864 N. State Street (GoogleMaps)
CPC invaded Pizano's on 2/9/06
I always have a warm spot in my heart for a bartender going above and beyond. I must just be a grouchy miser, but I hate tipping bartenders at dive bars when all I (can) order is MGD and all they have to do is reach down and twist the cap off. That just made a $3 beer a $4 beer. That's a 33% markup!! The bartender at Pizanos's, where I sat while I waited for our ever-punctual crew, was real bartender. He made mixed drinks well and quickly, lit cigarettes, told jokes, gave directions, hit on his female customers, and never let my glass get empty. I happily ponied up for this high quality service. You can eat at the bar if you like, but we were able to get reservations for our large party. It's not a large restaurant, so we took up most of the back room. It's typical Chicago in here; dimly lit, smoky bar, a straightforward menu and service.
This is Pizano's original location, established in 1991. They have a second in the Loop and a third somewhere in the vast wilds of Wrigleyville. The owner is a certain Rudy Malnati Jr. You know, the son of a Chicago legend, Rudy Malnati Sr. of the Pizzeria Uno, and I'm sure junior borrows something from that restaurant. It depends on who you believe, but Rudy Sr. was a bartender and manager and most people believe he helped create the special recipe and cooking style of deep dish pizza. Of course, he also has close ties to Lou Malnati's pizzeria since Lou is his brother. We're talking Chicago pizza royalty with these three restaurants and Rudy Jr is the forgotten son at this point. He does not have the fame of his brother and certainly not of his father, but the real important issue here is, how does his pizza compare to those pizza giants? For what it's worth, all you Penny Pollack fans should know that she declared it the best pizza in town in her book Everybody Loves Pizza by virtue of it being the only pizzeria in Chicago to make her nationwide top 10 list. So like I said, take her ringing endorsement for what it may be worth.
We ordered 3 pies:
- Deep Dish, Spinach and Garlic
- Thin Crust, Rudy's Special (Sausage, Green Peppers, Onion, Mushrooms)
- Thin Crust, Rudy's Veggie Special (Green Peppers, Onion, Mushrooms)
The CPC has not yet scored Pizano's.