Elementary school birthday parties were the best. Whether you were going to Build-A-Bear or Discovery Zone a few things were going to be true. One, goodie bags. Two, cake. Three, some kid was going to make a heartless bear or pee in the ball pit. And 99% of the time there was going to be pizza. A lot of pizza. In truth, you could serve kids pizza in a parking lot and any birthday would be a success.
We like to think of Piece Pizzeria as the spot for adult pizza parties. Piece is always loud and full of people, the pizza is satisfying, and the beer flows like wine. They don't take reservations and there's usually a wait at peak hours, which means Piece is the kind of place you go to for more than just food. You're going to hang out with your friends without worrying about the time, and who cares how long it takes as long as pizza and beer is involved.
In terms of the actual pizza, it occupies a very particular spot in the Chicago pizza debate. That’s because Piece is in its own category with their New Haven style pies. A traditional New Haven pizza means a lot of red sauce with extra olive oil and parmesan, but no mozzarella cheese. We'll repeat that, no mozzarella cheese. Traditional pizzas with mozzarella and tomato sauce are available, but New Haven style is the way to go. No matter the base, you can choose your own toppings, which makes this a great place for personalizing orders and coming to ingredient combinations on which everyone can agree.
The large and simple space at Piece is always full of people talking and laughing, proof that we're all kids who like a big pizza party at heart. Just maybe substitute the goodie bags for a couple of beers.
Looking for an appetizer to share? The spinach dip is pretty solid, and it comes with a bunch of bagel chips courtesy of Brogagel next door.
Starting with a salad always makes you feel better about eating pizza. There are a couple standard options here, all of which are a fine route.
Skip the traditional red sauce pizza with mozzarella cheese and instead stick to the traditional New Haven Style. Barbecue pizza is also available, but to be honest I’d never willingly order a barbecue pizza in my life. You do you if that’s your thing.
This is Piece’s specialty and the base of any pizza you should get. A lot of red sauce, garlic, extra parmesan and olive oil, and no mozzarella cheese. The crust is soft and chewy with some crisp on the outer edges, and overall is really good. The great thing about Piece is you make your own pizzas with extra ingredients costing either $2 or $2.50, so make your pizza as basic or crazy as you want. You don't need us to tell you your favorite pizza toppings.
A tip of the cap to former Hot Doug's owner Doug Sohn. The Hot Doug's Atomic Pizza was once a short-lived special, but now has a permanent place on the Piece menu. It's comes with three-chili pepper pork sausage, pepperjack cheese, and caramelized onions. Beware, the pork is hot, so you've got to be into spicy to enjoy this pizza.
Plain crust with olive oil, garlic, and mozzarella cheese. It’s cool to start mixing in white pizzas if you're with a group and a lot of pizza is in store.