Q: Tell us a bit about your pizza tours and what folks can expect from them.
A: Basically, each of our tours lets guests experience and taste four different styles of pizza in three hours. I wanted to make a point to get to the areas outside of River North and the Gold Coast, where 85 percent of the tourists go. We cover Sicilian, Neapolitan, Roman and, of course, deep-dish, but not the deep you’re probably thinking of.
I lead a bus tour on Saturdays at 11 a.m., then we have a stable of trained and enthusiastic “doughcents” who know pizza almost as well as I do, but they share my passion. They lead the three walking tours we offer each week (11 a.m. in the West Loop on Saturdays; 3 p.m. in West Town on Saturdays; 11 a.m. in Bucktown/Wicker Park on Sundays).
Q: Why is Chicago the best pizza city in the world?
Our sheer diversity and range of styles. Unlike New Haven, Conn., which has mainly one style, or New York, with its five styles, we have 10 styles of pizza to choose from, and I think that having a seriously deep bench of pizza to choose from is why we are “Pizza City, USA.”
“For some reason, (Chicago is) in a taco-and-fried-chicken-sandwich rut right now, which I hope we get out of. But our talent level, at companies like the Boka Group, One Off Hospitality, HogSalt and Alinea Group, are incredible forces to be reckoned with.”
Q: Explain the Chicago restaurant scene right now.
A: We have everything from the molecular experimenters to the mom-and-pop neighborhood ethnic joint. We’ve been seeing a slow decay in terms of fine dining, however, with a lot of classically-trained chefs moving on to more casual pursuits. For some reason, we’re in a taco-and-fried-chicken-sandwich rut right now, which I hope we get out of. But our talent level, at companies like the Boka Group, One Off Hospitality, HogSalt and Alinea Group, are incredible forces to be reckoned with, no matter which city you’re from.
Q: Any info on your book you want to share?
A: Yes, it’s available for pre-order on Amazon! Pizza City, USA: 101 Reasons Why Chicago is America’s Greatest Pizza Town comes out Sept. 15, and we’ll be having pizza parties all over town. Visit PizzaCityUSA.com for more information and SteveDolinsky.com for my blog.