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The best pizza?

April 1, 2009 - Ron Deuter
Pizza is one of my favorite meals. As a former resident of the Chicago area, one thing I took for granted was easy and seemingly endless access to some of the nation’s best pizzerias. I’m not even talking about the popular places that many people outside of Chicago probably have heard of such as Lou Malnati’s, Pizzeria Uno, Giordano’s and the others. All excellent in their own right, but my all-time favorite places are the local ma and pop pizza joints that exist on just about every block in Chicagoland.

Two of my favorites when I lived in Chicago’s far northwest side were Marie’s Pizza on Lawrence Avenue and Manzo’s on Irving Park Road. Marie’s, a liquor store/bar/pizza restaurant that feels like a hangout for the Outfit, specializes in a super-thin crust. Match that up with a cold Old Style draft, and life is real good. Manzo’s provides the thickest and best-tasting deep dish I’ve ever had. I never in my life lifted a pizza box as heavy as a Manzo’s large deep dish. You seriously have to support it from underneath or the pizza might drop through the bottom of the box.

When I lived in the southwest suburbs there was a place in my neighborhood called Pizza Cucina I frequented. If I’m visiting my parents in the northwest suburbs, Wayne’s Pizza in Arlington Heights is a must for thin crust. Aurelio's is king in the southern burbs where my wife is from. The list goes on. You name an area of Chicago, I can probably tell you a good place to eat pizza.

Now, I know the Iron Mountain area will never compete with what I had available for pizza choices in Chicago, but I’m not letting that stop my search for the area’s best pies. So far I’ve tried the likes of Main Street, Pizza Pete, Spud’s Bistro, Greenleaf’s and Blackstone. When I picked up a pizza at Spud’s the other night, I noticed the north side had a few closed down pizza places. Was this once a hot bed for good pizza in Iron Mountain? I think I am going to hold out on naming my favorites until I’ve tried a few more places, including Bimbo’s. But I do have to say that the Infield in Crystal Falls makes a well-worth-the-drive pie.


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