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Armand’s ’56 Supreme with sausage, pepperoni, mushroom, green pepper and onion

Slice of Life

by Rebecca Taras | Men's Book Chicago magazine | November 8, 2011

You don’t have to be a tourist to get a hankering for some Chicago ’za. But, these days that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s time to get out the electric knife to carve into the butter crust of an 80-pound deep-dish topped with boatloads of sauce, rivers of cheese and piles of seasoned meats. While our city will always be known for that simple-yet-perfect pie, there are a host of great new spots—dare we call them parlors?—in town providing creative, health(ier) and (perish the thought!), even NY-ish-style thin-slice alternatives to the Windy City original.

To Your Health
Fact: it’s harder to work off those cheesy carbs than it was back in college. Enter Naked Pizza, a New Orleans transplant opening in December for carryout and delivery in Lincoln Park. With “naked” being an attention-getting way of saying “all-natural,” the dough, sauce and cheese are free of additives, preservatives and chemicals. The core of this healthier creation is the crust, which is made with 10 different grains and digestion-aiding prebiotics and probiotics. The real calorie- and fat-saver is the cheese: a skim-milk mozzarella. Customize your pie or try one of the signatures like the superbiotic (artichoke, spinach, mushroom, garlic, bell pepper, red onion, cilantro). Skeptics can head to its website for nutritional facts. 953 W. Diversey Parkway, nakedpizza.biz

Man on the Run
If one of your biggest pizza pet peeves is the amount of time it takes for your pie to cook, go to Lincoln Park’s new Pizza Persona. The process is simple: Get in line, pick your dough, toppings, cheese and sauce, then wait four minutes for your feast to emerge from the oven. What better place to learn about pizza than college? Owners and former college roommates James Kinnaird and Jeffrey Zucker want their customers to discover their “pizzanalities,” as there are more than 11 billion combinations available. 614 W. Diversey Parkway, 773.327.8500, pizzapersona.com

Sinner Man
If calories aren’t an issue, then face your sins at Dante’s Pizzeria in Logan Square. While the consistency and foldable nature of the crust pays homage to the iconic New York slice, toppings like Italian beef remind you that you’re eating a Chicago pizza. Although it’s named after poet Dante Alighieri, you need not have read his Inferno to appreciate the signature pie, topped with nine rings of hell: spicy toppings like jalapeño, giardiniera and pepperoni strategically placed in a ring formation. Unless you’re taking a slice to go, all specialty and build-your-own pies are one size: 20 inches—or shall we say, huge. Sometimes it feels (and tastes) good to be bad. 3028 W. Armitage Ave., 773.342.0002

Wise Guy
California pizza? Mexican pizza? Fuhggetaboutit! The original, legendary Armand’s opened in Elmwood Park in 1956, featuring thin-crust and pan pizzas with a special sausage recipe created by the owner’s great-grandfather, a butcher on Taylor Street at the turn of the 20th century. You’ll find all the old favorites at the new Wicker Park location, including the olive-oil-based pizza nova, which is described on the menu as, “very thin, very rich, very Italian.” Now that’s amore. 2121 W. Division St., 773.698.7944, armandspizzeriaexpress.com