Chicago has a strong pizza identity. We claim two styles as “ours″ (deep dish and tavern) and will ruin a perfectly nice evening debating the best of each. But unlike some of our friends in New York, our city supports all kinds of pizza - even Bob’s, whose Pilsen-style just got approved by the Chicago Department of Pizza Style Regulation and Licensing.
Recently, we’ve seen a bunch of new places making Sicilian-style - and the best of them is Pizza Friendly Pizza. In fact, this little spot in Ukrainian Village is making some of our favorite pizza in Chicago, period.
We’re really not surprised the pies here are excellent - they come from the chef of Oriole, one of the best tasting-menu restaurants in the city. But Pizza Friendly Pizza is the opposite of fine dining. It’s a carryout-window in an alley, and you can either get the food to-go, or eat on their small patio next to some garbage cans. The last of which you won’t even notice are there because the pizza is so f*cking good.
The excellent Sicilian pan-style pizza comes by the slice, or you can pre-order a full pie. The thick crust is incredibly light and airy with a slight sourdough-y flavor, and the tomato sauce is rich and spicy. The short menu has a few varieties available, like the charred pepperoni (that are perfect little grease cups) and one of our favorite, the Ruben’s Special, which is topped with sausage and a delicious housemade giardiniera.
There are also a few sandwiches and salads, both of which are good, but shame on you if you come here and don’t order any pizza. Which you might want to do ahead of time, because this place regularly sells out. But don’t get too discouraged if they’re sold out online, they usually still have slices available at the window. Just expect a socially-distanced wait.
Since pizza has proven to be a pandemic-proof food, there will definitely be more new spots opening up in Chicago over the next few months. And like a pizza Ellis Island, we’ll continue to welcome them with open arms. But for now we’re happy to just keep ordering from Pizza Friendly Pizza.
Some people like large pepperoni that drape over the slice like bed sheets, but not us. Luckily Pizza Friendly Pizza has the kind of little burnt pepperoni cups that we love. Their pepperoni slice is also topped with burrata and basil.
This isn’t a Rueben pizza. We repeat, it’s NOT a Rueben pizza. It’s Ruben’s pizza, and whoever they are they’re clearly obsessed with delicious giardiniera. It’s perfectly pickled and spicy, so it doesn’t overwhelm the flavor of the sausage, and finely chopped so it’s distributed perfectly on the pizza. If you like giardiniera even a little, this slice is a must-order.