West Of Chicago Pizza Company has the Midwestern scene down to a science. With ramekins pumped full of liquid neon-orange cheese, red plastic tumblers for fountain soda, and Italian beef-scented air circulating throughout the dining room, it might take a second for you to realize that you’re in Seattle, and not some Portillo’s in Elgin.
The food at this West Seattle spots not only lives up to the warm suburban Chicago energy, but it makes for a versatile dinner any day of the week, whether you're with your entire group of friends or on a casual date with someone who loves pizza just as much as you do.
Even if you’re not a homesick Chicagoan, you’ll still appreciate the great pizza here. The deep dish crust has a nice cornmeal chew, mozzarella that stretches for days, and sweet crushed tomatoes, but the star of the show is the tavern pie. Its cracker-thin crust has an earth-shattering crunch that gives way to oregano-flecked sauce, and additions like crispy-edged pepperoni cups and creamy dollops of ricotta are prominent without weighing down the dough. Always start with some of the terrific appetizers, like broiled crocks of Mama Lil’s-spiked sausage dip or doughy breadsticks dusted in parmesan.
There are plenty of Chicago-style pizza spots in town, the best of them being Windy City Pie. But when you just need some deep dish or a tavern-style pie that has the power to transport you to Illinois without having to step foot in O’Hare, West Of Chicago expertly fills that niche. It doesn't hurt that they have pitchers of Goose Island beer everywhere, friendly servers who won’t rush you even though there’s a line out the door, and a constant flow of happy people eating sport peppers and ranch-dunked crust. The only thing missing is a windchill below zero.
Yes, we’d come here solely for these parmesan-covered breadsticks. They’re puffy, doughy, and perfect vehicles for just about anything from cheese sauce and ranch to big swipes of spinach artichoke dip.
Mama Lil's Sausage Dip
This broiled crock of creamy dip is studded with sausage bits, chopped Mama Lil’s peppers for heat, and served with crispy Tim’s chips for dunking. It’s mandatory to get at least one for the table, even if it’ll kind of ruin your appetite for pizza.
Between the cracker-thin crust, sweet tomato sauce with oregano, ideal layer of bubbly cheese, and toppings like custardy ricotta dollops and charred pepperoni cups (our two favorites), the grid-cut tavern pie is the pizza to beat here.
Similar to Lou Malnati’s or Giordano’s, West Of Chicago’s deep dish has a dense, sandy cornmeal crust, blankets of mozzarella, and a very well-seasoned chunky crushed tomato sauce. Order yours with three different types of cured meats, or mushrooms and spinach if you'd like to eat a couple of vegetables.
It pains us to say this, but you can skip the Italian beef. The meat is bland, and even if you order yours “wet,” the whole thing is somehow still pretty dry. Our advice is to just order the combination of sliced steak and giardiniera as a pizza topping if you really want some Itailan beef energy. Beware that the giardiniera packs some serious heat.