Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Chicago Area >
Apr 15, 2009 07:25 PM

Spacca Napoli, Coal Fire or Great Lakes

I love pizza but don't have it too often, so when I go I want to try the best thin Neopolitan style cooked in a brick oven. I like very simple Margarita and not looking for Lou Malnati's, Girodano's, Gino's East bombs (nothing against them it's just not my taste). For anyone that has been to Pizzeria Bianco in Phoenix looking for something like that. From what i've read Coal Fire, Spacca Napoli and Great Lakes seem to be good choices; any recommendations between those or others that i'm missing. Thanks

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. I used to live in Phoenix and wow, I miss PB!!

    I haven't been to any of the three you reference. Spacca Napoli or Great Lakes are on my list to try soon.

    I have been to Pizzeria Antica in Edgewater several times since it's right down the street and it's really good. It's not PB, but it's good. The staff is fabulous and it's a cozy place.

    1. Spacca Napoli is great, but somehow i don;t seem to get to that neighborhood more often. Other good choices are:

      Sapore di Napoli, 1406 W Belmont @ Southport. The store front is unassuming and feels more like a take out place. Other than that, very good.

      Pizza D.O.C., 2251 W Lawrence @ Oakley. They were one of the few that for me, started the whole Neapolitan trend here. Service can be a bit harried esp when they are crowded. But they also have excellent antipasti and pasta to complement the great pies.

      1 Reply
      1. re: ms. chow

        Spacca is head and shoulders above D.O.C. (which, incidentally, isn't all that far from Spacca). Spacca also has lots of street parking.

      2. I think you've gotten some pretty good advice and you're on the right track. Spacca Napoli is the closest to Pizzeria Bianco here in Chicago, and it is consistently excellent. I've been to Pizzeria Bianco a couple of times and Spacca more than a dozen times . . . I'd say Spacca measures up very well.

        Coalfire is also excellent, but it is not typical Neapolitan-style pizza . . . closer to what you might find in NY (no, not the foldable type) with what I believe is a coal and wood burning oven. I actually prefer the flavor (and the bite) of the crust at Coalfire, but Spacca absolutely offers much better toppings. Note that the crust at Coalfire tends to be more crispy which is very atypical of your standard Neapolitan pizza (although I prefer it). I also love the flavor of the crust, particularly the beautifully charred spots.

        I have not yet been to Great Lakes, although I've heard very positive reviews and I understand they are serving Neapolitan style pizza.

        There are other places to consider if you eventually want to try others offering Neapolitan pizzas, but they're not as good as Spacca in my opinion.

        Antica Pizzeria, on N. Clark in Andersonville offers a very nice thin crust (Neapolitan style), and although good, it doesn't really come that close to Spacca. In my opinion, they fall short with their lesser quality toppings and although the crust is nice, it's not quite Spacca.

        There's also Sapore di Napoli on Belmont which offers Neapolitan style pizzas. I think they're comparable to Antica, except that the quality of the toppings is better.

        Frasca on Lincoln also offers Neapolitan style pizzas, again not quite Spacca but very good and I also prefer the quality of their toppings to Antica.

        4 Replies
        1. re: BRB

          Went to Great Lake (not "Lakes" otherwise you won't find it) and it was...great. It was VERY close to the pizza I had in Naples in that it was very sparsely topped with excellent products. The crust is pretty amazing in that is is very airy and is really the star of the show. I asked the cook about the oven. It's gas and they heat it to around 650 which is surprising b/c everywhere I've read seems to indicate that you need the oven around 800 to 950 or so to duplicate Neapolitan pizza. It was very good.

          ALSO, I just read in this article:
          that the husband/wife team who run the place were inspired by Pizzeria Bianco.

          1. re: rubinow

            Thanks for the article very interesting to see they seeked to immulate Chris Bianco at Great Lake i'll be anxious to try it as well as Spacca Napoli since both are pretty close to where I live. Thanks again for info.

            1. re: forzagto

              I love the owner at Pizzeria Antica and the food was really good too. Nice that it's a BYOB as well.

              1. re: wineme

                Really! Isn't Mario the nicest guy. The second time I was in there he remembered me and chatted me up. Now, when I go he's all kisses and hugs! I love it! This is what neighborhood is all about!

        2. Coal Fire is delicious. I'm from the East Coast, as are the owners, and its best pizza I've found in Chicago by far. Yum.