Crispy, crusty tavern pies, with edge-to-edge toppings, are showing up on menus from coast to coast. Here's the best places to get them in the US.Less
A year and a half ago, chef Greg Baxtrom opened this namesake, Crayola crayon-hued, kid-friendly Midwestern eatery. In February he added tavern-style pies. “I started doing it because it’s what I grew up on,” the chef says. He ferments his dough for 48 hours before rolling it paper thin and then drying it in front of a fan to create the style’s signature cracker-like crust. Fennel sausage, peppers, onions, and pecorino are his take on the classic Chicago-style pie.
Lichterman launched Windy City Pie out of his Seattle home in 2015; now, he runs it from an unfussy, art deco-styled dining room in Phinney Ridge. After nearly five years of research, he added tavern pizzas to the menu. In addition to a build-your-own option, he’s serving two of his own arrangements: the Starkness ($25), made with red sauce, mozzarella, roasted garlic, pepperoni and mushrooms, and the Dolinsky ($23), an ode to the renowned pizza expert, with housemade Italian sausage.
Pizzaiolo William Wells took some liberties when developing the naturally leavened, tavern-style pie crust for the retro-styled Cicoria. While tavern-style dough is typically made with butter, Wells swaps in olive oil to yield a more flavorful, less greasy version that he fortifies with locally grown and milled grains. The crispy pizzas, called “party cut” on the menu, range in price from $16 to $22. They come loaded with classic toppings and seasonal options.
The al fresco dining spot features a variety of the Chicago native’s expertly made pizzas, alongside Italian liquor-focused cocktails. Patrons choose a crust type: the popular tavern-style; thick, chewy grandma; or classic, thin, triangle New York. Then they add such toppings as the $24 Sausage & Pepper (red sauce, Italian sausage, red peppers) and the rich and tangy Humboldt Pie (a $26 plethora of toppings that include vodka sauce, pepperoni, pineapple, red onion and ranch dressing).
The small stone storefront in the Chicago suburb has been a pizzeria since the 1970s. Last summer, Billy and Cecily Federighi and Brad Shorten opened their own retro-vibed pizza spot. The original wood paneling has been updated, and a stash of vintage bowling trophies greets customers at the door. But the centerpiece is the enamel-steel, gas-fueled 1950s-era Faulds oven equipped with four rotating decks that cook tavern-style pies evenly.
Among the fancier locations to find tavern pizza is this restaurant in the Four Seasons Resort and Residences Napa Valley. Top Chef Season 15 alumnus Rogelio Garcia was inspired by the cracker-thin crust, which he believes is the “perfect vessel for seasonal Napa Valley ingredients and produce.” Last winter he offered an Alba white truffle option; the current menu has a summer-oriented barbecue pie topped with charred cauliflower, serrano chilis and cheddar, for $28. Try it alongside a local ros
Chef Miles Shorey (of Roberta’s in Culver City) bakes round, thin-crusted pies dusted with spice and loaded with Indian flavor including such toppings as Kashmiri chili coriander-imbued turkey kofta balls ($25) and tandoori onions. The crowd favorite is the Green Chutney Pijja, inspired by a popular Mumbai street food cheese sandwich. The tavern pizza iteration combines subtly spiced green chutney over fenugreek-accented tomato sauce, topped with grated mozzarella.