Daniel Zemans, our man in Chicago, checks in with another piece of intel on the Windy City pizza scene. Daniel also blogs about Chicagoland pizza, along with his friends, on the Chicago Pizza Club blog. --The Mgmt.
Very few places in Chicago sell deep-dish pizza by the slice. On a recent trip to Art of Pizza, I learned why. Until this visit to Art of Pizza, I had never eaten in the restaurant. I had only ordered whole pies and had them delivered or I had picked them up. I had never gone there for slices; and after this experience, I never will again.
Art of Pizza
3033 N Ashland, Chicago IL 60657 (map); 773-327-5600
Pizza Style: Deep dish and stuffed crust
The Skinny: It's not much to look at, but the Art of Pizza lands atop many Chicagoans' best deep-dish list. And they do have a great pizza there--just don't order it by the slice. The herbed crust sets AoP apart from the other players in town, and the crust on the stuffed pizzas are noticeably less flaky than at other joints
The inside of Art of Pizza is nothing special. In fact, for a place that many people rank as among their favorite pizzerias, it is noticeably unattractive. From the old formica tables, to the lack of wall décor to the 20-year-old television set to the view of a parking lot, there is nothing physically appealing about the restaurant. But just like it would be wrong to judge New York by the overflowing piles of hot garbage that line the city's streets, it is wrong to judge the food at Art of Pizza by the restaurant's physical limitations.
The crust at Art of Pizza is what noticeably distinguishes it from other pizzerias. Both the pan and stuffed pizzas feature an herbed crust that goes very well with the impressive amounts of mozzarella both pies use. Also, the stuffed crust, which is two inches tall around the outside of the pie, is not nearly as flaky as other stuffed pies in Chicago. I suspect they use either less shortening than other pizzerias or none at all, but I'm not enough of a breadsmith to be able to tell, and the kid working the counter on this trip had no idea about the dough recipe.
The sauce at Art of Pizza is usually quite good. It tastes fresh and has decent amounts of oregano and basil. The toppings are generally fresh, and Art of Pizza offers a good variety. I usually order stuffed spinach pizzas there because my usual staple topping, sausage, is too bland at Art of Pizza for my tastes. When I've felt particularly gluttonous, I have ordered Art's Meaty Delight, which features sausage, bacon, ground beef, pepperoni, and sliced beef.
So if you are looking for a deep-dish pizza on Chicago's north side, or you find yourself wanting to try a variety of the best stuffed pizzas in Chicago, Art of Pizza is definitely worth checking out. Just don't order by the slice.
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