Papa knows best!

Deep-dish delights (DDDs). Cheese-meat-sauce-dough-fat bombs (CMSDFs). Pizza-bowl muffins (PBMs). Italian Sausage-stuffed pies (ISSPs). Baked mozzarella and marinara dream-boats (BMMDBs). Beer’s fatty sidekick / stuntdouble (BFS[s]). Hangover helpers (HHs). Greesy gut-filling friendlies (GGFFs).

Whatever pseudonym you (and your appetite) have conjured up, this delectable, savory treat will always refer to itself under one name: Chicago-Style Pizza.

Pizza = the secret to Bruce's shiny coat!

I like to consider myself a connoisseur of pizza for a few reasons:

1. Since solid food became acceptable to my digestive system around age 1, I’ve made sure to maintain a steady diet of pizza (average 2 – 3 times / week) to help me grow into the strong and limber woman I am today.

2. My best bud Tara and I started our very own Pizza Steering Committee with some of the coolies at work. This club, although incredibly exclusive and very secretive, enlightened our taste buds and effectively quenched our thirst for the zesty combination of meat, cheese and marinara sauce on a bi-weekly basis.

3. I’ve had my share of pizza at a variety of times during the day: breakfast, lunch, dinner, and even forth meal (originated by Taco Bell, ironically). Re: breakfast – I must say, those Italians know their coffee cake. HA! Get it!? Italian coffee cake = pizza? Give it a minute.

4. My favorite part about pizza is eating it. I don’t get into the highly scientific sniff test or discuss the consistency of the dough with my fellow pizza-scarfing cronies. When a pizza is plopped in front of my face, I get right down to business, no questions asked.

5. I think calzones and hot pockets are disgusting posers! Nothing infuriates me more than a party sans-pizza yet avec pizza rolls. Don’t even bother inviting me, I’ll just throw the garbage on the floor and jump out the window in the name of pizza. Hopefully I’ll have my pizzachute with me.

6. If anyone ever spelled pizza with a “K” … I’d punch them with a pepperoni. (I got that one off of our ol’ PSC twitter account … which I urge you to find because it’s hilarious if I do say so myself)

So, bottom line, I love pizza. But here’s the kicker: my favorite pizza is not some hidden gem serving deep-dish-delights by the slice on lower-Wacker. It isn’t some famous parlor, neitha! So what is it, you ask?

It’s Papa Johns. You read me right.

Sauce in non-eco friendly tubs!? Yes please!

I love everything about Papa Johns. I love its sweet-sassy-zesty sauce, its not-very-but-sorta-greasy cheese, its non-creepy-nor-mystery meats, it’s fresh veggies (and plenty of them), its soft, soft, sweet dough (like a lovers touch!), its plethora of tantalizing sauces (who needs milk for calcium when you have a vat of aromatic and tasty garlic butter!?) … not to mention Papa’s ease on my bank book. Thanks for dinner and now the ability to buy more pizza or maybe go on a trip somewhere, Pappy!

So there you have it. In a city full of “chicago-style-pizza” … I still place all pepperoni on Papa. When it comes to meat and cheese pies, these papa-cats know what’s up.

Although I am ashamed to admit it, infidelity has wedged it’s way into my relationship with Papa since my move to Chicago. I think he understands, though, deep down … seeing that I am in deep-dish territory and he doesn’t really have anything deeper than 1″ to keep my heart and stomach from wandering into another Italian’s parlor.

So, to be fair (and completely transparent to Papa), here are some other Chicago pizza joints I’ve tried and rather liked:

1. Sunday specials include a free growler of microbrew (YUM!) with any large pizza purchase.

2. This pizza, when enjoyed on-location, appears as a delightful pizza-shroom and is served in a bowl in which it is baked. Unbelievably delish.

3. Cdubs introduced this deep-dish-delight to me, and for that I am forever grateful.

4. If you want an absolutely delicious thin-crust pizza with fresh everything, go with Pete’s. Fast delivery too. Plus you can get a side of BBQ ribs or manicotti if you so desire.

5. Delightful deep-dish, BYOB, unbelievably peppy and friendly waitstaff.

6. Hipsters rejoice – this place is delicious, hip (pitchfork’s soundtrack buzzing overhead) and all-organic. Eat real!

7. (or as Cdubs calls it: Happy Clown Pizza) I haven’t had the pleasure of meeting this greasy-pie-spoon joint as of yet, but Cdubs has and he wholeheartedly approves.

OK Chicagoans and non-Chicagoans who know pizza in Chicago: what am I missing? Any suggestions? Give me the scoop on the pies, but don’t tell Papa.

About Kristi Zimmerman

When I'm not navigating the interwebs as an internet marketing consultant, I'm either participating in a community theater production, running a local race, scoping out new Indie music or playing fetch with my cat, Bruce.
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10 Responses to Papa knows best!

  1. says:

    Gino’s is good, but takes forever. My fave is prolly Giordano’s. Since my brother owns a bunch of Dominos, I usually opt for that over Papa Johns (the new Dominos recipe is really good, too). Perhaps you should also delve into the world of frozen pizza, restaurant pizza’s perky little brother. Home Run Inn frozen pies are pretty good, but the best out of the freezer section has to be Butch’s. Ah, pizza…how do I love thee? Let me count the ways…

    • Kristi Zimmerman says:

      I don’t think I’ve had Gino’s yet, but want to try it. I just have to wait for Papa to go out of town for a little bit. HRI is Cdub’s favorite … but I prefer Tombstone. Butch’s white pizza is out of this universe … damn this is all making me very hungry.

  2. says:


  3. Tara says:

    You know, when I first read the title of your new blog post I thought it was going to be your dad’s advice on moving in Chicago….hah…boy oh boy was I pleasantly surprised! Obviously I am not in the Chicagoland area so can’t not offer advice on the best or good pizza there but am proud that my fellow pizzamate is on the path of the pizza-pert, in layman’s terms ‘expert of pizza’, in the Chicagoland area. It goes without saying the numerous lands to explore there will keep you occupied for years, neigh months. I will leave you with this quote of inspiration on your quest for the topper of papa “I like pizza. Pizza looks up to us. Pizza looks down on us. Pizza treats us as equals.” Winston Churchill and Tara Desmond

    • Kristi Zimmerman says:

      “pizza is life … ’nuff said.”

      I’ll never forget one of your finest, Tara: “Some people like to talk about the circle of life. That’s all fine and good, but I prefer the circle of pizza.”


      “sometimes when I cry, I wish the tears could be pizza, because then I could eat them and not feel so sad. Pizza has great healing properties.”

  4. Jacq says:

    We have a Gino’s by me!!! Next time you come out we are going there.

  5. says:

    This is so funny, because yesterday I saw a squirrel outside my door eating pizza and I thought of you!

    • Kristi Zimmerman says:

      What’s even weirder is I had a dream last night that Subway was doing a promotion to save the squirrels!

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