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LTH,

First an admission, I like pizza. Thin crust, thick crust, deep dish, oven baked, wood fire, pretty much any type of pizza. Not only that, but I am not all that discerning when it comes to pizza, Candlelite, Caponies, Piece, Marie's, Pat's, original Uno's, Pizza D.O.C., Vito and Nick's, Lou Malnati's Lincolnwood for both thick and thin crust, Zaffiro's in Milwaukee I like them all.

I will admit to a slight preference to thin, especially thin and crisp as best exemplified by Zaffiro's in Milwaukee, ok, thin and light on the cheese. Hummm, and flavorful sausage, real garlic, no cheap tasting industrial shortening in the crust....maybe I am just a wee bit picky. :)

As a kid growing up in Milwaukee our go-to pizza, for either eat in or delivery, was Mama Mia's. This was thin crust Milwaukee style, not all that thin or crisp, loaded with cheese, tons of sausage and perfect for a growing, and growing, boy. Oh man, I just remembered Mama Mia's garlic bread, whole loaves soaked in garlic butter, and I do mean soaked, as in actually placed in a pot of garlic butter, then cooked in the pizza oven. This yielded a crisp on the outside, stream of garlic butter burst as you bit into the bread, caloric delight of Olympian proportions. (no wonder I'm big-boned' :)

As our, as in both mine and my parents, taste became a bit more refined we switched to Zaffiro's, light, crisp matzo like crust, fresh ingredients, antipasto salad instead of 4-million calorie garlic bread, though the urge for Mama Mia's still struck, plus Zaffiro's didn't deliver.

Fast forward a few decades, Zaffiro's is as good as ever, and still my benchmark thin crust pizza, but 100-miles is a long way when the urge for pizza strikes. Though, as this pictures indicates, it may well be worth the drive.

Zaffiro's pizza Milwaukee
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Vito and Nick's is almost, though not quite, as thin crust as Zaffiro's, with excellent ingredients, and a slight 'toast' to the crust and cheese. An excellent pizza, though, as Vito and Nick's is located on the 8400 block of South Pulaski, it takes almost as long to get there from my house as Zaffiro's in Milwaukee. Marie's on W Lawrence is similar style, but I, ever-so-slightly, prefer Vito and Nick's.

Picture of a thin crust beauty at Vito and Nick's
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Ok, what about the Candlelite, you say? Excellent, wonderful, delicious. (Think I like the place? :) ) Crisp thin crust, fresh, flavorful ingredients, real chopped garlic, important as my 'standard' pizza is sausage, garlic and onion, served hot and crisp in a casual, family friendly, bar atmosphere.

Picture of Candlelite Pizza
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Admittedly, Zaffiro's is still my benchmark, Candlelite uses just a wee bit too much cheese for this ex-cheesehead, though I plan on ordering my next Candlelite crisp crust beauty light on the cheese.
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Seeing as how Candlelite is a 10-minute drive, It's going to get a lot more of my pizza business than Zaffiro's. Three times in the last three weeks alone. In addition to the pizza I'd recommend garlic fries, ask for them crisp.
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These beauties are lightly sprinkled with red wine vinegar dressing that brings out the flavor of the garlic.
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The Candlelite has a friendly, comfortable bar atmosphere, lots of TVs, Guinness on tap, and, from what I've seen, is a comfortable place for families with kids.

Enjoy,
Gary

Candlelite Chicago
7452 North Western Ave
Chicago, IL 60645
773-465-0087

Vito & Nick's
8435 S Pulaski Rd
Chicago
773-735-2050

Caponies Pizzeria
3350 N Harlem Ave
Chicago, IL
773-804-9024

Zaffiro's Pizza & Bar
1724 N Farwell Ave
Milwaukee, WI 53202
414-289-8776

Piece
1927 W. North Ave.
Chicago, IL
773-772-4422

Pizzeria Uno
Chicago, Il
29 E. Ohio St.
312-321-1000

Pizza D.O.C.
2251 W Lawrence Ave
Chicago, IL 60625
773- 784-8777

Marie's Pizzeria
4129 W Lawrence Ave
Chicago, IL 60630
773-725-1812
Last edited by G Wiv on October 26th 2004, 11:29am, edited 2 times in total.
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Thanks for bringing Candlite to my attention. That's a relatively short drive from the house so I think I'll add it to the list for me and Mrs. Kman (I think it's worth a visit just for the garlic fries!). Question - do they honor requests for pie-sliced vs. the ubiquitous midwest square-slicing style evident in all your pictures? I get delivery from both Marie's and Father & Son who always accept the request though occasionally forget to execute. I'm imagining a slicer so accustomed to whacking out squares that he forgets; sort of like the way I can get on the Kennedy to go 3 stops and then find myself at the office wondering why I'm there. :oops:
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Does Candlelight deliver? I live in Edgewater (Clark & Ridge). Lately we've been ordering from Calo's.
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viaChgo wrote:Does Candlelight deliver? I live in Edgewater (Clark & Ridge). Lately we've been ordering from Calo's.


Yes, they deliver, although I'm not sure of their boundries, and you will do youself a favor getting a Candlelite pizza rather than a Calo's
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Steve Z.

"Why should I eat a carrot when I can eat pizza?" - Dan Janssen
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stevez wrote:
viaChgo wrote:Does Candlelight deliver? I live in Edgewater (Clark & Ridge). Lately we've been ordering from Calo's.


Yes, they deliver, although I'm not sure of their boundries, and you will do youself a favor getting a Candlelite pizza rather than a Calo's


thanks! I've been trying various places in the neighborhood & Calo's the best thus far. I may have to order Candlelight tonight!
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Made it over to the newly refurbished Candlelite last night for what turned out to be the final World Series game.

I concur w/ Gary - thumbs up on this place!

We had a sausage / pepperoni / bacon / jalapeno pie which was excellent, and also the garlic fries and onion rings - both of which were very good. The rings are of the battered variety, and they were crisp and not at all greasy. I wasn't crazy about their "special ring dipping sauce" which seemed like watered down thousand island dressing.

Their delivery is handled by a third party company called "Speedy Delivery" (who also handles delivery for Evanston Chicken Shack, BTW). Speedy charges $5.00 on top of the cost of the food to bring it to your door. Not sure what their delivery boundaries are, but from their phone number, it looks like they are based in Evanston.

Speedy Delivery
(847) 328-9106
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G Wiv wrote:I will admit to a slight preference to thin, especially thin and crisp as best exemplified by Zaffiro's in Milwaukee, ok, thin and light on the cheese.

Nice pizza pics, Gary. I really like the one from Vito & Nick's with the burnt cheese.

My latest favorite is Follia
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very thin crust, very tasty.

Follia
953 W Fulton
Chicago
312-243-2888
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Do you guys have ANY idea how hungry pics like these make me...and how difficult it is to find great pizza in SoCal? At Christmas I'll make my semi-annual trek back to visit my family in the 'burbs (Downers Grove) and get my fill of great pizza and italian beef.

Gary, I'm much like you...I love good pizza, whatever style. I admit to being VERY selective about my toppings though...just italian sausage for me.

There are SO many great pizza places in and around the Chicago area including venturing N to Milwaukee (Zaffiro's) or S To Champaign (Papa Del's). I can not for the life understand how places like Pizza Hut, Domino's and Papa John's stay in biz in the CHicago area.
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Bob in RSM, CA...yes, I know, it's a long way from Chicago
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I can not for the life understand how places like Pizza Hut, Domino's and Papa John's stay in biz in the CHicago area.


To quote my friend, who was a salesman of the old school, "There is always room for mediocre."

Gary has a variation of the same theme: "That's why there are 31 flavors at Baskin Robbins."
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Cathy2

"You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
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Some friends who live in the neighborhood just recently introduced me to Candlelite. At least I thought they were my friends. What took them so long?
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Yes, although here is one of the secrets of life in modern America.

The thin crust Pizza Hut pizza-- the one no one bothers to order any more because they want Super Double Cheese-Stuffed Tomato Sauce Indian Flatbread Crust With Extra Cheese, Cheese, Did You Hear Me Dammit I Said Cheese-- is a perfectly decent pizza, relatively unchanged since it was invented in 1959 or whenever.

Incidentally, I was once bitten by the dog of one of the founders of Pizza Hut.
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After eating Chicago pizza all my life, I have never really been convinced by the big boys - Lou Malnati and Giordano's and so forth. In my childhood we got pizza from Villa Nova in Berwyn, IL, which is pretty darn good pizza. But only in the last couple of years did I discover what I think is the best thin crust in Chicago - John's Pizza on Western Avenue.

My advice is not to get delivery, but to dine in their lounge with a large group of people and take in the whole experience - the lounge and bar are in the back of the building - think shabby, late 1970s, early 80s, small Italian banquet room. Somewhere my Grandmother would have taken the 30 of us to celebrate my cousin's confirmation. But the front of the place where you carry-out is kind of like a diner, with a counter and jukebox (which has some great selections) and is better if there's only two or three of you.

But John's has definitely become the destination for every one of our and our friends' birthday celebrations, sporting events, etc. Especially for football season, since they claim to have the "original" Football-size pizza. Although, the debate is ongoing in our household as to whether thin crust or "double-dough" is better.

John's Pizza & Lounge
2104 N. Western
773-384-1755

And for old time's sake:

Villa Nova Pizza
6821 Pershing Road
Berwyn, IL
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I'm thinking a pizza-athon might be in order (actually 2...one for thin crust and one for dep dish). Is anyone game?
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Steve Z.

"Why should I eat a carrot when I can eat pizza?" - Dan Janssen
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stevez wrote:I'm thinking a pizza-athon might be in order

Steve,

Not sure about a pizza-athon, but I see a visit to John's Pizza in my very near future.

Enjoy,
Gary
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G Wiv wrote:
stevez wrote:I'm thinking a pizza-athon might be in order

Steve,

Not sure about a pizza-athon, but I see a visit to John's Pizza in my very near future.

Enjoy,
Gary


I'd like to see a John's, Marie's, Nick & Vito's, Pete's, Candlelite (and Zefferino's if we're crazy enough) Athon.
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Steve Z.

"Why should I eat a carrot when I can eat pizza?" - Dan Janssen
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SteveZ wrote:(and Zefferino's if we're crazy enough)


It's already well documented we are nuts. So Zefferino's is definitely part of the mix!

Start south at Vito and Nicks and just keep going north!
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Cathy2

"You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
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atalissa80 wrote:But only in the last couple of years did I discover what I think is the best thin crust in Chicago - John's Pizza on Western Avenue.


Soon after moving to The Ukranian Village, three or four years ago, I was introduced to John's Pizza. It remains my standby dine-in-only pizza when I am too lazy to drive to V&N's, Traverso's, Marie's, etc. I am most certainly with you on the atmosphere. It has the best jukebox for miles, and that bar in the back is a real treasure. But while I think that the pizza compares favourably with most of the pies in this town, it wouldn't climb higher than seven or eight on my list.

Sure, let's do a taste-off.

Erik M.
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John's has been there forever (since the 50's, I think the menu says). Solid, middle-of-the-road North-Side Chicago thin, I'd say. In the ranks with LoGalbo's, La Gondola, Carreno's, Rosati's, Pete's et al.

One thing that John has, which my family really likes, is a product we call "grease bread." It has other names, and used to be more common. It's basically garlic bread dipped in beef juice. Extra cheap and filling. An Italian beef, juicy, hold the meat. You can get it with melted cheese, which is real nice.
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so how do we go about this pizza-a-thon?
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atalissa80 wrote:so how do we go about this pizza-a-thon?


Pick some possible dates and a possible itinerary. Put up a post on the "events" forum. Wait for the discussion to settle down and then just post whatever final plan you think works best. You get to be the boss here and people will or won't join you as they are able and interested.

If you post it, they will come. Usually. (I don't know if the Afgan whole roast goat--or was it lamb?-- ever happened).
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atalissa80 wrote:so how do we go about this pizza-a-thon?


I'll come up with a plan and will post in the events section.
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Steve Z.

"Why should I eat a carrot when I can eat pizza?" - Dan Janssen
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HI,

I finally got over the Candlelite last night. While waiting for my friend to show up, I ordered the garlic fries. They were not quite like those Gary pictured, I guess he must have asked for extra garlic and I didn't feel any vinegar. Of course, it was such a balmy evening I was outdoors so maybe the table condiments are not the same. Yes, I could have asked for the vinegar, but it didn't cross my mind. Nonetheless, a fry with fresh garlic is always worth eating. (I'll just get extra garlic next time!)

We also split a Caesar Salad, which was not an eggy version rather an anchovy flavored vinaigrette. I liked it better than some of the ersatz Caesar salad dressings. It wasn't really a Caesar salad, though it was good whatever it was. My only quibble: the Romaine lettuce was cut into 1/2 - 1/2 inch cross-sections which were hard to grasp with a fork. I finally had the waitress bring a soupspoon to scoop it up. Ah, the salad did have a little bit of the crust used for the pizza. We were impressed how really thin it was.

The pizza was as glorious as described by everyone else. Since the pictures seemed to have a lot of cheese, we asked them to ratchet it back. Once we tried the pizza with the cheese reduced, we decided the next pizza would be tried with their standard quantity of cheese.

We had the added bonus of a little girl at the next table wearing a bumblebee costume, which had a little stinger. High on the cute factor.

Unseasonably warm night, good food, good company and a very congenial atmosphere.

Regards,
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Cathy2

"You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
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Cathy2 wrote:The pizza was as glorious as described by everyone else.

C2,

Glad you enjoyed Candlelite, it's fast becoming one of my favorite places. Not sure what happened with the garlic fries. I order garlic fries as is off the menu, no special instructions, aside from asking for the fries crisp. The three times I've had them each time they have been lightly dressed with red wine vinaigrette and loaded with fresh garlic.

Speaking of pizza, Ellen, Peter D and I went to John's Pizza on N Western, that Atalissa mentioned. I quite enjoyed the thin crust pizza, though I did ask for the pizza well done to insure crisp crust. Truthfully, John's is not replacing Candlelite, Vito and Nick's or even Marie's for thin crust, but if I lived near John's it certainly would be my go-to place for take-out or pie on the fly.

Agreed also that the place is cool as hell, in an odd sort of way. Possibly the fact there were a number of people in full-on Halloween costumes helped, atmosphere wise.

I also might have been more receptive to John's atmosphere as, before we met Peter at John's, Ellen and I had drinks at Salud with friends of Ellen's. Salud is not really my kind of place, though it might be if I was younger, unmarried and looking for attractive women who enjoyed doing shots of overpriced tequila while bass heavy music pulsed in the background.

By the way, thanks Mike G for the John's Pizza address On-Star service. :)

Enjoy,
Gary

John's Pizza & Lounge
2104 N. Western
Chicago
773-384-1755

Salud
1471 N Milwaukee
Chicago
773-486-0686
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Thin crust Pizza-thon?

If people want to do it somewhere around Christmas (12/23-1/1) count me in...and maybe my wife as well as we are coming in from SoCal to visit my family in Downers Grove.

I don't think we should include Zaffiro's, though..as good as it is, it's just too far. Maybe for the Pizzathon-Wisconsin tour stop. I think we could come up with dozens if not hundreds of worthy places in and around Chicago...the problem would be narrowing it down to a number we could reasonably hit.
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Rich4 wrote:My latest favorite is Follia
(<snip> of Rich's killer picture of Follia's pizza.)

Rich,

There's something about this picture I keep coming back to, if Follia was open for lunch I'd go today.

Enjoy,
Gary
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We went to Candlelite for two for one pizza last night . Started out with the garlic fries well done, they came out nice and crispy, alot of fresh garlic but did not taste the red wine vinegar. We ordered a sausage pizza that was just ok, small pieces of sausage, nothing like in the picture and the sausage did not have alot of flavor. It was nice and thin how i like it , crispy around the edges but not on the bottom. Maybe because it was Tuesday two for one night that it was just an off night. I was a little disappointed after reading all the great reviews . All four of us agreed that Marie's is still our favorite.
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Kim wrote:All four of us agreed that Marie's is still our favorite.


You won't get any argument from me about Marie's. I'm also very fond of thier pizza. It's different than Candlelite in that it's not as crispy and a little more greasy when you order sausage (that's not a bad thing). Of course, Vito & Nick's is still the benchmark AFAIC. Any of those three places qualify as "go to" places for thin crust.
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Steve Z.

"Why should I eat a carrot when I can eat pizza?" - Dan Janssen
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Kim wrote:We went to Candlelite for two for one pizza last night

Kim,

Coincidentally, I was at the Candelite last night myself and, as far as I could tell, everything was exactly the same as always. In other words, very good. True, I was there around 9pm, when the 2 for 1 rush was just about over, but Candlelite seems well set-up for the rush.

As far as no red wine vinegar flavor on the garlic fries, I really have no idea why it would be left off, though you are the second person to mention no red wine vinegar. I will be sure to inquire next time I'm there.

Either way, like Z1 says, Marie's is also damn good pizza, though I suggest giving Candleite another try.

Enjoy,
Gary
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I'm still very much interested in a thin pizza-athon as the one time I went to Vito and Nick's I was not that impressed. Neither was I too impressed by Fox's, another south side place, in what I might call the excessive cornmeal school of pizza.

On the other hand, I actually like Father and Son, and I am sure plenty of people will shake their head at that one. It's like yesterday, I was looking at a new "Best Recipe" book the Condiment Queen got, and the test kitchen folk were saying how Swanson's canned chicken broth was the best. And you know why they said it was the best, as in what they figured out what made it better? MSG. Swanson's broth's had the most MSG, and Cook's Illustrated/America's Test Kitchen ascribed that as the reason for the superior broth. And this has to do with Father and Son's?

Just that I admit there is something chemical and wierd about Father and Son Pizza. The cheese is a bit too elastic. The sauce has a weird eneffable taste not usually found in nature. Yet, it all works. I find I can scarf a Father and Son ultra thin by myself. And you know what else. I had Father and Son on the same night as Vito and Nick's and liked Father and Son a whole lot better.

Which is all the more reason I wanna do a thin crust pizza-athon. I really think I need to calibrate.

Rob
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Rob,

I had somehow forgotten about the thin pizza-athon. I'll get to work organizing it right away. I'll try ot get something poisted today or tomorrow. I've got to do a little research into the hours of some of the places on the list so that we can come up with a workable plan.
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Steve Z.

"Why should I eat a carrot when I can eat pizza?" - Dan Janssen
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