Pizza parlors for kids
A slew of new pizzerias are serving pies in hybrid styles.
FLO & SANTOS
This Polish-sports-bar-meets-pizza-parlor serves classic South Side–style ’za: It’s thin as matzo, cut into squares. Pizzas come with a crackly crust and toothsome, spicy pepperoni, and in general they fare better than the Polish fare. Though, who knows? Even a mediocre potato pancake tastes good if your team is winning. 1310 S Wabash Ave (312-566-9817). El: Red, Orange, Green to Roosevelt. Lunch, dinner. Average pie: $19.
BRICKS ON THE RUN
The merits of take-and-bake pizza will be debated forever, and with good reason: Is picking up a raw pizza and baking it in your own oven any fresher or easier than picking up a pie that’s already been cooked? We honestly can’t decide. But if you’re going to take-and-bake, this is a great place to do it. The house salad is unusually satisfying, the Popeye pie is rife with addictive roasted garlic, and the Painful pie is mercifully not painful in the slightest (though it does have sliced jalapeños, so watch out). The service may be a little lacking, sure. But this is take-and-bake—so you won’t have to deal with it for very long. 1940 N Elston Ave (773-252-2220). Bus: 9, 73. Metra: Union Pacific N, Union Pacific NW to Clybourn. Daily, 3–10pm. Average pizza: $17.
This Logan Square newcomer with an impressive brick pizza oven turns out thin-crust pies with a bit of bubbled edge and toppings of respectable quality. Plenty of Italian wine picks and a decent beer list for grown-ups are among the draws, but the pizza selection isn’t that varied—there are no whites or pesto offered, and most pies offer a similar combination of ingredients. Still, we say welcome to the neighborhood. 2607 N Milwaukee Ave (773-278-7300). El: Blue to Logan Square. Bus: 56, 74. Lunch (Sat, Sun), dinner (closed Mon). Average pizza: $16.
Scott Toth describes the pies that come out of the brick oven at his Roscoe Village pizzeria as “NeapolAmerican.” In reality, the name is the only thing even slightly Neapolitan about it. The pies are neither thin nor thick, hovering in the arena of frozen-pizza crusts, and they are neither distinguishably crisp nor noticeably soft. This results in a pizza that’s just kind of there, which might just be what the kids are after. But if you’re here to eat something of note, try the surprisingly spectacular mini calzones. 1708 W Belmont Ave (773-525-0600). El: Brown to Paulina. Bus: 9, 11, 77. Dinner (closed Mon, Tue). Average pizza: $15.
PAPA RAY’S PIZZA & WINGS
“We don’t mess with sandwiches,” says John Rayyan, who opened this primarily carryout-and-delivery spot with his brother, George. Instead, it’s pie-cut thin pan pizza, chicken wings, rib tips and salad. The pizza is a buttery, thinner take on Pizza Hut’s famed foccacia-like pan-pizza, but less greasy (although more soggy in the center). Expect old-school, pile-it-on style if you order toppings. 2251 W Fullerton Ave (773-661-2113). Bus: 49, 74. Lunch, dinner. Average pizza: $14.