“There’s something about pizza that transcends age and race and sex and all borders,” says Chicago magazine’s deputy dining editor and food critic, Jeff Ruby. That’s the conclusion Ruby and Chicago’s dining editor, Penny Pollack, drew after scouring the country for their newly published comprehensive guide to the nation’s favorite flat snack, Everybody Loves Pizza (Emmis Books; $19.95). The book, now available in bookstores, details the dish’s history; deconstructs the native varieties in New York, New Haven, Chicago, and California; and gives some never-before-published recipes.
In a country crazy for pizza (Americans consume 350 slices every second), the New York versus Chicago pizza debate may never be resolved. “The words ‘love’ and ‘hate’ were tossed around a lot-young and old, people were hilariously passionate about it,” says Ruby, who honed his obsession as a pizza deliverer during grad school in Kansas. “We’ve learned never to say, ‘Jeez, it’s just pizza!'”
After consulting an army of experts, Pollack and Ruby picked the 546 best pizzerias in the nation, as well as eating their way from New York to California to compile the definitive top ten list. From Chicago, Pizano’s Pizza & Pasta (with locations in the Loop, the Gold Coast, and Wrigleyville) ranked number four. Which pizzeria came in first? Buy the book and find out.