOU ARE NICER TO THEM. Here endeth the lesson. 

38. Penguino’s – Buffalo Grove

Penguino's

The owner at Penguino’s is remarkably accommodating and will talk your ear off (in a good way) while you wait for your pie. This is where “the disclaimer” applies. Nothing bad about the pizza at all. It just doesn’t stand out like the 37 others ahead of it. 

141 W Dundee Rd, Buffalo Grove, IL 60089
(847) 459-0002

37. Pizza Bella, Palatine

Pizza Bella

Sometimes, you can be in the mood for something really cheesy. A rom-com, a pickup line, or a pan pie from Pizza Bella…they’ve got your cheese fix. I recommend the pan style from this place. 

100 W Northwest Hwy, Palatine, IL 60067
(847) 359-2700

36. Benchmark, Old Town

Benchmark

I’m not totally sure if Benchmark is known for their pizzas, but I found this to be quite delicious. I was also told to have it with a Moscow Mule. It was my first time having one, so that was magical. 

1510 N Wells St, Chicago, IL 60610
(312) 649-9640

35. Jimano’s, Northwest Suburbs

Jimano's

There are a number of Jimano’s locations in the northwest ‘burbs, and I went with the one in Mundelein. I do like the sauce a lot and it makes for a solid pickup to your Friday night shin dig. 

2952 IL-60, Mundelein, IL 60060
(847) 949-8400

34. Pizza Italia, Libertyville

Pizza Italia

Pizza Italia is a place you’d probably prefer eating in at, but it is a very strong pick up as well. From what they told me at the front, “You shoulda ordered the deep dish!” I’ll keep that in mind for next time. 

218 S Milwaukee Ave, Libertyville, IL 60048
(847) 281-8404

33. Hitz Pizza and Sports Bar, Mundelein

Hitz

Pretty gooey stuff, and no I didn’t order extra cheese. I’d recommend if you go for sitting down and eating, choose the dining area. A little tough to get your server’s attention if you’re not a regular at the bar. 

700 Butterfield Rd, Mundelein, IL 60060
(847) 362-0505

32. Moretti’s Ristorante & Pizzeria, Fox Lake

Moretti's

I know, Moretti’s is a chain…but it gets the job done. Each of the 3 different locations I’ve gone to have their own personality and it’s a great time in the summer. 

164 US-12, Fox Lake, IL 60020
(847) 973-1800

31. Tammy’s, Spring Grove

Tammy's

Tammy’s makes a pretty good double-decker, no doubt. However, they would be higher on this list if it didn’t take 2 hours to get the pizza. Fortunately there was a solid block of Jeopardy and Wheel of Fortune on the TVs.

6817 State Park Rd, Spring Grove, IL 60081
(847) 587-7408

30. Little Italian, Naperville

Little Italian

I really liked how thick this “thin” crust was. This is great “dinner and a movie” pizza (which is exactly what it was…more specifically, Game of Thrones in IMAX with my brother). I also got a kick out of the numerous “I grew up on that!” texts and comments that followed. 

373 E Bailey Rd, Naperville, IL 60565
(630) 983-8200

29. Fire + Wine

Fire + Wine

There’s fire (a woman actually got caught in her table’s candle when I went). There’s wine (amazing selection)…And it’s an awesome spot for catching up and date nights. If you like your gourmet style small plate pizzas, this place is for you. Very nice and attentive service too.

433 N Main St, Glen Ellyn, IL 60137
(630) 793-9955

28. Jersey’s Pizza and Grill, Hoffman Estates

Jersey's

It’s a weird location when you pull up, but it’s a really cool spot to watch a game. The multiple-monitors setup seems ideal for March Madness or a Fantasy Football Sunday…The pizza’s pretty good too! I recommend the Italian Beef and jalapeno combo. 

2360 Lakewood Blvd, Hoffman Estates, IL 60192
(847) 765-0085

27. Antioch Pizza Shop, Rt. 59

Antioch Pizza Shop \

When I picked up my order, I asked the girl at the counter if she would recommend anywhere else around Antioch. Her answer was perfect: “I don’t know anywhere else other than here.” Touche, salesman. 

994 IL-59, Antioch, IL 60002
(847) 395-6777 

26. Georgio’s Pizza, South Barrington

Georgio's

I have had the deep dish here before and it is delicious, but so is the thin crust…There’s a location in Crystal Lake, I know, but check out the South Barrington Arboretum to grab pizza and then a movie at the iPic across the street…They have recliner seating to help you with your pizza coma. 

Arboretum of South Barrington, 100 W Higgins Rd, South Barrington, IL 60010
(847) 844-1988

25. Union, Evanston

Union

I came here right after the Northwestern homecoming game against Nebraska with my little brother…We were probably a bit out of place with our football/tailgating garb because it’s more of a date location, but I loved the scene regardless. Cool mason jar lighting, excellent beer selection, a little pricy pizza…but perfect servings. 

1245 Chicago Ave, Evanston, IL 60202
(847) 475-2400

24. Marcello’s Father & Son

Marcello's Father & Son

This was one of those fun cases where a colleague had seen what I was doing with the Pizza Challenge and wanted me to try a favorite of his. Very thin and great flavor from the cheese, which is an excellent combo. 

2475 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago, IL 60647
(773) 252-2620

23. Pizza Factory, Lake Zurich

IMG_7039

This is a new spot in my hometown, originally from Barrington. I stopped in during the first week it was open and the owner couldn’t be nicer. They have a lot more than pizza (awesome tacos), but my recommendation would be to go with their “stuffed” style. It’s like a thinner version of the double decker that you’ve grown to love up here in the northwest suburbs, but it really stands out. Very tasty sauce too. 

1110 S. Old Rand Rd. Lake Zurich, IL 60047

(847) 550-0400

22. Kaiser’s Pizza and Pub, Gurnee

Kaiser's

Kaiser’s is just a bit further north of Six Flags Great America and makes for an excellent stop after riding the American Eagle and Raging Bull. I would recommend not getting the fried dough balls before ordering the double decker (my bad), but it does make excellent cold pizza. 

1801 IL-21, Gurnee, IL 60031
(847) 336-6500

21. Flour & Stone, Streeterville

Flour & Stone

This is definitely one of the better gourmet-East coast style joints in the city. It’s BYOB but they do have some craft beer options. I still recommend bringing a couple bottles of wine. It’s also very casual and comfortable for anyone.

355 E Ohio St, Chicago, IL 60611
(312) 822-8998

20. Flo & Santos, South Loop

Flo and Santos

Flo & Santos is a polish pizzeria. That’s right. POLISH PIZZERIA. They serve pierogis but they also serve the beauties you see above and a crazy variety of other combinations. They also have wide array of vodka selections…because POLISH. 

1310 S Wabash Ave, Chicago, IL 60605
(312) 566-9817

19. Dante’s Pizzeria, Logan Square

Dante's

If you like thin crust or New York style or…OH MY GOD THIS PIZZA NEEDS A SEPARATE TABLE! No worries. They do serve it by the slice. The “Inferno” themed menu includes items such as the “Minos” and the “Minotaur”. Plus the chalk art menu is epic. 

3028 W Armitage Ave, Chicago, IL
(773) 342-0002

18. Silo, Lake Bluff

The Silo

Silo has some of the best pan pizza in the area and a big reason is the soft crust. And the cheesy goodness overload…They also have a bunch of pizza topping combos that make it fun for anyone. 

625 Rockland Rd, Lake Bluff, IL 60044
(847) 234-6660

17. Halftime Bar & Grill, Johnsburg

Halftime

It may be the most unique taste I’ve had with a pizza in a long time…and that’s not a bad thing. It’s certainly in the cheese and grease and I don’t care…It’s great!

2405 Johnsburg Rd, Johnsburg, IL 60051
(815) 344-0007

16. Buffo’s, Highwood

Buffo's

I am so glad that I’ve found a pizza I can take to Ravinia with me! High quality in Highwood with both thin and double decker options. 

431 Sheridan Rd, Highwood, IL 60040
(847) 432-0301

15. Chicago Pizza Boss, Food Truck

Chicago Pizza Boss

I’ve never had Food Truck Pizza and now I’ve seen the light. Excellent options and it doesn’t take too long. I found these guys at Daley Plaza at 1:30 PM on a Friday, but you can check them out on their website.

(Programming Note: Coming soon will be the #FoodTruckChallenge! So stay tuned and send any leads to @Mike_PiFF03 on Twitter.)

14. JJ Twigs, Wauconda

JJ Twigs (Wauconda)

You may recall me mentioning my favorite place at home in Lake Zurich closing down (it’s actually been relocating for like a year). It is also called JJ Twigs. Same logo and many mistakenly believe the recipe is the same…It’s not. The Wauconda location is more reliant on cheese and the sauce isn’t as sweet as the Lake Zurich version, but it is still very good. 

1200 N Old Rand Rd, Wauconda, IL 60084
(847) 526-5444 

13. Wayne’s Pizza, Arlington Heights

Wayne's

I walked into this place near Arlington Park on a Friday night and the line for pickup was out the door. It was in the middle of winter too…I understood why after I ate it. They are the only place I’ve seen to cut their double decker slices into squares and I loved it. 

1618 W Northwest Hwy, Arlington Heights, IL 60004
(847) 255-2441

12. Nick’s Pizza & Pub, Crystal Lake

Nick's

Now we’re crossing the territory where EVERYTHING IS AWESOME. One of my favorite double decker style pizzas, and it’s due to the combination of gooey cheese and lighter crust. 

856 Pyott Rd, Crystal Lake, IL 60014
(815) 356-5550

11. Aurelio’s, Homewood

Aurelio's Orignal

Now when you do your own Pizza Challenge (which I highly encourage), don’t wait till nearly the end to try it. Your friends from the south suburbs won’t let you hear the end of it….and they’re not wrong. The thin crust is flaky and crunchy greatness, and the stuffed pizza is no slouch either…Just be sure you go to the one in Homewood. Apparently that’s where everything is made fresh. 

18162 Harwood Ave, Homewood, IL 60430
(708) 798-8050

10. Barone’s Pizza, Glen Ellyn

Barone's

Barone’s was the last stop on my quest for pizza glory and I’m glad it was…This thin crust masterpiece referred to as “The Hilltopper” is amazing, but the real treat is their pan pizza. I don’t think I’ve had better pan pizza ever…

And be sure to pair your order with root beer! Trust me. 

475 Pennsylvania Ave, Glen Ellyn, IL 60137

(630) 858-0555

9. Coalfire, West Town

Coalfire

A great spot if you want a bite before a Bulls or Blackhawks game. It is some of the thinnest you’ll find, and the finest at that. Those who fold their pizzas will love it…and so would anyone else. Definitely follow it up with one of their awesome cupcakes as well. Almost cheesecake like.

1321 W Grand Ave, Chicago, IL 60642
(312) 226-2625

8. Root’s Handmade Pizza, Ukrainian Village

Root's

People who have spent time in the Quad Cities for an extended period of time aren’t ever alarmed by their pizza being cut into long horizontal strips…The manager of the Quad City themed establishment told me they had based their recipe off the one from “Harris Pizza” in Rock Island. I told him his was better…Also GIANT MOZZARELLA STICKS!!!!

1924 W Chicago Ave, Chicago, IL 60622
(773) 645-4949

7. Pizano’s, The Loop

Pizano's

As I mentioned before, I left the usual suspects of deep dish chains out of the Pizza Challenge. That includes Lou Malnati’s…which is fine because Pizano’s was founded by Rudy Malnati Jr, son of Rudy Malnati Sr. who founded Pizzeria Uno back in 1943. It’s actually lighter than Lou’s, and the buttery crust is out of this world. 

Mallers Building, 61 East Madison Street, Chicago, IL

(312) 236-1777

6. Bill’s Pizza & Pub, Mundelein

Bill's Pizza

This is where it all began. Bill’s was the very first stop on the Pizza Challenge and 11 months later, this is where we are…I’ve heard multiple stories about imitators of their recipe all around Lake County, and I understand why. The sauce is fantastic!

624 S Lake St, Mundelein, IL 60060
(847) 566-5380

5. Art of Pizza, Lakeview

Art of Pizza

I have no idea how it took me this long to try Art of Pizza but I’m so glad I did. There are a litany of deep dish options and you can have them all by the slice…Amazing cheese and the kind of crust that makes Giordano’s jealous. 

3033 N Ashland Ave, Chicago, IL 60657
(773) 327-5600 

4. Piece Pizza and Brewery, Bucktown

Piece

Via Piece on Twitter (Thanks for the assist, guys!)

We’ve now reached the point where any of these could be #1 overall (including Art of Pizza)…I once had family in town, and they wanted to try something unique and original in Chicago. So I took them to Piece and it’s now their favorite joint in the city. It’s New Haven style and you can build your own however you please…Also, don’t be intimidated by the mashed potatoes as a topping. It’s fantastic and goes great with their hand crafted beer.

1927 W North Ave, Chicago, IL 60622
(773) 772-4422 

3. Vito & Nick’s, Southside

Vito & Nick's

You’ve probably seen Vito & Nick’s on a bunch of the pizza lists before this one, and also on TV…Believe the hype. It’s the dive-iest of places (carpet wallpaper, bad lighting, Jack ‘n Coke in a bottle), but it’s the kind of thin crust pizza that forces involuntary noises out of you.

8433 S Pulaski Rd, Chicago, IL 60652
(773) 735-2050

2. Pequod’s, Lincoln Park

Pequod's

Pequod’s is the truth. If deep dish pizza defines Chicago, the caramelized cheese crust redefines deep dish pizza. 

2207 N Clybourn Ave, Chicago, IL 60614
(773) 327-1512 

1. Boiler Room, Logan Square

Boiler Room

39 other pizza places. 11 months in the making…So why is Boiler Room my number 1? 

As I said at the top, pizza isn’t just a meal…it’s an experience. And I had my best experience in the last year at Boiler Room. All the different pie options are mouthwatering. The cocktails and beer selection are outstanding. The music is amazing. The service is great. They were also playing Tarantino movies on the giant monitor behind the bar when I went…And for $8.50, you can enjoy their PB & J special: a slice of pizza, a PBR tall boy, and a shot of Jameson. Oh my…

2210 N California Ave, Chicago, IL 60647
(773) 276-5625 

Now that the #PizzaChallenge is over, this page will serve as a database for more new pizza places I try. If you have any suggestions, let me know on Twitter @Mike_PiFF03 and I’ll edit the list accordingly. 

Thank you to everyone who recommended places, encouraged me to do it, and joined me for a few slices.

National Pizza Day: Great Pizza Moments in Movies & TV

Did you grab a slice yet today? Why not? You didn’t know?

It’s National Pizza Day! 

Pizza Day GIF

Now you may be asking, “who decided this?” IT DOESN’T MATTER WHO DECIDED THIS! IT’S PIZZA!

So let’s commemorate the occasion properly and take a look at moments in television and film that made us hungry enough to call for delivery.

Breaking Bad

Breaking Bad pizza

Most fans can pinpoint it to Season 3 Episode 2, but how did that pepperoni pizza get up on that roof?

Walter?…Don’t you do it!…Dammit, Walter. 

Home Alone

Home Alone Pizza

How many immature jerks, I mean kids, tried this themselves? I imagine it was a rough go for delivery guys nationwide during the 90s. 

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

TMNT Pizza

We’ll forgive the Turtles for their choice of Dominos only because they live in a sewer. And because corporate sponsorship and all…

Wayne’s World

Wayne's World pizza hut

Speaking of corporate sponsorship…

Mad Men

Draper Pizza

Not really any physical pizza being involved, but clearly Peggy has what we all do on her mind…Hey! Get your head out of the gutter!

Back to the Future Part II

Back To The Future Part II

Not only did they try predicting the next time the Cubs would go to the World Series, but also the way we ate pizza. I’m okay with them being wrong about the latter. 

The 2014 Academy Awards

Ellen Selfie

While Ellen was breaking the internet with the world’s greatest selfie, she was also throwing the world’s greatest pizza party…C’mon. Brad Pitt was passing out plates. 

Fast Times At Ridgemont High

Fast Times Pizza

“Who ordered the double cheese and sausage?” Probably the best pizza moment in cinematic history.

So…

Whiplash pizza

Have another great pizza moment in mind? Comment here or Tweet @Mike_PiFF03. Now go get some pizza!