As countless slumber parties and divorced parents will tell you, pizza is a great takeout food. This means it’s pretty much pandemic proof, so it’s no surprise that a bunch of new pizza options have appeared all over the city - from takeout windows to virtual restaurants to weekly pop-ups. Here are 10 of our favorites we’ve had recently, and make sure to check back for updates.
Pequod’s has been at the top of our list for a long time, but as the ’90s Bulls can attest, dynasties end. Now there’s finally some legitimate competition for the best deep dish in the city. And the reason this carryout spot in Edgewater is so f*cking good is that George’s use a 48-hour cold-fermented sourdough. It creates a deliciously yeasty crust that’s very similar to focaccia, and has a crispy cornmeal base. There’s a fantastic balance of cheese to sweet tomato sauce, and like a traditional deep dish, the cheese is underneath the sauce. Oh, and George’s has a caramelized edge - not as pronounced as Pequod’s, but wonderful all the same. There are a bunch of varieties (like Clooney’s ER which comes with pepperoni, sausage, meatballs, and bacon) but our favorite is the simple cup and char pepperoni pie. Just be aware that these pizzas are made in very limited quantities, so you might need to order a week in advance to get yours.
Paper Thin Pizza
While George’s Deep Dish can fuel you through an entire Chicago winter, Paper Thin Pizza is on the other end of the spectrum. This pizza is cartoonishly thin - that’s not hyperbole, it’s practically two-dimensional. But the fact that each slice defies the laws of physics is just plain fun, and the pies have a soft, foldable crust that envelopes the toppings in a very satisfying way. Plus, this super-thin crust has char bubbles that taste a little like Extra Toasty Cheez-its, which everyone knows is one of the best snacks on the planet. Right now Paper Thin is operating out of Fox Bar in the West Loop, and you can order the pies for carryout, or for dine-in at the bar.
Naudi’s is a new thin crust spot in Lincoln Park, and the pizza shares some DNA with a Neapolitan pie. It’s cooked in a wood-fired oven, the cheese in the center is almost liquidy, and the slices droop nicely when you pick them up. But the edge of the crust is crunchy like a cracker, which creates an enjoyable contrast with the soft center. The only person working here is the incredibly nice owner, who keeps the menu short and excellent. Each pie has a great balance of sauce and cheese, and is topped with fresh basil. There’s only one size available (18 inches for $20), and only five toppings to choose from (mushrooms, onions, garlic, peppers, and pepperoni). This is the kind of pie that is best eaten right from the oven, so we suggest getting it for dine-in.
Max & Issy's
Max and Issy’s used to be Paddy Long’s, and we were a little skeptical about this bar-turned-pizza spot in Lincoln Park. Would the owners of a former Irish bar actually make decent (let alone great) NYC-style pizza? Turns out, yes. In fact, the pies at Max and Issy’s are delicious. The crust is everything we look for in a New York-style pie, meaning chewy and foldable, with a slightly charred undercarriage. Our favorite pie is the white pizza, with mozzarella, dollops of ricotta, parm, pepper, and enough garlic to make anyone within six feet of you grateful for the new mask mandate. It’s open for indoor dining, and also has a cute little front patio.
Bloom is a vegan, gluten-free restaurant in Wicker Park, and their pizza is listed on the menu as a flatbread. But it’s round, this is our guide, and we’re calling it a pizza. There are two versions here, shroom and a chorizo topped with coconut mozz and sunflower chorizo. But our favorite is the heirloom tomato. It comes with basil, crispy shallots, white bean spread, and tamarind saba. It’s tangy, sweet, and has a chewy cauliflower crust that would have fooled us had we not asked. The space is filled with plants and is bright enough that you won’t worry that said plants aren’t getting enough light. Right now it’s BYOB, and ideal for a casual date night, or a small group dinner with some vegetable-loving friends.
Paulie Gee's Wicker Park
Surprising exactly no one, Paulie Gee’s in Wicker Park makes an excellent New York-style pie. After all, the original Paulie Gee’s is in Brooklyn. And unlike the one in Logan Square, this new location focuses exclusively on New York-style pizza that you can get as a pie or in foldable slices that come on little paper plates. Classics like the pepperoni are great, but so are the more interesting varieties like roasted pork topped with a pineapple habanero salsa and cilantro sauce.
We admit that Pizza Fried Chicken Ice Cream really isn’t that new anymore - it’s over a year old. But it keeps switching things up on us. It started out selling Sicilian-style slices out of a takeout window, with the standout feature of the pizza being the thick crust’s wonderfully golden brown undercarriage - almost like it’s been fried, but not too greasy. Then they switched to a fantastic tavern-style pie with a cracker crust. Now they offer both, and also have a great back patio which is perfect for enjoying your pizza and a cocktail from Maria’s next door.
Milly's Pizza In The Pan
Milly’s is a brand new carryout-only pizza place that takes its inspiration from Burt’s Pizza (FYI, Pequod’s was started by Burt). This means Milly’s has the same kind of pan-style deep dish with a caramelized crust that we all know, love, and make all our visiting friends and families eat. What makes Milly’s different is that this pie has dollops of mozzarella, making it a bit cheesier than its predecessors. There are only a few pies available from Milly’s every day, so order ahead of time.
Five Squared Pizza
This pizza spot is a little more elusive than the others. Five Squared Pizza operates out of a virtual kitchen in The Hatchery Friday through Sunday the menu changes weekly, and you have to order via Instagram. But if you like tasty and interesting Detroit-style pizzas, it’s worth seeking out. Their long menu has fun varieties like cheeseburger (American cheese, caramelized onions, and beef patties) pimento mac (topped with Cheez-it crumbs), and spicy housemade meatball.