I’ve been to Wauconda for pizza, so I have no trouble with Nick Kindelsperger’s opening question:

How far would you be willing to travel for the best deep-dish you’ve ever tried?

I’m talking about a picture-perfect pie, one with bright red chunks of tomato resting on a base of gooey, tangy cheese with tempting chunks of freshly made Italian sausage scattered about. It’s all held by a crackly and remarkably light crust that’s only about one-third inch thick in the middle. Toward the edge, the crust dramatically rises to form a towering perimeter that’s surrounded by a glorious ring of crispy, caramelized cheese.

It’s called Uncle Jerry’s Pizza, and it’s located in Cary, which is just to the southwest of Wauconda and straddles the Lake-McHenry Counties line.

2. DONE FOR ’21

If you read Louisa Chu’s piece on closing day at Mario’s Italian Lemonade—too late, it’s already closed for the year. You can spend the winter counting the days, and you’re not the only one, say owner Skip DePaolo:

“I like opening back up on a nice, cool day, hopefully raining and snowing even. Because as soon as we open, we get bombarded with all the die-hards that have been waiting six months for lemonade,” he said. “And if we’ve hired new people, they’re all a little green. They don’t have too many whiskers yet.”


It’s a review at Chicago magazine, but not quite of a restaurant. John Kessler checks out the groceries and pre-made food at Dom’s Market:

Alas, you can skip right over most of these prepared foods. Among other problems, a steak sandwich at the Stackup features tough skirt steak on a spongy roll with greasy giardiniera aïoli, and the pizza at the Bonci outlet is a shadow of the West Loop shop’s airy-crusted Roman-style pie. But the groceries rock : Count on excellent meat and seafood and quality vegetables, from collard greens to fennel bulbs to fresh turmeric. Plus, there are many finely sourced treasures to discover, like Solo di Bruna Parmigiano Reggiano, Counter Culture and Stumptown coffees, and fresh pasta from Wicker Park’s Tortello.


Steve Dolinsky visits much-beloved Birrieria Zaragoza for a chat about birria.

Speaking of The Hungry… er, The Food Guy, as noted last week, he has a new pizza book coming out: The Ultimate Chicago Pizza Guide. To some extent it’s an updated edition of his 2018 Pizza City USA book, which we talked about on Fooditor here, though he says that 50% of the restaurants listings are new. But it also takes something of a new approach, focusing on the new places that have opened since the pandemic began, the innovation in pizza styles—and it digs deeper into the history of many of these styles. Check it out when it comes out October 15.


Titus Ruscitti follows up on his Madison listicle for Eater, talking more about some of his favorite spots, including Toby’s Supper Club, which I went to in July on his recommendation, and loved:

Toby’s is the spot for lake perch on every day it’s not Friday but then also Friday’s too. Toby’s is one of my old stomping grounds (circa 2004) where I most always got a plate of lake perch with hash browns and cheese for my choice of potato. Plus a soup and relish tray. All for $20 (cheaper back when). A fancy night out for a college kid or a regular old Friday night out if you’re an experienced Sconnie. The atmosphere here was just as it’s always been. We had ab hour plus wait with the sun still up and half the patrons were in in red (Badgers gear). Meanwhile behind the bar Old Fashioneds were flying out at a rapid pace. Madison’s best supper club. The steaks are also popular.

Buzz 2


The South Side, I mean, as South Side Weekly publishes its annual Best of the South Side issue. They’re organized by neighborhood, but you can jump to the sections that have food content here. Check out the best Quesabirria (it’s at Birrieria Zaragoza), best paletas to chase as a small child (the Brighton Park section is all very flavorful), and the Best of Auburn-Gresham section, which is by Sherman “Dilla” Thomas—he does tours of the south side by bus and we did one on July 4.


The name Oooh Wee It Is tends to stick in the mind, so remember it when you get a craving for a signature dish after you read the Sun-Times’ piece on Pot Roast Cupcakes:

The appetizer is something people would usually see at a festival or out of a food truck — not necessarily at a sit-down restaurant. But the ingenuity of the dish and the balance of flavors makes it a perfect starter to set the tone for any meal at Oooh Wee It Is, which prides itself on serving “soul food with a twist.”

Meanwhile Block Club says the popular Chatham restaurant will expand into Beverly and Wicker Park soon. Oh, and it was one of Dilla’s choices in South Side Weekly.


We’ll read the story on any piece whose headline contains that phrase—it’s about Mission Control Arcade Bar in Rogers Park, where they have both.


Last week Chicago mag had a roundup of Chicago authors’ food books coming this fall—this week the Reader has theirs and they only have a couple of titles in common (including Steve Dolinsky’s new pizza book). Ones new to this list include a book of Korean vegan cooking from a Korean cook with a huge TikTok following, and the long-awaited erotic cheese bible from Erika Kubick of the Instagram account Cheese Sex Death.


Resy publishes a list of ten must-visit restaurants around the country—the sort of listicle that’s more for reading than anyone’s practical use, since it’s not enough choices in any one place to be useful. All the same, congrats to Galit as a choice for Chicago:

The $65 set menu here walks you through flavors both instantly familiar and just a bit more dashing and offbeat — as with a beet mezze that folds in black garlic and pumpernickel, or green beans that somehow incorporate both blackberries and the chicken-skin chicharrones known as gribenes. Trout with tomatoes, summer squash, Persian lime and labneh feels like a Midwestern staple with wanderlust, while [chef Zach] Engel’s pastrami carves a path through both eastern Europe and New York, with a detour through Yemen (!) in the form of the flatbread known as malawach. In other words, his cooking is both grounded in tradition, and boundary-less in the best way.

Actually, there are two: it also cites Roots Handmade Pizza, urging us to think of Quad Cities pizza as a legit Chicago style of its own.


Pretty exciting to see some old friends not only reopening but expanding. Edzo’s, the beloved burger spot in Evanston, is coming downtown for the first time, opening in the Urbanspace Washington food hall sometime this month, where it will be joined by Isla Pilipina, the Budlong and others. While TriBecca’s Sandwich Shop, from a couple of longtime Honey Butter Fried Chicken employees, which initially tested its Cubano at Revival Food Hall, is opening near Honey Butter, initially as takeout and delivery only, at 2949 W. Belmont; they’re focusing in particular on sandwiches from the central Illinois region, like a take on a loosemeat burger and a Horseshoe.


For my book, I was just interviewing a guy who’d been a server in the 80s and 90s, now retired to Ireland, and he mentioned offhand that he’s in a TV movie with a scene shot at The Bakery, Chef Louis Szathmary’s trendsetting restaurant in the 60s, 70s and 80s. So I had to track it down and see these places I’m writing about in their heyday. It’s a totally cheesy crime thriller with David Soul (Hutch) and Pam Dawber (Mindy) from 1983, called Through Naked Eyes, and it actually shows you three of the top restaurants of that era. Apparently there’s a good copy of it on Paramount Plus, but you can see it more fuzzily here on YouTube—a Biggs sequence starts at about 14:10, Gordon at 27:25 (look at all the Mario Buatta-era drapes!), and The Bakery, with Chef Szathmary ambling through the background, at about 33:15.


No new news on the We-Are-Not-A-Tiki-Bar Lost Lake front, but this Instagram post from Sweet Boys Club (which often satirizes the bar and restaurant scene) kinda nails the problem tiki bars face once they start listening to complaints that their papier mache volcano with a red bulb inside it is part of somebody else’s culture.


I ordered delivery from NoodleBird, the former Fat Rice’s popup—spicy grilled chicken, noodles with char siu pork, cabbage salad. It is something of a stripped-down menu, and maybe that’s the new world we’re in, fewer staff and simpler dishes that do one thing (that was how the ManBQue guys defined street food, it’s food you do one thing to, grill or boil or whatever). But as ever, chef Abe Conlon’s take on Asian flavors is distinct, more vinegary and pungent than you typically run across, and popping with flavor—which makes an interesting point; for all the talk about Fat Rice appropriating food that “wasn’t his,” a lot of different people have passed through Fat Rice’s kitchen since it opened, and yet there’s been, to my mind, a very consistent voice in that establishment with a consistent vision rooted in Macau. Whose could it be?

I found myself up toward the northwest side and remembered a pizza I wanted to try for a while—Pizzaboy, in Edison Park, with whom I’ve been Facebook friends for a while. They do at least four different styles of pizzas—I ordered a thin pizza and bought some slices from the glass case, which were Detroit style, puffy with cheese out to edge. The thin was fine, classic Chicago tavern cut, but I had some problems with the Detroit style—maybe things had hardened sitting in the case (though they looked pretty fresh), but I found it a very bready slice with a hard, crunchy crust that wasn’t necessarily pleasant to eat, and had mixed feelings about the toppings (one, with balsamic drizzled on it and a big blob of cheese, was way too sweet to even register as pizza). But as I was leaving, I also saw hand-tossed pizzas in the case (not sure what it’s called on the menu, which doesn’t seem to describe that style at all), and they looked first-rate. So I’ll be back to try more, someday, but in the meantime, as a longtime fan of Edison Park’s eternal 1995 of Italian food, I was charmed by the classic Italian places all having tables and chairs out on a closed-off Oliphant Street—very neighborhoody feeling. So I’ll probably be back for that, first.