For those fatigued by the endless debates over deep dish versus tavern style, it’s okay to opt out. Chicago’s pizza scene is more vibrant than ever, with an abundance of thin-crust options that did not originate in the Windy City. Civic pride aside, there’s nothing wrong with having a New York slice every once in a while — they’re pretty good! Or try Neapolitan, the original pizza, or Roman, or New Haven, or even Quad Cities- or Pilsen-style, though the latter is limited to one single pizzeria that started on 21st Street. They all come in wedges, which eliminates the debate over which part of tavern-style is best, the corners or the center. An argument avoided is almost as good as an argument won.Read More
Where to Find Thin-Crust Pizza in Chicago
One can’t live on tavern-style and deep-dish alone
Munno Pizzeria & Bistro
A new addition to the Michelin Bin Gourmand list, this Ravenswood neighborhood spot serves Neapolitan-style thin-crust pies with nicely charred and blistered crusts. There’s also handmade pasta, and bombolini for dessert.
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Spacca Napoli Pizzeria
For about a decade, the Ravenswood neighborhood has been lucky to have a true Neapolitan pizza joint that will transport you to Naples with each wood-fired pie. Ingredients are sourced and imported from Italy, and the oven itself is built by Neapolitan artisans.
Jimmy's Pizza Cafe
Once confined to a small space along Lincoln, Jimmy’s Pizza Cafe has moved to larger digs where customers can enjoy New York slices or whole pies comfortably with a glass of beer. Jimmy Kang is devoted to the experience, giving Chicagoans a wide selection of slices in the traditional display case.
With locations in both Dunning and the West Loop neighborhoods, you don’t have to trek the city to find authentic Neopolitan-style pizza. Crusts made from Italian-milled flour are topped with classic ingredients for a real taste of Italy. All pizzas are also available gluten-free.
This Lakeview spot serves East Coast-style pizza with a Neapolitan twist and a rotating assortment of beers on tap. In addition to the delicious wood-fired pizza, Pizzeria Serio also serves some of the best calzones in the city. Check out the char-crusted goodness.
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New York specialist Zaza’s has soared in popularity in Lakeview. The no-flop rule has nothing to do with LeBron James. It refers to the pizzeria’s commitment to making a more contemporary New York slice — forget the oversized monstrosities customers would find at Sbarro and elsewhere. Zaza’s pies are crispier and feature fun toppings. The truffle mushroom is stellar. Also, the vodka pie is worth an order.
This New York import offers all sorts of creative toppings blazed up in a Neapolitan-style oven. The menu offers a variety of vegan and gluten-free styles, which makes it a great place to dine for people with dietary restrictions. A second location in Wicker Park focuses on N.Y.-style slices.
Bungalow by Middle Brow
This Logan Square brewpub has a stellar morning bread program that’s led to thin-crust pies with a west coast approach leaning heavily into seasonality. Beware: Tuesdays are reserved for tavern style, but patrons can enjoy the Neapolitan pies every day.
Gallucci Pizzeria Napoletana
This Old Town space has long served great pizza: the previous tenant, Dinotto’s, made a name for itself for years in the neighborhood. Since Dinotto’s closed in 2019, Gianni Gallucci has picked up the torch. He’s a fixture on the competitive pizza circuit and has a strong adherence to classic Neapolitan pizza. The Terra Mia is a popular choice, while truffle lovers shouldn’t pass on the Tartufata, a white pie with black truffle cream. There are plans to move to North Avenue to a large space.
Piece is a Wicker Park standby and an award-winning brewery. Co-owned by Rick Nielsen of Cheap Trick fame, it specializes in New Haven-style pizza with a dough recipe taken from the legendary Sally’s Apizza. The cheese-free tomato pie is a standout, but don’t forget to try the spicy pizza made with Hot Doug’s Atomic Sausage.
Craft Pizza defies characterization. It’s a hodgepodge of Midwestern and Neapolitan, and the headliner is a margherita that which features whole-milk mozzarella. There are also slices to be had and customers can pick genuine Chicago-style sausage from Anichini Brothers.
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This Humboldt Park virtual restaurant (which will soon announce a move) is kind of a pizza lab for Anthony Scardino, a competitive pizza maker. Scardino, or Professor Pizza, has love for a variety of styles. His grandma square-cut pies are worth noting. Big golden edges that are perfectly baked and topped lovingly.
Roots Handmade Pizza
This is how pizza is done in the Quad Cities: with a malted crust, baked crispy and then cut with a large pair of kitchen shears into shareable strips. For the most authentic experience, order the taco pizza, covered with crushed Doritos. There are locations in Printer’s Row, Lincoln Square, West Town, and Old Town.
With locations in Lincoln Park and River North, Moti Cafe has shifted it’s operations from an Indian-style snack shop, to thin-crust pies featuring toppings including smashed samosas, chicken tikka, and vada pav. The pizza is kind of a hybrid of pan and tavern (the pie is square cut). This isn’t glorified naan with toppings: This is real-deal pizza with a subcontinental twist.
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Pistores Pizza & Pastry
A veteran pastry chef who’s worked at Michelin-starred restaurants has returned to Chicago with his wife, another accomplished pastry chef, to open a pizza cafe in River North. Pistores offers square-cut Detroit-style pies, but also a round thin crust that’s not as crispy as tavern style and topped with gourmet ingredients. The produce on these pies might be the most premium in Chicago, carefully selected with a promise of a rapidly changing menu.
In West Town, you can get coal-forged thin-crust pizza that emerges from the 800-degree oven perfectly charred and bubbly. Why have it any other way? You can choose from 12 specialty pizzas or build your own and create your own new favorite. Check out the Lakeview location as well.
Robert's Pizza and Dough Company
Robert’s boasts that it serves triangles, not squares, a nod to founder Robert Garvey’s New York roots. Regional shade aside, Robert’s specializes in a fermented dough that bakes up to an airy crust that’s both crisp and bread-like. Toppings range from the traditional — pepperoni, sausage — to the gourmet — duck prosciutto.
Forget the debate over triangles and squares: try pizza by the inch, which is how it’s served at Bonci, a Roman import that opened its first U.S. location in the West Loop. Customers choose their pizza from an ever-changing lineup and tell employees how much they want. This system gives patrons a chance to try everything. Bonci is also available in Old Town and Lincoln Park at the food courts inside Dom’s Kitchen & Market.
Bob’s (not to be confused with Robert’s) boasts that it’s the only institution in Chicago that serves “Pilsen-style” pizza. This means pies with foldable slices that are still somehow crispy when you bite into them. Choose from seven speciality pizzas or design your own. There are also locations in Old Town, Evanston, and soon to be in Hyde Park.
Stix n Brix Wood Fired Pizza
A short distance from Sox Park, Stix n Brix focuses on wood-fired Neapolitan-style pies. Dig into a South Side-inspired specialty: the beef n giardiniera pie, topped with sliced Italian beef and hot peppers.
Nella Pizza e Pasta
Nella Grassano, the chef behind Nella Pizza e Pasta, grew up in Naples and worked at lauded North Side pizzeria Spacca Napoli before opening her own spot, which subsequently earned a spot on the Michelin Bib Gourmand list. Her pies offer a wondrous chew and char. The menu is fairly traditional; the ortolana (mozzarella, eggplant, zucchini, bell peppers, mushrooms, red sauce, basil) is a standout. There are also Neapolitan breakfast pizzas.
Open Outcry Brewing Company
In Morgan Park, Open Outcry is a family-friendly brewpub with a few outdoor seating options. The kitchen has a wood-fire oven where the Neapolitan-inspired thin crusts are baked. These are unconventional pies, with selections like a mac & cheese with smoked gouda sauce. The Chi Town comes with braised beef, fries, and giardiniera.