In a town that's practically built its reputation on deep-dish, it's no surprise that several local spots are itching to toss a new kind of pie. Pizza with pineapple? Jalapeno peppers? Ham? That's baby talk. These pizzerias bypass the traditional toppings in favor of fulfilling our wildest fantasies…from pickles to chocolate to mascarpone cheese. Just don't tell the Italians.
Bucktown's live karaoke and pizza spot is known for its home-brewed beer and garlicky New Haven-style pizza, but one of its lesser-known menu items takes the cake…namely because it tastes like one. Piece's chocolate dessert pizza, a 12-inch crust covered in a layer of Nutella hazelnut-chocolate coating, topped with mascarpone dollops and drizzled with chocolate sauce is just sweet enough to save you from taking an extra trip to Margie's after a birthday meal. Pair it with a crisp pint of Golden Arm and your taste buds will thank.
Despite its cramped indoor set-up and paper plates-only tableware, Pizza Metro keeps the Division-bound crowds coming. Modeling its menu after a traditional Roman pizzeria, Pizza Metro makes a mean (and hard to find stateside) potato and rosemary pie; the crust comes topped with sliced and seasoned potatoes, mozzarella, fresh rosemary garnish, a touch of tomato sauce and a hint of garlic. Available by the slice, half-sheet or full pie, this one doesn't come cheap—a pie costs about $20—but those who have tasted the real thing in Rome gladly shell out the cash, especially at 4 a.m. on a Saturday night.
Home Run Inn
By now a nationally known brand you've likely seen in the Dominick's freezer, the 50-year-old-plus establishment still serves its pies fresh at four local restaurants, including its original location at 4254 W. 31st Street. Thick, almost opaque cheesy coating lays a fine base for any meat or veggie, but the beholden Cheeseburger Pizza takes Home Run's pie to another level. The two-meals-in-one comes laden with ground beef, onions, a blend of American and mozzarella cheese, pickles and onions. And yes, you can get fries on the side.
With 14 locations around the city, it's not hard to find a Giordano's, or a pizza to suit your palate once you do. While most pizza fans don't think about marrying seafood and dairy on top of a crust, you'll be happy Giordano's did after sampling the shrimp-stuffed cheese pizza. Seafood fans, take note: The shrimp isn't fresh (it's frozen), but aside from anchovies, it's your only oceanic option at Giordano's. Chopped and placed under a layer of cheese, the shrimp cook along with the pizza, resulting in a gooey, densely-packed pie.
Nothing says Chicago like a slight salty, very cheesy, mile-high pie; Nancy's Pizza would likely agree. The restaurant claims to have introduced the city to stuffed pizza. Whether or not that's true, it did make some major culinary advancements. Its Original Buffalo Wing Pizza comes topped with chunks of buffalo wing sauce-marinated chicken, hot sauce (some locations use tomato pizza sauce), cheese and a sprinkle of finely chopped celery. It comes with a side of blue cheese for dipping. Some outposts of the local establishment offer variations of a Mexican-meets-Italian pie called the Taco Pizza. Nancy's on Elston tops this creation with marinara sauce, ground beef, lettuce, cheddar cheese and chopped tomatoes while its Elmhurst location veers towards refried beans and cheddar. You can count on a bowl of sour cream on the side.