Get a slice of Chicago culture on pizza tour

  • Participants on a Chicago Pizza Tours sample slices of thin-crust pizza at Coalfire pizzeria west of downtown. Chicago is one of a handful of cities across the country, like Boston, Milwaukee and New York, with companies that offer tours of the local pizza scene.

    Participants on a Chicago Pizza Tours sample slices of thin-crust pizza at Coalfire pizzeria west of downtown. Chicago is one of a handful of cities across the country, like Boston, Milwaukee and New York, with companies that offer tours of the local pizza scene. Associated Press

  • A cook puts a thin-crust pizza in the oven at Coalfire pizzeria, which is one of the stops on the Chicago Pizza Tours.

    A cook puts a thin-crust pizza in the oven at Coalfire pizzeria, which is one of the stops on the Chicago Pizza Tours. Associated Press

  • At Pizano's in downtown Chicago, a waitress serves a cheese and sausage pizza, which is cut into squares not slices, to participants on a Chicago Pizza Tours.

    At Pizano's in downtown Chicago, a waitress serves a cheese and sausage pizza, which is cut into squares not slices, to participants on a Chicago Pizza Tours. Associated Press

  • A slice of deep-dish pizza gets served up at Pequod's on the North Side of Chicago. Chicago is one of a handful of cities across the country, like Boston, Milwaukee and New York, with companies that offer tours of the local pizza scene.

    A slice of deep-dish pizza gets served up at Pequod's on the North Side of Chicago. Chicago is one of a handful of cities across the country, like Boston, Milwaukee and New York, with companies that offer tours of the local pizza scene. Associated Press

  • Patrons on a Chicago Pizza Tours try tavern-style thin-crust pizzas and the buttery crusted deep-dish version at Pizano's in downtown Chicago.

    Patrons on a Chicago Pizza Tours try tavern-style thin-crust pizzas and the buttery crusted deep-dish version at Pizano's in downtown Chicago. Associated Press

 
By Caryn Rousseau
Associated Press
Posted9/28/2014 12:01 AM

CHICAGO -- In a city famous for its deep-dish pizza, tourists wouldn't know that the locals more often eat a thinner-crust, tavern-style pie topped with homemade Italian sausage and cut into squares, not slices -- unless they went on a pizza tour.

Chicago is one of a handful of cities across the country, like Boston, Milwaukee and New York, with companies that offer 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 hours to sample deep-dish, the tavern-style popular in Chicago neighborhoods and other eclectic pizza variations.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

"It's just a different way to see the city," Porter said. "Eat your way through the city. It was always designed to get people off the beaten path."

Bonnie Burchett, 64, of Winston-Salem, North Carolina, was on a recent weekend vacation to Chicago with her husband when they took the pizza tour.

"I like that sausage," she said after taking a bite at Pizano's, a downtown pizzeria with a buttery crusted deep-dish pizza and tavern-style that was the first stop on the tour.

Elizabeth Goodwin, 33, of Columbus, Ohio, was on a weekend trip with her husband, too. They were able to try Pizano's, thin crust at Coalfire west of downtown, tavern-style with sauerkraut at Flo and Santos on the city's South Side, and Pequod's deep-dish on the North Side.

"I've always wanted to try Chicago deep-dish pizza, it's famous," Goodwin said. The couple took the tour, she said, because "otherwise we wouldn't know where to go."

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The tour guide offers fun statistics as the bus travels from pizzeria to pizzeria. There are 2,200 pizza restaurants in Chicago. Thin crust outsells deep-dish in Chicago even though deep-dish was invented in Chicago in the 1940s.

Miriam Weiskind, a tour guide with Scott's Pizza Tours in New York, happened to be on the recent Chicago tour, wearing a T-shirt with a picture of a slice of pizza. She said she tries to focus on a particular pizza's ingredients and explain to people on her tours "what goes into it so at the end they understand why they like it."

Chicago

Chicago Pizza Tours offers bus tours at 11 a.m. most days for $60. Check availability at chicagopizzatours.com.

Slice of Chicago Pizza Tours offers tours at 11:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays for $45. Check availability at sliceofchicagopizzatours.com.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Boston

Boston Pizza Tours offers two-hour guided walking tours of pizzerias in historic neighborhoods. There's a Pizza and Little Italy Tour and a Pizza and Historic Tavern Tour. Both cost $39. Check availability at bostonpizzatours.com.

Milwaukee

Milwaukee Food Tours offers a three-hour pizza bus tour at 6 p.m. on select Fridays and Saturdays for $55. Check availability at milwaukeefoodtours.com/pizza-tour.php.

New York City

Scott's Pizza Tours offers bus tours for $60 and walking tours in Little Italy, Greenwich Village and the Lower East Side for $38. Check availability at scottspizzatours.com.

A Slice of Brooklyn Pizza Tour offers a 4 hour tour for $80. Check availability at asliceofbrooklyn.com/pizza.html.

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