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Vito and Nick’s Pizzeria

July 29, 2017

  • 8433 S. Pulaski Road
  • Chicago, IL 60652
  • (773) 735-2050
  • Website
  • Menu

The first thing we usually do when we get to Chicago is start planning our first couple of meals.  I need Italian beef and we need pizza from our favorite pizza place.  I got my beef at Pop’s, but pizza wasn’t going to happen.

We go to town late on Monday night and pretty much just went to bed.  Our first full day in town was Tuesday and Palermo’s 95th is closed on Tuesday’s.  We were going to have to wait a few days because we were leaving J’s parents and heading to mine on Wednesday, so it would be Friday before we could get there.

I’ve explained several times how there are two separate pizza cultures in Chicago.  There’s the famous one that outsiders think of when they think Chicago pizza.  That’s the thick crust and stuffed crust pizza with cold marinara sauce and a crust that’s loaded with fat.  That’s your Giordano’s, Malnati’s, and Gino’s East pizzas.

Those are mostly north side chains.  On the south side, there’s a completely opposite type of pizza.  The crusts are crispy and cracker thin.  The sauce is cooked down and usually sweet.

The most famous of those south side pizzerias is Vito & Nick’s Pizzeria on Pulaski Road right at 84th Place in the city’s Ashburn Neighborhood.  Most people, including me, got their first look at Vito & Nick’s on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives back in January of 2009, but the neighborhood joint has been serving Sicilian style pizza in one form or another since 1946.

There is a small parking just south of the building and street parking on Pulaski.  I had called our order in around 4:00 on Tuesday, so it wasn’t a busy time.  The guy on the phone said it would take about 25 minutes which is about my drive time.  I missed the parking lot on my first pass and I had to go around the block….but there are a lot of one way streets around the restaurant which made it harder than it needed to be.

The pick-up area is right inside the door.  There is a large counter that looks directly in to the kitchen and some chairs set up along the outside wall to be used as a waiting room.  My pizza wasn’t quite ready when I got there.  They were just getting ready to take the second pizza out.  I pulled out my wallet to pay the guy while I was waiting.  They only take cash which they make very clear on their website so there was no surprise.  My Mother-in-Law had given me the $40 for the two large pizzas so I didn’t have to hit up an ATM on my way.

While I was waiting I took a peak in to the main dining room to see if it’s what I remembered.  I haven’t actually eaten at Vito & Nick’s since 2009.  We had such an awful service experience that time, I just haven’t really wanted to go back….but this time we didn carry-out.   I said then it was “straight from the 70’s” and it looks like nothing has changed in the last eight years.  There’s a large bar right as you walk in to the dining room from the carry-out area.  The dining room has tile floors, a wood paneling chair rail and carpet extending from the chair rail to the ceiling.  The chairs and tables are all very generic restaurant supply type furniture.

It only took a few more minutes for my second pizza to come out.  I grabbed the two boxes and put a $5 in the tip jar that was on the counter before heading back to J’s parents to eat.

We have very high standards when it comes to pizza.  J introduced me to Palermo’s 95th in Oak Lawn not long after we started dating and I’ve never had a better pizza than that.  There are a lot of places on the south side that do similar style pizzas and they are all very good, but they’re just not Palermo’s.

We got two large pizzas from Vito & Nick’s.  One of the pizzas was just plain cheese for J and the kids.  The pizza is cut in to tiny rectangles.  It’s got a very generous portion of cheese that is cooked to a slight golden brown in spots.  The sauce is a little more bitter than sweet, but on a simple pizza like a plain cheese, it’s a sauce that stands out…and stands out in a good way.

The second pizza we got is a Chicago speciality.  Sliced beef and hot giardiniera is something I’ve only ever seen in Chicago.  The pizza uses the same marinara sauce and it’s topped with thinly sliced beef and a delicious hot giardiniera mix that includes Jalapenos, carrots, and celery.  The pizza becomes almost an Italian beef sandwich on a pizza crust.

As far as taste goes, both pizzas were amazing.  The only thing that makes Palermo’s better than Vito & Nick’s is the crust.  Vito & Nic’s crust was kind of soggy all the way through to the center.  Palermo’s is usually much crispier giving it a crunch most of the way through.

Vito & Nick’s deserves a lot of the praise it gets from national outlets.  It’s a fantastic neighborhood pizzeria and unlike anything you will find in the strip malls and downtowns throughout the Chicago suburbs  Chicago has such a reputation for the deep dish pizza but it’s this neighborhood pizza style that Chicagoans really identify with.

Vito & Nick's Pizzeria Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

One Comment leave one →
  1. jackie permalink
    August 18, 2017 9:46 pm

    It’s adirty shame after over 25 years we must take this pizzaria off our list. We bought a small cheese, sausage, mushroom and green pepper pizza but to have to pay $30 for 4 drinks is rediculous. This is getting out of hand with drink charges all over. From now on we order pizza to be delivered and make our own drinks. Thanks for the memories.

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