Just after departing from the Chicago Pizza Tour, I zipped uptown to Lincoln Park with a friend to check out what is hailed as one of the city's best thin-crust pizza at Pat's.
I have absolutely no idea who Pat is or was, but the pizzeria was started by Nick Pianetto in 1950 out of his family home. The restaurant remained in its original location until a few years ago before ultimately relocating to its current location on North Lincoln Ave.
Check out these rows of booths with their own roof! I wasn't patient enough to wait for one of these cozy guys, so I dashed into a roofless booth and ordered a plain thin crust pie with a quickness. After trying Pizano's flavorless, undercooked take on this style, I was weary and set my expectations low. Then the pie arrived:
ThaswhaddImtalkinbout! A well-cooked thin crust pizza with a perfect balance of flavorful ingredients, Pat's knows how to make a good, solid pie. It came as a relief to see an undercrust with some color- something I had grown accustomed not to expect in Chicago.
This is the epitome of Chicago's take on thin crust; a minimalistic counterpoint to often overwhelming deep dish pizzas. Always cut tavern-style/party-style, leaving the crustless center squares the trickiest and greasiest to handle.
Honestly there wasn't anything profound or incredible about Pat's, it's just a real solid, tasty pizza that I would eat over and over again if I lived in the Windy City. Further, I think the pizza here struck a chord of nostalgia for me, beckoning my taste buds back to similar pies found at places like Carbone's in Minneapolis on which I was raised.
I was happy to scarf a pie that boldly asserted that not all thin crust in Chicago was a bland alternative to ordering a demanding deep dish, like some sort of boring younger brother of your best friend. No, at Pat's the thin crust pizza commands the attention and appetite of its patrons, and while you can order a deep dish here if you want, you'd be missing the point.