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#1
Posted September 12th 2011, 9:21am
Jimmy's opened about a month ago at the corner of Foster and Lincoln (just down the street from me) and I finally got around to trying them out yesterday. They do NYC style pizzas, and I'll admit that I don't know a lot about that style, so I can't speak to authenticity, but the pizza was definitely good. I tried the white pie (mozzarella, garlic, olive oil, ricotta) and it was really good. My daughter enjoyed her sausage slice as well - enough so that she didn't let me try a bite. They sell individual slices or you can order a whole pizza for carryout - no delivery. I had a slight complaint that they didn't have a lot of variety in they by the slice options when I was there - the white pie, a plain cheese, a sausage and a pepperoni - but then again, it was a Sunday night, so they might have more variety at other times. (Mostly this is a slight complaint because their toppings list is fairly diverse, so it would have been nice to see a more interesting option, but really this is a minor quibble.)

They also have really really good beignets - light and airy inside, with just a little bit of chew to the exterior. These are definitely the best beignets I've had in Chicago and I'd come back just for them, even if the pizza wasn't good - luckily they're both good. And the beignets are available all day, not just at breakfast.

Jimmy's Pizza Cafe
5159 N Lincoln Ave
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#2
Posted September 12th 2011, 4:54pm
Sounds like a good lead. One key question: do they keep the slices out at room temp, then reheat to order? Or do they serve them Chicago style, meaning directly from a heat lamp contraption that has destroyed anything that might have ever been good about the thing?
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#3
Posted September 12th 2011, 10:14pm
They reheated to order, but the pizzas were sitting on a metal counter that looked like it might have been heated from below. It didn't have any of the overly chewy greasiness I associate with heat lamp slices.
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#4
Posted September 13th 2011, 10:47pm
As someone who always appreciates a true New York slice, I was cautiously optimistic when I read about this place in Dish a couple months ago.

Coincidentally, days before my planned first visit, I ran into our neighbors (fellow lthers) carrying home a pie from their third visit to Jimmy's. Their endorsement sealed the deal, and off we were the following Sunday. I have to say, they delivered on all counts: room temp slices on display, friendly NY transplants running the show and perfectly foldable slices that had just the right amount of chew. So far, we've had regular cheese slices as well as sausage--which also proved to be absorbing lifesavers during German American fest this weekend.

I have to agree that it would be nice to see a wider variety of toppings offered on the ready-to-go slices, but I'm thrilled (despite my diet) that they are less than a half mile away.

Also loved the fresh and pillowy beignets, but I'm going to try and avoid them :-).

Based on previous posts, I'm confident kennyz will approve. Look forward to hearing your report.
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#5
Posted September 15th 2011, 7:40am
I stopped by for an early dinner and had a couple slices. The pizza is kept under heat lamps although i suspect not all that hot and is reheated to order in a Bakers Pride oven. I had a slice of the white pizza and a pepperoni, both were solid examples of the style, foldable, a tiny bit of crisping form the oven and not overly cheesed. I also went at somewhat of an off hour, so it's possible they had been held for a while. I also regret not getting sausage, it looked great. I drive through here somewhat often and will definitely be back.
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#6
Posted September 18th 2011, 5:17pm
I was here twice on Friday. The first time at about 11am and was about a half hour too early for the pizza. Ended up at city provisions and over paid (13.99) for an Italian sub. Did pick up some very good chicken pate and pimento cheese. Anyway, after a dinner at fin sushi bar on montrose I was still hungry since I don't really care for sushi, we took a detour to Jimmy's. The beignets were out of this world. They were made fresh and were steaming hot and delicious. I ordered a slice of sausage and a slice of pepperoni. They were not gonna heat them up since they were fairly fresh but I said I liked my pizza kinda well done so they heated them up for a few minutes. I gotta say these were some very good slices. I am more of a pizano's, pat's kinda girl but I loved this pizza. Will definitely return. They open at 7am for beignets and coffee. If this is on your way to work definitely stop by.
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#7
Posted September 19th 2011, 10:21am
abolt wrote:They open at 7am for beignets and coffee. If this is on your way to work definitely stop by.


Their opening hours seem to me more of a guideline than an exact time. I pass Jimmy's on my way to work at about 7:20 and more often than not, the lights are still off and the chairs are still up on the tables.
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#8
Posted September 22nd 2011, 11:29pm
AlekH wrote:The pizza is kept under heat lamps although
Lamps, not heat lamps, reheated to order.

Stopped tonight just before closing, not a lot of options, but the veg slice was perfect for someone who's been slinging BBQ all day. Quickly heated, crisp bottom crust, airy cornicione evocative of Neapolitan style and real depth of flavor, pizza aficionados say its all about the bread, and Jimmy's delivers. Quality cheese, no oily cheap-ass annatto tinted run-off, and thin cut veg that retained texture. Ordered one to eat there and one to go, ended up eating both in-house. Slices were so good I can't wait to try a whole pie right out of the oven.

Chatted a bit with Jimmy and his mom, a few decades ago she worked at a Korean restaurant in NY state, said she had a killer bulgogi recipe, I immediately thought of of the Korean equivalent of Italian beef/giardiniera on a pizza, bulgogi/kimchi. She always has homemade kimchi at the restaurant but would need a day or so notice for the bulgoi to marinate. I can practically taste the pie typing this, though I am already mentally gilding the Lilly with a squirt of gochujang.

Eli, thanks for posting about Jimmy's, I travel that route often and will have trouble not stopping, probably more so after I taste the beignets.

Enjoy,
Gary
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Sauce on the side, always, implied, axiomatic..........never a doubt, BBQ sauce without.

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#9
Posted September 24th 2011, 5:03pm
I am so happy to have this place close by. Went for the second time today and once again managed two giant slices in addition to an order of beignets, which were light, tender and cooked to order.

Someone asked about delivery when i was there and they said it should be starting up fairly soon.
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#10
Posted September 29th 2011, 7:32pm
Really killer slice of sausage for dinner, crumbly well seasoned sausage and perfect crust.
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#11
Posted October 1st 2011, 9:16am
Thanks, eli, for this find. Open just 5 weeks on Lincoln Ave. a short distance north of Jibek Jolu, Jimmy's offers an authentic NY slice, the first I have found in the Chicago area. I spoke with Jimmy, who confided that he did not even like pizza until he turned 19 years old, and then, suddenly, he became obsessed with it, making crust after crust until he had run through a raft of 50 pound bags of flour. His plans for delivery are in the works, but he does not want to deliver until he finds a way to deliver the product that's up to his standards. Jimmy mentioned that he had a previous career in business, but that being in a cubicle all day was not for him. Instead, he shared, the draw of making pizza comes from two things: first, striving to get all the tiny details right until they come together in a good pizza, and, most of all, interacting with his customers. I could tell he was sincere about this, and his words made me think of things Burt Katz has said.

Here's the menu:
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Pizza under the lights, and calzone.

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Slices, Pepperoni and Ricotta "White" Pie
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The pizza itself? Hand-tossed crust, foldable and bready & soft overall, not-too-sweet straight up tomato sauce, not-too greasy cheese. In short, NY pizza as in Ray's on 6th Ave. back in the day when it was still great. This is not New Haven or NJ pizza, with its more substantial crust. But I liked the white ricotta pie quite a bit with its garlic notes and not-too-wet ricotta spots. This is not everyone's pizza ideal, but it is an excellent example of its type. And Jimmy is simply charming. I wish him well!
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#12
Posted October 9th 2011, 11:23am
People are always giving me recommendations on New York-style pizza places here in Chicago, and up until my first visit to Jimmy's, I've typically been disappointed in those recommendations. Jimmy's, on the other hand, is probably the closest I've found to NY-style here in Chicago - oversized, chewy, foldable, good-tasting pizza. I tried a slice of sausage and a slice of the white pizza and liked both quite a bit, with minor complaints. The sausage on the sausage slice was a little too small, and I suspect that this is a major reason why the sausage ending up a bit dried out. The crust on the white pizza was a little too thick close to the edge. Otherwise, I thought the ratio of ingredients was just right, the sauce not sweet (like so many I find in Chicago), and the crust had pretty good flavor.

I didn't try the beignets, but note that they now have cannoli (which I also did not try). They make the filling in-house, but the shells come from elsewhere. I didn't have the nerve to tell him that they should fill them to order (they were pre-filled in the display case).

Also, note that if you visit Jimmy's, there's no street parking on Lincoln between 4 and 6 pm. However, they do offer free parking in back, accessible off of Foster.
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#13
Posted October 16th 2011, 9:53am
I stopped by last night, and let me just say, FINALLY! I was never a fan of cafe lugi's, and after having a sausage and pepperoni slice at Jimmy's, I feel like it's only a matter of time before they're recognized as the best Ny style slice in Chicago. I've tried nearly every NY style pizza on the other Ny style pizza thread and none of them can match Jimmy's. Finally we have a fine example of how NY style pizza should be executed.
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#14
Posted November 4th 2011, 6:12pm
Stopped at Jimmy's PC for a couple of slices last week and hit the bonus round, kimchi, mushroom and garlic, no bulgogi on hand. Exceptional pizza, exceptional combination, exceptional flavor, can't wait to try one with bulgogi.

Jimmy, Sarah (mother of Jimmy and Michael) and Michael with kimchi, mushroom and garlic pizza.
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Sauce on the side, always, implied, axiomatic..........never a doubt, BBQ sauce without.

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#15
Posted November 6th 2011, 8:22am
G Wiv wrote:Stopped at Jimmy's PC for a couple of slices last week and hit the bonus round, kimchi, mushroom and garlic, no bulgogi on hand. Exceptional pizza, exceptional combination, exceptional flavor, can't wait to try one with bulgogi.

Like that innovation in flavor, G Wiv! Was it your idea or was Jimmy serving it up to his family?

If you are in the mood for noodles, let me pass on a tip I got from Jimmy. Da Rae Jung, a few doors north across the street (5220 N. Lincoln) apparently has handmade noodles in the style of the noodlemaking you see performed in a few places. (You know, the guy who twists the dough in choreographed fashion until it comes apart into noodles.) I bet they have bulgogi, too.
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#16
Posted November 16th 2011, 3:04pm
I have been to Jimmys a couple times now. The first for beignets, which I liked (but they didn't quite blow me away), and the last two times for pizza. The beignets at Cafe Du Monde in N.O. somehow seem larger than life in my memory. I enjoyed the beignets at Jimmy, and they are the best (only) substitutes in town that I know of, but they lacked a certain something. They reminded me more of the zeppoles, fried dough balls I would get at NY Italian street festivals when I was a kid, just in a square shape rather than a ball. Not a bad thing just not the puffy, beignet feel/taste/experience I get from Cafe Du Monde.

On to the pizza. Being a former New Yorker (born and bred for 19 years) I was excited to try Jimmys pizza and I have to say without reservation it is the best approximation of NY pizza I have had here (and I have tried alot, if not all, of the NY-styled spots). There's a reasonable diversity of slices in NY but this one reminds me so much of a little spot on 8th Street (right next door to Orange Julius, now shuttered) that it was eerie. That wasn't my all-time favorite slice in NY, but I liked it well enough and having an almost carbon copy of it a mile from my home is a very nice thing.

I hope Jimmys is around for a long time.

Now he just needs some garlic shakers to go with the oregano (no one has an oregano shaker in NY) and pepper flakes shakers...

--Dirk--
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#17
Posted November 16th 2011, 5:07pm
groovedirk wrote:Now he just needs some garlic shakers to go with the oregano (no one has an oregano shaker in NY) and pepper flakes shakers...

--Dirk--



There has been a garlic shaker when I've been there. Perhaps they ran out.
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#18
Posted November 17th 2011, 12:22am
HAvent been to Jimmy's but I disagree with the below - I also am a born and raised NY-er for 22 years and there are indeed shakers of oregano, cheese, garlic, and red pepper flakes.

Can't wait to try it!

groovedirk wrote:I have been to Jimmys a couple times now. The first for beignets, which I liked (but they didn't quite blow me away), and the last two times for pizza. The beignets at Cafe Du Monde in N.O. somehow seem larger than life in my memory. I enjoyed the beignets at Jimmy, and they are the best (only) substitutes in town that I know of, but they lacked a certain something. They reminded me more of the zeppoles, fried dough balls I would get at NY Italian street festivals when I was a kid, just in a square shape rather than a ball. Not a bad thing just not the puffy, beignet feel/taste/experience I get from Cafe Du Monde.

On to the pizza. Being a former New Yorker (born and bred for 19 years) I was excited to try Jimmys pizza and I have to say without reservation it is the best approximation of NY pizza I have had here (and I have tried alot, if not all, of the NY-styled spots). There's a reasonable diversity of slices in NY but this one reminds me so much of a little spot on 8th Street (right next door to Orange Julius, now shuttered) that it was eerie. That wasn't my all-time favorite slice in NY, but I liked it well enough and having an almost carbon copy of it a mile from my home is a very nice thing.

I hope Jimmys is around for a long time.

Now he just needs some garlic shakers to go with the oregano (no one has an oregano shaker in NY) and pepper flakes shakers...

--Dirk--
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#19
Posted November 17th 2011, 8:50am
Oregano shakers have been present in all of the NY pizza places I've visited too.
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#20
Posted November 18th 2011, 7:55am
Josephine wrote:Like that innovation in flavor, G Wiv! Was it your idea or was Jimmy serving it up to his family?
Evolved naturally from a conversation I was having with Jimmy and his mom Sarah.

Speaking of conversation, Sarah spoke highly of just opened Chicago Pocha, said the owner was know far and wide for her soups and "country style" cooking in the Korean community. I had the good fortune to be invited by Jimmy and his parents, Doug and Sarah, for a meal and would heartily agree. In particular Spicy cod soup, Kwang Uh Mae Woon Tang and tendon salad.

Mr. Kang gave me my first introduction to Makkoli, Korean fermented rice wine. 6% alcohol, distinctive fermented tang softened by the natural sweetness of the rice, served cold in a cold metal bowl Mr. Kang said was traditional.


Spicy cod soup, Kwang Uh Mae Woon Tang
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Chicago Pocha
5854 N Lincoln Ave
Chicago, IL 60659
773-728-7274
6pm - 2am (I suggest a call to confirm hours)
Sign still says Matsu Shita
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#21
Posted December 11th 2011, 1:31pm
Stephen wrote:Someone asked about delivery when i was there and they said it should be starting up fairly soon.


Last night they told us delivery should start in about two weeks.
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#22
Posted December 11th 2011, 7:25pm
Jimmy's menu also continues to expand - today, they had some delicious looking stromboli (w/ different fillings), garlic knots/rolls and pepperoni knots/rolls. In addition to a terrific slice of pepperoni, I had one of the garlic rolls and it was very good . . . I didn't ask, but I'm assuming the same dough as used for the pizza.
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#23
Posted December 11th 2011, 8:43pm
BR wrote:People are always giving me recommendations on New York-style pizza places here in Chicago, and up until my first visit to Jimmy's, I've typically been disappointed in those recommendations.

Same here, to the point where I just started ignoring the all the latest hype about yet another OMGmysistersfriendscousinisfromNYCandhesaysthisisBETTERTHANNEWYORK contender. For once, though, this turned out to be the real deal. Solid slice place.

BR wrote:I didn't try the beignets, but note that they now have cannoli (which I also did not try). They make the filling in-house, but the shells come from elsewhere. I didn't have the nerve to tell him that they should fill them to order (they were pre-filled in the display case).

I believe they now make their own shells.
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#24
Posted December 16th 2011, 9:08am
My wife and I finally tried Jimmy's pizza and, wow, it is great. Nice, crispy and slightly chewy crust. I especially liked the tomato sauce. It isn't too sweet and had a subtle anchovy-ish tang (though I don't know if it actually has anchovies or not).
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#25
Posted December 18th 2011, 4:12pm
Finally tried Jimmy's yesterday. My first slice of plain cheese was just OK - even in NY, they're never as good when reheated. The sauce was a little heavy on the oregano for my tastes, and the crust wasn't charred - kind of crackery in spots. However, when a fresh pie came out, I bought another slice, and this was really good. Definitely the best NY-style slice I've had in Chicago, and being from NY, I've been looking for a lot of years. Everything about it was good - crust charred and bubbly, cheese drippy. I'm hoping the first slice I had was just an aberration, because I'll certainly go back. I would rate it as a good NY neighborhood slice - not up there with the very best, but definitely good.
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#26
Posted December 19th 2011, 3:26pm
I finally got over to Jimmy's on Saturday for an afternoon snack. I ended up getting a slice of sausage and a slice of cheese. The sausage slice was great, with locally made sausage on it, and a good amount of fennel in it (which I like). The cheese pizza was also really good, and the crust on both was excellent - nice and crisp, with a little chew. The weak link of the pizza if there was one was the sauce, but it wasn't bad. I spoke for awhile with Jimmy, a really nice guy. I will definitely be back for a NY style pizza fix. My girlfriend and I want to check out the beignets too). I might order a whole "pie" to have a fresh pizza instead of reheated slices which is always the best way to have this style as jpo commented. Or get lucky if a fresh one is coming out at that moment. I am still impressed that my cheese slice was brought back to life when Jimmy put it in his little over for a minute. It looked fresh again.
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#27
Posted December 20th 2011, 11:14pm
I stopped in here Tuesday night for a quick slice (before dinner, lol) and was lucky in that a freshly-baked cheese pizza was brought to the counter just as I entered. I ordered a slice and thought it was fine but nothing special. Good crust -- crispy and light -- but not particularly flavorful. The cheese was ok but a bit rubbery. I thought the sauce was bland. I would have been grateful to see shakers of parmesan, oregano, chili flakes -- or anything else, for that matter -- because the pizza could have used it but I didn't see any of them.

I didn't grow up with this style so maybe that's a factor but I wasn't overly impressed.

It's probably also worth mentioning, though it's probably been mentioned upthread, that Jimmy's is closed on Mondays. I happened to be in the area on 2 consecutive nights...

=R=
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#28
Posted December 21st 2011, 8:08am
ronnie_suburban wrote:I would have been grateful to see shakers of parmesan, oregano, chili flakes -- or anything else, for that matter -- because the pizza could have used it but I didn't see any of them.

This probably won't help you much now, but the shakers are all in the rear left corner of the restaurant.
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#29
Posted December 21st 2011, 9:46am
ronnie_suburban wrote:I thought the sauce was bland.

I pretty much agree about the blandness of the tomato sauce - also kinda thin/ watery which I think negatively affects the crust. Still a very good slice, but the real deal at Jimmy's is the white pizza, especially if you order a fresh whole pie. With its generous sweet garlic/ black pepper seasoning, there's no way to describe this pizza as bland, and I find that the terrific crust holds up better than in the tomato pie. To me the crust at Jimmy's is perfect, with a paper thin, crisp exterior giving way to a centimeter of chewy, well-salted bread.
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#30
Posted December 23rd 2011, 6:27pm
We had a very good first impression of Jimmy's.

We were lucky to arrive when a fresh cheese pizza was baking in the oven. Since I've eaten Cafe Luigi's pizza many times, I couldn't help but compare the two.

Crust - Luigi's is more foldable and chewier. Jimmy's has more flavor and a nice char on the bottom.
Sauce - Luigi's is saltier and sweeter. Jimmy's is brighter and features some nice herbal character, though it is more watery.
Cheese - Luigi's has the classic solid-layer of stretchy cheese. Jimmy's uses a more earthy-flavored cheese, and uses less of it.

Overall I'd say Luigi's is a more classic slice of NY pizza. It closely resembles the dozens of run-of-the-mill slices I've had in Manhattan (and a couple in Brooklyn). Jimmy's is also clearly NY-style, but it uses higher quality ingredients than the average pizza joint. For me it's close. Jimmy's has a better product, but Luigi's scratches the itch a little deeper. I'll need more trips to Jimmy's to decide this, but for now I'm leaning towards Jimmy's.
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