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Spacca Napoli

What's the story on this pizzeria? Is it what it claims to be -authentic? How are prices (not on the website)? Thanks.

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  1. Closest thing I've found to via Tribunali in these parts. Not cheap (if recollection serves (pizzas are around $15 apiece--appetizers and salad prices typical for a mid-range Italian restaurant; mozzarella di bufalo is not inexpensive).

    1. It was one of the first - and still my favorite - of the current wave of Neapolitan pizza restaurants. Simple preparations that let the ingredients speak for themselves.

      1. I love this place. The pizza's are about $11 to $16 depending on toppings, but they are well worth it in my opinion. The last several times I've gone, I had to do take out. They gave me a complimentary glass of wine while I waited, and the wait is always less than 10 minutes because the pizza crust is so thin.
        I'm not italian, but if this pizza isn't authentic, then at the very least it is rustic, and every ingredient is done extremely well.

        1. >> Is it what it claims to be -authentic?

          Yes, according to the Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana (VPN - www.pizzanapoletana.org/index_eng.php ). That organization, based in Naples/Napoli, Italy, has the largest and oldest program for certifying restaurants worldwide for their neopolitan-style pizza. They have certified approximately 40 restaurants in the United States, including Spacca Napoli in Chicago and Parker's Bar & Restaurant in west suburban Downers Grove ( www.parkersamerican.com ). The complete list of VPN-certified restaurants in the U.S. can be found on the VPN Americas website at www.anticapizzeria.net/vpn/members.html

          6 Replies
          1. re: nsxtasy

            Nsxtasy, Have you been here? You rock!! Thanks for the AVPN link-didn't know it existed. You're a veritable wealth of information. Thanks again.

            1. re: nsxtasy

              Please do not believe that having the stamp of VPN implies much.
              It does not. You pay your fee, pretty much, you are a member.
              The best pizzerias in Italy, the USA, etc. are not members.
              I am not commenting on Spacca Napoli but, honestly, I would prefer if they were not a member. .

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              Spacca Napoli
              1769 W Sunnyside Ave, Chicago, IL 60640

              1. re: dietndesire

                From everything I've heard, it's not at all the rubber stamp you claim it is. They examine all the plans for equipment, ingredients, etc, and it is a lengthy and diligent process.

                1. re: dietndesire

                  FWIW Spaccanapoli was also the first pizzeria in the US to be awarded membership in the Associazione Pizzaluoli Napoletani. It's also a member of the Accademia Italiana Cucina, based on a delegae visit, all of which attests to its attempt at authenticity. Whether it's successful in that attempt (which I believe it is) depends on the dining experience. (By the way, does anyone have an opinion on Parker's and how the quality of their product compares with SN?)

                  1. re: jbw

                    The VPN is worldwide and has been around for a long time. The Americas chapter of the VPN was started by Antica Pizzeria in Southern California in 1998, and the VPN had certified many other American restaurants for neopolitan pizza before Spacca Napoli was opened in 2005. You'll have a tough time finding a membership list for the Associazione Pizzaluoli Napoletani. It appears that they exist primarily to hold an annual competition rather than to conduct any kind of certification process. (Do they have *any* other American members besides Spacca Napoli?)

                    >> (By the way, does anyone have an opinion on Parker's and how the quality of their product compares with SN?)

                    I have not had it there. Parker's Restaurant & Bar started as a restaurant called Parker's Ocean Grill specializing in seafood. Even though they have removed the seafood reference from the name, they still serve some of the very best, freshest seafood in the Chicago area. Every time I go there, I tell myself I'd like to try the pizza, but I end up ordering their delicious seafood instead. :)

                    1. re: nsxtasy

                      This from the website of Keste Pizzeria and Vino in NYC, owned by Roberto Caporuscio, president of the American branch if APN::

                      "It is also the official location in the USA for APN (Associazione Pizzaiuoli Napoletani whose mission is to protect and preserve the Neapolitan pizza tradition and promote the art of pizza making. The organization also certifies professional pizza makers in the tradition of Neapolitan Pizza."

                      Portions of the website of the APN are currently under construction, but it's clear that they run a school for pizzaiuoli and they recently held their 9th "campionata internazionale" in Naples.

                      http://www.pizzaiuolinapoletani.it/

                      Along with the above at least two other pizzerias are members: Marco's in Denver and A Mano in Ridgeway, NJ.

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                      A Mano
                      335 N Dearborn, Chicago, IL 60610

              2. The pizza is great! Very similar to what I've had in Italy. It's not as good as Pizzeria Bianco in Phoenix, but it's wonderful. That being said, I've been twice and I've had really weird/off putting service experiences both times. Enough that I'm considering not going back. There are other places with very good pizza, Antica Pizzeria does a great job and the service is fantastic. I'd rather have very good pizza with super service over great pizza and not so great service.

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                Antica Pizzeria
                5663 N Clark St, Chicago, IL 60660

                5 Replies
                1. re: geg5150

                  What happened with the service? I'd heard Antica was not so hot.

                  1. re: schaf1

                    So, the first time I was there with the BF and my mom. We're half way through two pizzas when the BF begins to examine his pizza very closely....which causes us all to stop and watch. After investigation, he realizes that there are tiny bugs on his pizza. Eek. We call over the server who doesn't apologize, or really say anything, she just walks away. She sends over the manager/owner. We explain that there are bugs and he says, "Well, sometimes a bug is in the arugula." The arugula is uncooked and put on after the pizza comes out of the oven. We explain, "No, that's not the case." These are tiny bugs....100's of them. (Not exaggerating). BF is now examining the pepper shaker and says, "I think they're in the pepper." Owner replies with "Not possible, nothing can live in there." BF proceeds to dumb the pepper contents onto his plate and there are tiny bugs everywhere! We have lost our appetite. At this point, I don't think anyone has offered an apology and we're almost feeling like schmucks for trying to defend what's happening. The plate of pepper is taken away and the manager/owner just kind laughs. Says he'll comp us for one of the pizzas and give us a coupon for a free on on the next visit. Hey, things happen. I get that. I'm not grossed out that easily. It doensn't mean it's a bad/dirty restaurant. I just really felt like we had done something wrong. I walked out feeling like the bad guy. And really, we had two pizzas, a salad and 4 glasses of wine between the three of us and he comped us the least expensive pizza. I thought it was a little lame.

                    A few weekends ago, we decided to try again with our free pizza coupon. Just two of us this time and we ordered an app, a salad and a pizza and a glass of wine each. Before we were seated, we noticed that the owner/manager was giving cannoli to everyone who left the restaurant and wishing "Happy Mother's Day". Nice, a little gift to everyone to celebrate moms! We eat, enjoy our meal and all the while are seeing folks walk by on the sidewalk with their cannoli.

                    It comes time to get the bill and I explain that we'd had a service "situation" on a previous visit and here was the coupon. I paid the bill, sure to tip on the total bill including the price of the free pizza. The As we're departing, the party in front of us was offered cannoli. We're heading out and nothing. No offer of dessert. Yes, it could have been an oversight, but it felt like we were being punished. I'm not going to fight over cannoli.

                    Overall, I've just never felt welcomed. And both situations were a little off putting.

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                    Mother's Day Restaurant
                    8815 W Cermak Rd, Riverside, IL 60546

                    1. re: geg5150

                      Wow! Have you been to Antica? Any other places for Napoli style in that general area?

                      1. re: schaf1

                        I know, weird, right? I have been to Antica. I was there about 3 weeks ago and it's solid. I'll say that the quality is better than when they first opened about 18 months ago and they've increased the menu significantly. Try it at least and let us know you're thoughts. It's BYOB.

                        I also really want to try Great Lake. We actually were there the night that we ended up at Antica. We got to Great Lake at 5:30 and they were already full for the night.

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                        Great Lake
                        1477 W Balmoral Ave, Chicago, IL 60640

                        1. re: geg5150

                          Was it a Saturday you were trying to get in to Great Lake? I'm trying to figure out what time to get there - we're fine with a wait (in fact, would prefer time to drink some beer at Hopleaf in the interim), but don't want to get turned away without pizza.

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                          Hopleaf Bar
                          5148 N Clark St, Chicago, IL 60640

                          Great Lake
                          1477 W Balmoral Ave, Chicago, IL 60640