Dante’s Pizzeria, 3028 W Armitage Ave., (773) 342-0002, MenuPages
Chicago lacks a few things when it comes to ‘za: east coast style slices, BYO pie joints and references to Hell. With slices, specialty pies and a tolerance for bringing in as much tequila as you can carry, Dante’s Pizzeria presents a solution to the majority of our #1stworldproblems.
It’s been called “The Kuma’s of Pizza.” We won’t quite flag that as heresy (the Sixth Circle for all you honors students) if only because of the smoke-filled dining room, the over-the-top toppings and the satanic music seeping out of the kitchen. Luckily for us, there was no wait in the small storefront, however a Kuma-esque timeframe is not unheard of when ordering for delivery.
The specialty pizzas follow Dante’s script, and come exclusively in 20″ form so you can eat away your Catholic guilt. With our propensity for Bret Easton Ellis novels and gangsta rap, we naturally ordered from the Seventh Circle of the Inferno (in honor of sins of violence) and got the Minotaur. While it proved lacking in bull meat and horns, it packed a Mr. Beef-sized punch of garlic sauce, thick cuts of italian beef, giardiniera, provolone and salty mozzarella that, while delicious, carried a bestial rage into our collective digestive system. There was some bathroom purgatory to follow, but the italian-beef-sandwich-by-way-of-a-big-ass-pizza was well worth it. And whereas the chewy, bubble-studded crust might not have enough street cred for the likes of M.O.P., it’s got enough NY steeze to satiate your inner Ja Rule.
If you’re preferential to the Third Circle, get some cannoli for dessert. While the pizza is the star of the show here, they’ll certainly do for a drunken snack or pizza topping. At the least, Dante’s proves to be a great excuse to read up on your 14th century Italian poetry and/or Wikipedia; at the best, you’ll draw comparisons to your favorite pizza in the five boroughs. Either way, its worth a pit stop on your way to Hell, sodomites.