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Sandy Noto

Jimmy’s Pizza Cafe

Written by
Sandy Noto

Besides hostile winters, the 1990s Bulls, and elections where dead people vote, Chicago is famous for deep dish pizza. We like it, and we’re really f*cking good at making it. But spend any time here, and it’s obvious that Chicago is actually pretty open-minded on the pizza front. This city welcomes any style, as long as it’s delicious. So we’re not ashamed to say that we’re big fans of the fantastic New York-style pizza at Jimmy’s Pizza Cafe.

if you’ve ever been to a New York slice shop, this Lincoln Square spot will feel familiar. It’s a casual counter-service place, with a bunch of big, thin-crust pies on display. You pick a slice, it gets warmed up, and they hand it to you on a little paper plate. And the piece of pizza on that plate isn’t just “good for Chicago.” It’s objectively excellent.

Sandy Noto

You’ll find some consistently available options - like cheese, pepperoni (a.k.a. little cups of greasy goodness), and a white pizza topped with blobs of ricotta. But they have rotating specials, too. For example, a fantastic bacon, date, and walnut pizza, or one with goat cheese and arugula. Each large, foldable slice has the perfect balance of high-quality toppings on top of a chewy and delicious crust - plus (when appropriate) just the right amount of grease. There are even little packets of pepper flakes, oregano, and parmesan cheese for you to use. All in all, it’s enough to make any New York transplant happy - or at least less homesick.

Jimmy’s also has some non-pizza things on the menu, like garlic knots and a few salads. These are fine, and worth ordering if you want to round out the meal, or appease any salad-ordering buzzkills. You can also order full-sized pies for delivery or carry-out, but the whole specialty ones are pretty expensive. So our favorite way to eat the pizza here is by the slice, just as nature (and New Yorkers) intended.

If you ask a New Yorker about the Chicago pizza scene, there’s a good chance you’ll get a passionate (as well as obviously ignorant and factually incorrect) speech on the horrors of deep dish. But when you don’t feel like trying to convince them, just send them to Jimmy’s. It’s a spot that everyone can agree on, no matter what kind of pizza they’ve been taught to believe in.

Food Rundown

Sandy Noto
Cheese Pizza

This is a fantastic slice of cheese pizza. It’s very simple - just mozzarella and a flavorful tomato sauce. But there’s the perfect amount of both. Don’t be afraid to use the packets of cheese, oregano, and red pepper flakes to doctor it up.

Sandy Noto
Jimmy’s Signature White Pizza

Like the cheese slice, this is simple and delicious. It has mozzarella and a white garlic sauce, plus a big blob of ricotta. It’s a mild-tasting slice, so you really get the flavor of the crust.

Sandy Noto
Pepperoni Pizza

The pepperoni pieces here are small and add just the right amount of grease. This is a perfect piece of thin-crust pepperoni pizza.

Sandy Noto
Sausage Pizza

The decision between sausage and pepperoni should be based purely on which meat is your favorite, since both are very good.

Sandy Noto
Quattro Funghi Truffle

Unless you’re a huge mushroom fan, skip this. The pile of portobello, button, cremini, and oyster mushrooms (plus truffle oil) overtakes the crust, and you have better options.

BDW Pizza

This is our favorite specialty pizza. BDW stands for bacon, date, and walnut, and this pie also has mozzarella, gorgonzola, and hot honey. It’s a perfect balance of sweet and savory, and if they have it, you should get a slice.

Sandy Noto
Jimmy’s Garlic Knots

The garlic knots (topped with parmesan and served with marinara on the side) are tasty. Go ahead and get a few.

Sandy Noto

This is the signature dessert at Jimmy’s, but we’re not big fans. The beignets are dry and tough. Get an extra slice of pizza for dessert instead.

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