There are many lists ranking New York-style pizzerias. There is similarly no shortage of lists that rank Chicago-style pizza, be it deep dish or tavern style. But how many lists ascribe a hierarchy to New York-style pizza joints in Chicago?
Three journalists from Axios Chicago set out to do just that, creating a list of six New York-style pizza places to check out in the Windy City.
“Even though we all know Chicago pizza (any style) rules the school, New York slices do have a particular charm,” the trio wrote. “We compiled where to find the best versions of these floppy, greasy triangles.”
To compile such a list, Justin Kaufmann, Monica Eng and Carrie Shepherd each selected one pizzeria per person. The other three pizzerias appear to have been selected by readers. Regardless, here are the top six pizzerias, as chosen by Axios Chicago (and maybe its readers).
The Axios Chicago list kicks off with Paulie Gee’s, the brand that first made a name for itself with a pizzeria in the Greenpoint neighborhood of Brooklyn. The pizza company has a couple different locations in Chicago, one in Logan Square and one in Wicker Park.
“I’m going with Paulie Gee’s in Wicker Park, because the neighborhood has always been my go-to spot to get a slice,” Kaufmann wrote. “Anyone remember Santullo’s on North Avenue?”
Dante’s Pizzeria is another New York-style pizza brand with a pair of locations in Chicago. The joint is no stranger to praise, once having been named to a list of “13 Chef-Approved Chicago Pizzerias.”
“Dante’s is how I define New York-style: hot, cheap and easy,” Shepherd wrote. “Slices ($6) are huge, and each day they feature a special slice in addition to the standard pepperoni, sausage and cheese.”
One of the more recent entries into the New York-style pizza scene in Chicago, Zazas Pizzeria, owned by Chadd and Brett Nemec, has caught the attention of foodies since it opened its doors in 2021.
“My dear Brooklyn-born pal, Ina. P, recently raved to me about the pies at Zazas Pizzeria on Clark, where they ferment the dough three days before baking,” Eng wrote. “The process creates a spectacularly delicious, crisp and chewy dough under nicely balanced sauce and top-notch toppings.”
Founded in 1968, Gigio’s lays claim to being the oldest pizzeria in Evanston, Illinois. Gigio’s doesn’t just do pizza, either, also serving up hot dogs, hamburgers, salads and even burritos.
“While ownership has changed over the years, the quality of the pizza has stayed consistent,” an Axios reader said. “Whenever I am in the neighborhood, I will find a way to sneak in a slice.”
Jimmy’s Pizza Cafe is so old-school New York-style that it doesn’t even have a website. It does have a social media presence, but the Axios Chicago writers appeared at a loss to submit too much info about this joint.
“Axios Chicago readers came out in droves to suggest this New York-style pizza joint, now located near Montrose and Western,” they wrote. “Our readers swear by the dough and the sauce. Slices cost $5 and up.”
Open since 1985, Damenzo’s is perhaps best known for its Famous Jumbo Italian Beef, but it also serves up slices for under $4 per. Axios Chicago’s endorsement of Damenzo’s does come with a disclaimer, though.
“We’re not sure they would call themselves a New York pizza place,” Axios Chicago wrote. “Even though the slices are definitely a hit.”
Honorable Mentions on the list included Professor Pizza, Pizza Matta and Meek’s Vegan Kitchen. One Axios Chicago reader apparently recommended getting New York-style slices from Whole Foods—a position PMQ cannot endorse.