clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile
A person slicing a pizza with a large blade.
Tavern-style pizza is unique to Chicago.
Garrett Sweet/Eater Chicago

Chicago’s Essential Tavern-Style Thin-Crust Pizza Restaurants

The best of the city’s square- and triangle-cut pies

View as Map
Tavern-style pizza is unique to Chicago.
| Garrett Sweet/Eater Chicago

Tourists come to Chicago for pizza that defines the city. With fork and knife in hand, they cut and slice their way through deep dish pies. But unbeknownst to them, they’re eating a lie.

Chicagoans know the truth. Deep dish was invented around 1943, while tavern-style has been around much longer. It features cracker-thin crust that's usually square-cut and often loaded with fennel-heavy sausage. Unlike New York-style pizza, Chicago’s thin crust is crispy and cannot be folded. This is because dough is rolled, not tossed, and cooked much longer to ensure that crunch. And while most pizzerias outside the Midwest cut their slices into triangles, Chicago-style is "tavern cut" into various-sized squares for sharing and meant to be enjoyed alongside cheap beer.

For a look at deep-dish pizzerias, check out this map.

As of August 20, the city has mandated that everyone wear facial coverings while indoors. For updated information on coronavirus cases, please visit the city of Chicago’s COVID-19 dashboard. Health experts consider dining out to be a high-risk activity for the unvaccinated; the latest data about the delta variant indicates that it may pose a low-to-moderate risk for the vaccinated, especially in areas with substantial transmission. The latest CDC guidance is here; find a COVID-19 vaccination site here.

Read More
Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

Barnaby's

Copy Link

What was once a prominent local chain has been whittled down to a just a few locations in the suburbs. That hasn’t stopped this Northbrook outpost, though, from cranking out superb tavern-style pizzas. The crisp, cornmeal-dusted crust provides the foundation for a right amount of cheese, tangy sauce, and toppings like housemade sausage.

Candlelite

Copy Link

It’s hard to miss the gigantic neon arrow pointing folks in the direction of Candlelite. West Rogers Park is home to great cracker-thin-crust pizzas boasting ingredients such as Italian beef, shrimp, and barbecue chicken. On Tuesdays, those who dine in can get two pies for the price of one. There’s now a location inside Time Out Market food hall in Fulton Market.

Dino's Italian Pizza & Italian Restaurant

Copy Link

The Northwest Side sometimes gets overlooked, but its love for tavern-style pizza is as strong as any part of town thanks to the large Italian immigrant population along Harlem Avenue. Dino’s is a family-owned joint with a dive bar. The owners don’t even know the term “tavern-style pizza” — they just needed a way to keep the bar’s customers. The restaurant has expanded with fresh ingredients, crispy crusts, and an adherence to tradition. 

Marie's Pizza & Liquors

Copy Link

Family-owned and operated since 1940, Marie’s is for pizza junkies seeking a vintage Chicago experience. The restaurant is attached to a liquor store so customers can purchase alcohol and have them brought to the table along with their ultra thin crust pizzas.

A sausage, giardiniera, pepperoni, and pineapple tavern-style pizza.
Marie’s is an old school pizza institution.
Jeffy Mai/Eater Chicago

Michael's Original Pizzeria & Tavern

Copy Link

Head to Uptown for cold beer and flaky and buttery crusts topped with a thick layer of ingredients. Michael’s is a sports bar that does Chicago-style pizza the way it was meant to be done. If guests prefer to hold the tomato sauce, an extra thin white pie finished with garlic, olive oil, mozzarella, provolone, and parmesan is the ideal alternative.

A tavern-style pizza.
Michael’s makes delicious pies on the North Side.
Michael’s Pizzeria [Official Photo]

La Villa

Copy Link

Exuding Old World charm, this family-run establishment has been a steady presence on the Northwest Side for decades. Owner Salvatore Canale makes everything from scatch, and his top notch thin crusts sport a second layer of cheese over the toppings. Selections include the La Villa Special (sausage, pepperoni, green pepper, mushroom, green olives, onion), Veggie Alfredo, and Southwestern (barbecue sauce, chicken, bacon).

Pat's Pizzeria & Ristorante

Copy Link

The self-proclaimed “No. 1 thin crust pizza” in Chicago has legions of fans who agree. The cracker-like crust is impossibly thin and a perfect base for hunks of house-made sausage. Pat’s is a family owned, and is very consistent.

Chicago-style pizza with thin crust.
Pat’s Pizza is top notch.
Garrett Sweet/Eater Chicago

Crust Fund Pizza

Copy Link

Crust Fund Pizza isn’t just about cool logos that may have been inspired by “Cuphead,” the impossibly challenging video game. It’s not even a restaurant. It’s a force for good from John Carruthers, an obsessive home cook with connections to the restaurant scene thanks to his day job as marketing hype man for Revolution Brewing. Carruthers has worked hard to perfect his thin-crust pies, which go up for the taking on Instagram on a regular basis on a very limited run. Carruthers asks customers to donate money to a not-for-profit group (the selection changes weekly). It’s a clever way to raise funds while celebrating some of the best pizza in town. There’s frequent collaborations with characters like food writer and pizza chef Dennis Lee and just good Chicago vibes while picking up a pie from a back alley on North Side. This is a mighty pop-up that embraces what it means to be a Chicagoan.

A pizza box filled with ambrosia.
Crust Fund Pizza is special.
Crust Fund Pizza/John Carruthers

Aurelio's Pizza

Copy Link

Started in suburban Homewood, Aurelio’s has been mastering thin crust pizza for more than 60 years. It’s one of the oldest franchises in the Chicagoland area and has expanded to multiple states.

Pizza Fried Chicken Ice Cream

Copy Link

Pizza Fried Chicken Ice Cream is a force in Bridgeport, a sibling to the Marz family empire of Kimski and Maria’s Community Bar. It’s a pizza incubator for a merry band of misfits who called themselves Eat Free Pizza. They roll out a variety of styles, but their tavern style is special. Crispy, with a sauce that’s not too sweet, and sausage from Makowski Real Sausage. PFIC has injected some electricity into the tavern-style pizza scene. 

Phil's Pizza

Copy Link

Just a few blocks away from Guaranteed Rate Field is this cash-only, counter-service pizzeria. Cubs and Sox fans might have their differences on the diamond but even they can both agree that the renowned thin crust pie (get it with sausage) here is an all-star.

Villa Nova

Copy Link

Another contender for the thin crust crown, Villa Nova is a no-frills spot that deserves to be mentioned among the South Side’s greats. It’s worth a trip out to suburban Stickney to enjoy the square-cut pizzas topped with juicy house sausage, gooey mozzarella, and other add-ons like Italian beef and chicken.

Pizza Castle

Copy Link

Tucked away in a Gage Park strip mall, this pizzeria has been drawing in patrons for more than 40 years with light, crispy, cracker-thin pies. Owner Rich Jensen makes the dough and fennel sausage fresh and bakes them in a Faulds rotary oven.

Obbie's Pizza

Copy Link

Garfield Ridge residents know and love this quaint carry-out joint. The neighborhood favorite has received accolades (including an appearance on The Good Wife) for one of the best thin crust pizzas the South Side has to offer. They’re sauced all the way to the edges, giving each bite a nice balance, and cooked in a 1947 Middleby Marshall oven.

Several thin crust pizzas.
There are no tables at Obbie’s so diners must take their tasty pizzas to go.
Obbie’s [Official Photo]

Palermo's of 63rd

Copy Link

This treasured Italian restaurant (unaffiliated with the one in Oak Lawn) has been satisfying customers for nearly six decades. The quality thin crust pies, served in an old-school dining room, feature a distinctive sweet tomato sauce that sets it apart from the competition.

Italian Fiesta

Copy Link

Opened in the late ‘40s, Italian Fiesta is a popular South Side staple with five locations. The pizza is also a favorite of President Obama and was served at his 2009 inauguration. It’s carryout-only and customers should expect to wait at least 45 minutes, but the reward is a solid thin crust pie with a buttery crust, lots of topping choices, and a hefty amount of oregano.

Vito & Nick's

Copy Link

The Eater 38 institution has long been praised as the king of tavern-style pizza. In a town where deep dish gets all the buzz, Vito & Nick’s still manages to garner national recognition for its thin, crunchy crusts, topped with everything from fennel sausage and ground beef to shrimp and anchovies. It’s a must-visit not just for pizza lovers, but every Chicagoan. Make sure to bring cash and order a pint of Old Style.

Sausage and giardiniera thin crust pizza.
Legendary Vito & Nick’s is considered by many to be the best pizzeria in Chicago.
Vito & Nick’s [Official Photo]

Barraco's Pizza

Copy Link

With seven restaurants spread across the Southwest Side, Barraco’s is the pizza specialist favored by many suburbanites. Try the Nicky’s Special for an extra thin crust pie served crispy and well done. In addition, the original Evergreen Park location is open 24 hours so diners can satisfy their cravings anytime.

Rosangela's Pizza

Copy Link

Travel across city lines to the suburb of Evergreen Park for terrific pies loaded with tangy sweet sauce and fresh toppings. The crispy crusts are very thin but sturdy enough to stand up to the layers of melted cheese, sausage, mushrooms, green peppers, and more.

Milano's Pizza

Copy Link

Reliable and unassuming Milano’s is where Morgan Park locals look to for some stellar thin crust. The pizzeria celebrated 35 years of operation in 2019 and its pies are notable for using imported mozzarella and a secret family sauce.

Barnaby's

What was once a prominent local chain has been whittled down to a just a few locations in the suburbs. That hasn’t stopped this Northbrook outpost, though, from cranking out superb tavern-style pizzas. The crisp, cornmeal-dusted crust provides the foundation for a right amount of cheese, tangy sauce, and toppings like housemade sausage.

Candlelite

It’s hard to miss the gigantic neon arrow pointing folks in the direction of Candlelite. West Rogers Park is home to great cracker-thin-crust pizzas boasting ingredients such as Italian beef, shrimp, and barbecue chicken. On Tuesdays, those who dine in can get two pies for the price of one. There’s now a location inside Time Out Market food hall in Fulton Market.

Dino's Italian Pizza & Italian Restaurant

The Northwest Side sometimes gets overlooked, but its love for tavern-style pizza is as strong as any part of town thanks to the large Italian immigrant population along Harlem Avenue. Dino’s is a family-owned joint with a dive bar. The owners don’t even know the term “tavern-style pizza” — they just needed a way to keep the bar’s customers. The restaurant has expanded with fresh ingredients, crispy crusts, and an adherence to tradition. 

Marie's Pizza & Liquors

A sausage, giardiniera, pepperoni, and pineapple tavern-style pizza.
Marie’s is an old school pizza institution.
Jeffy Mai/Eater Chicago

Family-owned and operated since 1940, Marie’s is for pizza junkies seeking a vintage Chicago experience. The restaurant is attached to a liquor store so customers can purchase alcohol and have them brought to the table along with their ultra thin crust pizzas.

A sausage, giardiniera, pepperoni, and pineapple tavern-style pizza.
Marie’s is an old school pizza institution.
Jeffy Mai/Eater Chicago

Michael's Original Pizzeria & Tavern

A tavern-style pizza.
Michael’s makes delicious pies on the North Side.
Michael’s Pizzeria [Official Photo]

Head to Uptown for cold beer and flaky and buttery crusts topped with a thick layer of ingredients. Michael’s is a sports bar that does Chicago-style pizza the way it was meant to be done. If guests prefer to hold the tomato sauce, an extra thin white pie finished with garlic, olive oil, mozzarella, provolone, and parmesan is the ideal alternative.

A tavern-style pizza.
Michael’s makes delicious pies on the North Side.
Michael’s Pizzeria [Official Photo]

La Villa

Exuding Old World charm, this family-run establishment has been a steady presence on the Northwest Side for decades. Owner Salvatore Canale makes everything from scatch, and his top notch thin crusts sport a second layer of cheese over the toppings. Selections include the La Villa Special (sausage, pepperoni, green pepper, mushroom, green olives, onion), Veggie Alfredo, and Southwestern (barbecue sauce, chicken, bacon).

Pat's Pizzeria & Ristorante

Chicago-style pizza with thin crust.
Pat’s Pizza is top notch.
Garrett Sweet/Eater Chicago

The self-proclaimed “No. 1 thin crust pizza” in Chicago has legions of fans who agree. The cracker-like crust is impossibly thin and a perfect base for hunks of house-made sausage. Pat’s is a family owned, and is very consistent.

Chicago-style pizza with thin crust.
Pat’s Pizza is top notch.
Garrett Sweet/Eater Chicago

Crust Fund Pizza

A pizza box filled with ambrosia.
Crust Fund Pizza is special.
Crust Fund Pizza/John Carruthers

Crust Fund Pizza isn’t just about cool logos that may have been inspired by “Cuphead,” the impossibly challenging video game. It’s not even a restaurant. It’s a force for good from John Carruthers, an obsessive home cook with connections to the restaurant scene thanks to his day job as marketing hype man for Revolution Brewing. Carruthers has worked hard to perfect his thin-crust pies, which go up for the taking on Instagram on a regular basis on a very limited run. Carruthers asks customers to donate money to a not-for-profit group (the selection changes weekly). It’s a clever way to raise funds while celebrating some of the best pizza in town. There’s frequent collaborations with characters like food writer and pizza chef Dennis Lee and just good Chicago vibes while picking up a pie from a back alley on North Side. This is a mighty pop-up that embraces what it means to be a Chicagoan.

A pizza box filled with ambrosia.
Crust Fund Pizza is special.
Crust Fund Pizza/John Carruthers

Aurelio's Pizza

Started in suburban Homewood, Aurelio’s has been mastering thin crust pizza for more than 60 years. It’s one of the oldest franchises in the Chicagoland area and has expanded to multiple states.

Pizza Fried Chicken Ice Cream

Pizza Fried Chicken Ice Cream is a force in Bridgeport, a sibling to the Marz family empire of Kimski and Maria’s Community Bar. It’s a pizza incubator for a merry band of misfits who called themselves Eat Free Pizza. They roll out a variety of styles, but their tavern style is special. Crispy, with a sauce that’s not too sweet, and sausage from Makowski Real Sausage. PFIC has injected some electricity into the tavern-style pizza scene. 

Phil's Pizza

Just a few blocks away from Guaranteed Rate Field is this cash-only, counter-service pizzeria. Cubs and Sox fans might have their differences on the diamond but even they can both agree that the renowned thin crust pie (get it with sausage) here is an all-star.

Villa Nova

Another contender for the thin crust crown, Villa Nova is a no-frills spot that deserves to be mentioned among the South Side’s greats. It’s worth a trip out to suburban Stickney to enjoy the square-cut pizzas topped with juicy house sausage, gooey mozzarella, and other add-ons like Italian beef and chicken.

Pizza Castle

Tucked away in a Gage Park strip mall, this pizzeria has been drawing in patrons for more than 40 years with light, crispy, cracker-thin pies. Owner Rich Jensen makes the dough and fennel sausage fresh and bakes them in a Faulds rotary oven.

Obbie's Pizza

Several thin crust pizzas.
There are no tables at Obbie’s so diners must take their tasty pizzas to go.
Obbie’s [Official Photo]

Garfield Ridge residents know and love this quaint carry-out joint. The neighborhood favorite has received accolades (including an appearance on The Good Wife) for one of the best thin crust pizzas the South Side has to offer. They’re sauced all the way to the edges, giving each bite a nice balance, and cooked in a 1947 Middleby Marshall oven.

Several thin crust pizzas.
There are no tables at Obbie’s so diners must take their tasty pizzas to go.
Obbie’s [Official Photo]

Palermo's of 63rd

This treasured Italian restaurant (unaffiliated with the one in Oak Lawn) has been satisfying customers for nearly six decades. The quality thin crust pies, served in an old-school dining room, feature a distinctive sweet tomato sauce that sets it apart from the competition.

Related Maps

Italian Fiesta

Opened in the late ‘40s, Italian Fiesta is a popular South Side staple with five locations. The pizza is also a favorite of President Obama and was served at his 2009 inauguration. It’s carryout-only and customers should expect to wait at least 45 minutes, but the reward is a solid thin crust pie with a buttery crust, lots of topping choices, and a hefty amount of oregano.

Vito & Nick's

Sausage and giardiniera thin crust pizza.
Legendary Vito & Nick’s is considered by many to be the best pizzeria in Chicago.
Vito & Nick’s [Official Photo]

The Eater 38 institution has long been praised as the king of tavern-style pizza. In a town where deep dish gets all the buzz, Vito & Nick’s still manages to garner national recognition for its thin, crunchy crusts, topped with everything from fennel sausage and ground beef to shrimp and anchovies. It’s a must-visit not just for pizza lovers, but every Chicagoan. Make sure to bring cash and order a pint of Old Style.

Sausage and giardiniera thin crust pizza.
Legendary Vito & Nick’s is considered by many to be the best pizzeria in Chicago.
Vito & Nick’s [Official Photo]

Barraco's Pizza

With seven restaurants spread across the Southwest Side, Barraco’s is the pizza specialist favored by many suburbanites. Try the Nicky’s Special for an extra thin crust pie served crispy and well done. In addition, the original Evergreen Park location is open 24 hours so diners can satisfy their cravings anytime.

Rosangela's Pizza

Travel across city lines to the suburb of Evergreen Park for terrific pies loaded with tangy sweet sauce and fresh toppings. The crispy crusts are very thin but sturdy enough to stand up to the layers of melted cheese, sausage, mushrooms, green peppers, and more.

Milano's Pizza

Reliable and unassuming Milano’s is where Morgan Park locals look to for some stellar thin crust. The pizzeria celebrated 35 years of operation in 2019 and its pies are notable for using imported mozzarella and a secret family sauce.

Related Maps