Established in 1966, Salerno's Family owned pizzeria has put Chicago, Illinois on the map as having the best pizza in the country.
Joseph Salerno was born in Castrolibero, Cosenza, in the region of Calabria, Italy. The family's two room home was a gathering place for family and friends to enjoy the traditional flavors of Calabria. His passion for cooking dates back to this childhood years where he remembers preparing pizza in the brick oven found in the rear of the house.
Top 5 Chicago Thin Pizzas (City) By Steve Dolinsky on October 30, 2015
This family-friendly restaurant in West Town has been around since 1966 - they have another location in Oak Park. Pizzas take about 25 minutes, but they're worth the wait. Normally, smaller pizzas are cut into wedges, but if you get a 12" or larger, they cut it into squares, a la tavern-style. The crust here differed from many of the usual tavern-style pizzas, in that it actually had some dimension and some cracker-like qualities. They let the raw dough sit in the mixer, uncovered, for a few hours, allowing for a warm rise; after punching down the dough, they transfer it to a cooler where it continues to rise overnight. It wasn't one solid mass throughout, but rather, contained tiny layers of delicate crust inside, and you could actually chew it; it also absorbed the zesty tomato sauce (California plum tomatoes) and the shredded provolone-mozzarella blend, which, incidentally, covered the entire pizza like a shiny yellow shield. Pepperoni had a slight bite to it, but the mild, homemade sausage was the star. Even though I had tasted six pizzas previous to this one on that particular day, I still managed to eat a full three pieces, which says a lot. They bake their pies in a gas-fired, rotating deck oven that can hold up to 80 pizzas at a time, baked at 550 degrees. "Electric does not cook it," says owner Pete Lia. "We tried, but it doesn't cook the meat, so we turned back to gas. Michael Jordan used to tell me, 'you make the best pizzas in the world. Not just Chicago, the world!'" Take that, Oprah.