CHICAGO – In a town famous for its deep pizzas, tourists wouldn’t know that locals more often eat a thinner, tavern-style crust pie, topped with homemade Italian sausages and cut into squares, not slices – unless ‘they never went on a pizza tour.
Chicago is one of the few cities across the country, like Boston, Milwaukee, and New York City, with companies offering tours of the local pizza scene. Chicago Pizza Tours owner Jonathan Porter takes his customers on a bus ride around the city that includes four stops over 3 1/2 hours to sample a deep, tavern-style dish popular in Chicago and New York neighborhoods. other eclectic variations of pizza.
“It’s just a different way of seeing the city,” Porter said. “Make your way through the city. It’s always been designed to think outside the box.”
Bonnie Burchett, 64, of Winston-Salem, North Carolina, was on vacation weekend in Chicago with her husband when they went on the pizza tour.
“I love this sausage,” she said after having a bite to eat at Pizano’s, a downtown pizzeria with a deep butter crusted pizza and a tavern style that was the first stop on the tour.
Elizabeth Goodwin, 33, of Columbus, Ohio, was also on the weekend with her husband. They were able to try the Pizano Thin Crust at Coalfire to the west of downtown, tavern-style with sauerkraut at Flo and Santos on the south side of town, and Pequod’s deep dish on the north side.
“I’ve always wanted to try Chicago’s deep pizza, it’s famous,” Goodwin said. The couple took the tour, she said, because “otherwise we wouldn’t know where to go.”
The tour guide offers entertaining statistics as the bus travels from pizzeria to pizzeria. There are 2,200 pizzerias in Chicago. The thin crust sells better than the deep dish in Chicago, although the deep dish was invented in Chicago in the 1940s.
Miriam Weiskind, a tour guide with Scott’s Pizza Tours in New York City, was on the recent Chicago tour, wearing a t-shirt with a picture of a slice of pizza on it. She said she tried to focus on the ingredients of a particular pizza and explain to people on her tours “what’s in it so that at the end of the day they understand why they like it.”
• Chicago Pizza Tours offers bus tours almost daily at 11 am for $ 60. Check availability on http://www.chicagopizzatours.com
• Slice of Chicago Pizza Tours offers tours on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays at 11:30 am and 4:30 pm for $ 45. Check availability at http://www.sliceofchicagopizzatours.com
• Boston Pizza Tours offers two-hour guided walking tours of pizzerias in historic neighborhoods. There is a pizza and Little Italy tour and a pizza and historic taverna tour. Both are $ 39. Check availability at http://www.bostonpizzatours.com
• Milwaukee Food Tours offers a three-hour pizza bus tour select Fridays and Saturdays at 6 p.m. for $ 55. Check availability at http://www.milwaukeefoodtours.com/pizza-tour.php
NEW YORK CITY:
• Scott’s Pizza Tours offers bus tours for $ 60 and walking tours of Little Italy, Greenwich Village and the Lower East Side for $ 38. Check availability at http://www.scottspizzatours.com
• A Slice of Brooklyn Pizza Tour offers a four and a half hour tour for $ 80. Check availability at http://www.asliceofbrooklyn.com/pizza.html