In the mid-70s, two Chicago restaurants -- Nancy's and Giordano's -- began experimenting with deep dish pizza, but what they created instead was the beloved "stuffed" pizza.
Nancy's founder, Rocco Palese, based his creation on his mother's recipe for scarciedda, an Italian Easter pie from his hometown of Potenza. Similar to deep dish, a thin layer of dough forms a bowl in a high-sided pan and the toppings and cheese are added. Then an additional layer of dough goes on top and is pressed to the sides. That extra layer of crust is the difference between the two.
My recent trip to Nancy's Pizza in Niles, showed that they're really confident in their pie. The simple storefront restaurant is easy to miss, but step inside and you get red leather booths and a comfortable, relaxed atmosphere. Service is friendly but not pushy.
The menu covers your Chicago-Italian standards such as Italian beef, pastas, and of course pizza.
The pizza however is anything but standard. The thick and buttery crust is crisp and sturdy enough to hold the massive amounts of cheese and toppings. The slightly spicy sauce strikes the right balance between chunkiness and smoothness and really compliments all elements of the pizza perfectly.
Dinner for two with tip runs about $35, which is pretty good for such a satisfying pie.