Keeping in line with the pizza-theme from our most recent post, we now look to another city known for its pizza – Chicago. When most people think of Chicago pizza, their thoughts most likely go to the more well-known deep dish pie, but if you’re looking for a less controversial pizza (mainly controversial if you are from the NYC area) , I would recommend the Chicago tavern style pizza.
Tavern style pizzas are very different from their deep dish counterparts in that they are cut into small, square slices and have a thin and crispy crust. In reality, they are more like the pizza with which you are familiar, which makes them the better pizza in Chicago for me. Almost every place that serves deep dish will also have Chicago thin crust so you should be able to find it easily. But, based on a friend from Chicago, the best thin crust is at Vito & Nick’s on the South Side.
As we were staying in the West Loop, Vito & Nick’s was not an option for me and Sonia on our recent trip so we had to look for closer alternatives. Luckily, we were able to find an amazing place within walking distance of our hotel. Nancy’s has several locations in the area, including the one we visited at 1000 W. Washington Boulevard.
We arrived at the restaurant around 5:30pm on a Saturday and were immediately seated at one of the tables in the bar area. Our server was the bartender as well. He was courteous and patient with us as we took some extra time to look at the menu. Once ready, I had the fried mozzarella to start and then a thin crust with pepperoni and sausage, while Sonia ordered the mixed green salad and meatball trio.
The fried mozzarella was everything you could have wanted in a fried stick of cheese. It had the perfect cheese pull and balance of breading and cheese. The marinara was the perfect sauce to complement my appetizer as well. This also came with a pesto aioli for dipping, but the marinara was so good, I didn’t get the chance to try it. Sonia’s salad was a mix of greens, arugula and radicchio dressed in a balsamic vinaigrette. She appreciated the freshness of it and felt it was the perfect light start for her meal.
Sonia opted for an appetizer as her entree as well and was not disappointed. The texture, seasoning and flavor of the meatballs were spot on. For an appetizer, Sonia felt that this was a big enough portion to fill her up even though she still had a slice of the pizza. The pizza was incredible and probably the best I’ve had in all my trips to Chicago. While the crust was thin and crispy, it wasn’t cracker thin so that it crumbled into pieces after a bite. This was the ideal balance of crunch and thickness so that you had the right amount of toppings and crust in each bite. The sausage and pepperoni were nice and flavorful, and the cheese had a nice melt to to it which resulted in both a cheesy pull and a bit of crunch from the cheese browning.
When we got our bill, we were pleasantly surprised by the value of our meal. Total cost, including tax, was $48.83. Compared to other places we ate in the West Loop, this was our best tasting and best priced meal. Whether you are a pizza fanatic or just want a lower cost meal in the area, I highly recommend Nancy’s. You won’t be disappointed.