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Jul 5, 2006 05:10 PM

What is meant by New York pizza....and does it exist in Chicago as I recall it?

I read the year-old post about NY pizza in Chicago. The qualities ascribed were very thin crust, foldable, cut in pie slices.

My associations with the NY style -- ok, from a good few years back -- include those qualities plus a couple others: for one, extremely stringly mozzarella, the kind that you almost have to cut with a sissors. But more important, slices that were sometimes drip-on-your-shirt oily, as the pies often had olive oil poured over the top, maybe to accelerate cooking. (I especially recall this from a place in Norwalk, Conn.) The olive oil gave the pizza a quite distinct taste.

Does this resonate with any identifiable Chicago pizza?


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  1. My understanding is it's all in the crust. Chicago is famous for it deep dish (lou Malnatis, giordanos, art of pizza) and, for the most part, is what defines chicago style. chicago also has a huge thin following but it tends to be be really thin and flaky or crisp (pat's, d'agostinos, rosatis) and typically cut into squares. New york can be classified as more towards thin (not very thin) and more chewy. Those pies also tend to be cut into pie cut (triangular and equal sized). Good examples of new york style are Piece and Bubamara Pizza.

    11 Replies
    1. re: gnoju

      "Good examples of new york style are Piece and Bubamara Pizza."

      The pizza at Piece is an overt homage to the coal-fired stylings of Frank Pepe et al. in New Haven, CN. ['Cept they burn gas.] It is not at all a New York-style pie.

      With toppings like crab meat, corn, peaches, and cherry tomatoes, I believe that Bubamara, too, aspires to be something other than what the OP is after.

      For New York-style pizza, I would encourage the OP to try the following:

      Apart Pizza Company
      2205 W. Montrose

      Cafe Luigi
      2548 N. Clark

      Santullo's Eatery
      1943 W. North Ave.

      Gigio's Pizzeria
      4643 N. Broadway


      1. re: gnoju

        "Chicago is famous for it deep dish (lou Malnatis, giordanos, art of pizza) and, for the most part, is what defines chicago style."

        There are two styles of Chicago pizza. Stuffed pizza (with a double crust) is turned out by Giordano's, Edwardo's, Carmen's, etc. "Deep dish" refers to the single-crust pizza from Lou Malnati's, Gino's East, Uno's. (And IMHO either one is way better than any thin crust pizza I've ever had, including New York's finest.)

        1. re: nsxtasy

          actually, there are 3 indigenous Chicago styles: deep dish, stuffed, and cracker crust

          ...often distinguished by a "short" pastry dough

          of course when people refer to Chicago pizza they nearly always mean deep dish

          elsewhere in this thread cracker crust(or, "thin crust") appears to be confused with NY-style...the two are quite different

          1. re: aelph

            I've lived here for many years and I've never heard of "cracker crust" Chicago-style pizza. (I'm not doubting that it exists, only noting that it's not very well known.)

            What's an example of a place that serves this style?

            1. re: nsxtasy

              There used to be pizza joint on Western Ave. just south of Howard called "Welcome Inn" that servrd the thin crispy "cracker" style crust.
              I'm not sure if they're still around though.

              1. re: nsxtasy

                Check out LTHforum. There've been exhaustive rundowns of Chicago cracker crust.

                1. re: aelph

                  Thanks. A quick search there finds a link to an article by Sun-Times food critic Pat Bruno at where he identifies five different styles of pizza in Chicago, none of which are "cracker crust", and his favorite place to get each: stuffed (Giordano's), Neopolitan (Spacca Napoli), deep dish (Uno's), New York (Cafe Luigi), and Italian bakery (D'Amato's). So one could count lots more than only three styles. ;


                  One of the topics on LTH mentions typical "cracker crust" places as Barnaby's and Vito & Nick's.

                  1. re: nsxtasy

                    Well, if Pat Bruno sez it's so... ;)

                    'course, NY-style and "bakery" nee' Sicilian pizzas aren't Chicagoan

                    the triumvirate remains deep dish, stuffed, and quotations-implied...cracker crust

                    1. re: aelph

                      No need for quotions on cracker crust. I grew up/still live in Chicago proper and I knew what you were talking about. It's hard to describe. It's crunchy but pliable. Not really dense at all. I always think of Calo's pizza on the northside as cracker-ish, It's funny - growing up we never really got the whole Chicago stuffed pizza/deep dish. I mean, we ate it for sure but we normally ordered thin crust. When I went to school in Iowa, that's what I craved. A nice crispy crust with light cheese and mushrooms. Not the doughy thin crust style. Sometimes I think the whole "Chicago style" pizza is a more of tourist thing - like the superfans. It's a Chicago thing but it's not the only kind. But with pizza - to each their own.

                      1. re: lbs

                        ...and here I thought cracker crust was well known :)

                        I'm a NY-style person all the way(haven't found anything to satiate the craving in Chicago)...I've tried the alternative pizzerias, for sure...none reproduce it quite right. Funnily enough, Houston's where I developed my taste for NY-style; growing up there were a plethora of places that served it(and you'd never find square cut...this's pre-Domino's which...ick tho' it might where I first encountered such a pizza in Ohio) such that when I eventually had the "real NYC deal" it wasn't quite the revelation I'd always imagined...they *used* to do it right in Houston(circa 70's/80's)...doesn't seem that way so much anymore(pizza-wise).


                        it's taken me the better part of a decade to develop the taste for Chicago deep dish(not so much the stuffed) and square cut thin crust

                        I can definitely say I prefer so n so over whomever now that I've lived with the style and tried the usual suspects time and again. It'll never be a favorite style. I really don't lke the pastry/butter crust...

                        ...tho' it can hit the spot once in a blue moon.

                        ...and I totally agree that it might be perceived as *somewhat*(try Giordano's downtown on a weekend!) of a tourist thing...

                        1. re: lbs

                          It may be a Chicago thing too, but the cracker crust is actually a huge deal in St. Louis. Most of the pizza parlors in St. Louis (Imo's and Cecil Whitaker's being the 2 largest producers) deal in cracker type crusts. My pizza ramblings in Chicago have only just begun these first 5 years here, but I still haven't found any good cracker crust pizzas in this place and that's what I grew up with back home. (That and a good baseball team, of course)

          2. Hello Skip,
            I too am a big fan of NY Pizza, I have search a lot of places in the city and the best that I have found is a place up north on Touhy called Eastern Stlye Pizza. Their number is 773.761.4070

            1. Gigio's in Evanston on Davis street (the nicer location)or the Gigio's in Uptown on Broadway are as close to NY style Pizza as you can get here. They sell the 'za by the slice or whole, great stuff!

              1. I don't know if Apart Pizza is *exactly* NY style, but it is freaking delicious. I cannot stand too much crust and too much cheese. Apart does it just right. Pizza Bubamara is excellent as well, and the owner is such a character. Last time I picked up a pizza he came around the corner and gave me a hug because he was so happy with the ingredients I had selected (I can't remember what they were now, but it was good).

                For NY-style, or the closest to it, I also vote for Gigios. I go to the one in Evanston because it's easier for me to get to and park around.

                1. Apart is really good. However the closest thing I have found to tradition NY pizza is Noli's on Kedzie. It is super good and really cheap. I love it. Also, tack on an order of garlic knots; you will not regret it.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: jonesybot

                    I am completely addicted to Noli's. I didn't know it was "New York" style until well after I was addicted, but this is what I want in a pizza-- chewy crust, but not too much of it; delicious tomato sauce; not so much cheese that it dominates everything else. Also, the store is really owned by Noli, who sometimes makes the pizza himself, and who is very community minded. Also, try the byrek, with homemade yogurt. If you have any space left over from eating the pizza.