Robert Maleski started Milly’s Pizza in the Pan as a ghost kitchen after getting laid off from his server job during the pandemic. Now he’s running the best brick-and-mortar pizzeria in Chicago, at least according to the pizza pundits at Chicago Magazine.

Writers Amy Cavanaugh, John Kessler and Titus Ruscitti recently compiled a list of their 25 favorite pizza joints in the Windy City. It spotlights both industry legends like the 73-year-old Pat’s Pizzeria and brash, young upstarts like Zazas Pizzeria, founded by brothers Brett and Chadd Nemec in 2022, and Kim’s Uncle Pizza, established that same year.

Conspicuously missing from the list are certain beloved pizza icons like Lou Malnati’s, Pizano’s, Gino’s East and Nancy’s Pizza, but it’s safe to say visitors to Chicago will sniff them out in a hurry and locals have known about them for decades. We should also keep in mind that media foodies prefer the new to the old, the innovative to the traditional, and want to turn their readers on to restaurants they might not have visited yet.

Related: Zazas on the rise in the Windy City

Regardless, with just a little over three years in business, Milly’s tops this particular list from Chicago Magazine. Maleski—who named Milly’s after his grandmother—serves only a limited number of pan-style pies each day. And when we say “limited,” we’re talking 65 pizzas. Once he’s sold out, he’s done, so customers are advised to call ahead before visiting the restaurant or, better yet, to order online in advance.

“He cold-ferments yeast-cultured dough for 36 hours before it hits the oven, and the pies pop with colorful toppings, like the pepperoni, olives and sweet peppers on the Updog,” Chicago Magazine reports. “But even a simple sausage and onion, finished with creamy fresh mozzarella, is a standout. Tasting the work of this new pizza talent is nothing short of thrilling.”

This photo shows Derrick Tung, wearing glasses and a light-blue shirt, holding two pizzas in his restaurant.

Derrick Tung (Paulie Gee’s Logan Square)

Derrick Tung, who set aside Chicago pizza convention and went his own way by focusing on Detroit and Neapolitan-style pies at Paulie Gee’s Logan Square, made the list at No. 2. “Here you’ll find the best Detroit-style pizza in the city: the Logan Squares,” according to the article. “With thick crusts and crispy, cheesy edges, these six-square pies somehow manage to be ethereally light. The pepperoni with cold tomato sauce is delicious, but the best is [Tung’s] shamelessly named U.S. Pizza Cup Winner, which has a just-right salty-spicy-sweet combination of white cheddar, pepperoni, bacon jam and ricotta, finished with hot honey.”

Related: Derrick Tung: Paying your pizzeria’s employees well can yield big dividends

On the more traditional side, Bungalow By Middle Brow, a natural winery that’s known for its Chicago tavern-style fare, claimed the No. 3 spot on the list. Owner Pete Ternes only offers round pizzas on Tuesdays, and there will likely be a long wait, the article notes. “But it’s worth it. These are überthin and have a sweeter sauce. While you’ll always find pepperoni and sausage, the weekly specials from chefs Carolyn Centofanti and Pilar Duplack are the most fun. Look for the cacio e pepe, a frequent offering, loaded with Parm and smoked black pepper.”

At No. 4 was Villa Nova, one of those long-running Chicago mainstays at 68 years old. “The cooks here top a pizza so neatly that each piece of the supremely good tavern-style sausage pie has a big chunk of fennel-forward meat right in the middle,” Chicago Magazine says. “Ask for it well done for an extra-crispy crust.”

Sapori Napoletani, ranked at No. 5, serves up “the city’s best Neapolitan-style pizza,” the magazine proclaims, with chef/owner Antonio Vitiello at the helm. “The Margherita is the bestseller for good reason. We also have a soft spot for the Calabrese, with its oily spots of spicy ’nduja and slivers of red onion.”

This photo shows a group of people, including owners Chadd and Brett Nemec and their mother, Sue, standing in front of the sign for a new Zazas location.

A second Zazas Pizzeria location is scheduled to open soon. (Zazas Pizzeria / Facebook)

Here’s a look at all 25 Chicago pizzerias selected for the list in order of ranking:

1. Milly’s in the Pan
2. Paulie Gee’s Logan Square
3. Bungalow by Middle Brow
4. Villa Nova
5. Sapori Napoletani
6. Jimmy’s Pizza Café
7. Kim’s Uncle Pizza
8. Eataly Chicago
9. Pat’s Pizzeria
10. George’s Deep Dish
11. Superkhana International
12. Naudi Signature Pizza
13. Coda di Volpe
14. Coalfire
15. Vito & Nick’s Pizzeria
16. Sfera Sicilian Street Food
17. Robert’s Pizza and Dough Co.
18. Uncle Jerry’s Pizza Company
19. Spacca Napoli Pizzeria
20. Zazas Pizzeria
21. Frank’s Pizzeria & Restaurant
22. D’Amato’s Bakery & Subs
23. The Oakville Grill & Cellar
24. Louisa’s Pizza & Pasta
25. Pizza Lobo


Food & Ingredients