While Chicago is the birthplace of the deep dish pizza, you may also want to check out the thin crust pizza scene the city has going on. It’s no New York but there are plenty of delicious thin crust pizza shops around. A newcomer to the Windy City in the Lincoln Park neighborhood, Pizzeria Bebu, is helping to step up the city’s thin crust pizza game. The pizza dough at this restaurant is crispy due to quick baking times in their gas fired, brick lined oven. This crispy base can be complemented by an array of innovative and tasty topping choices that should satisfy all parties. Pizzeria Bebu is tucked away on a side street in the massive and upscale shopping area near the North/Clybourn Red Line stop. Both the outside and inside of the pizza shop are modern and sleek. The interior is narrow with one side dedicated to some tables and the other side a counter with some extra chairs and a view into the kitchen where heavenly pizzas are baked fresh throughout the day. It’s pretty small so unless you go during an off time expect a wait.
When I first visited Pizzeria Bebu I had no idea how small of a place it was so after another successful Pestering Pheasants band practice I invited everyone under the sun to come join us. After arriving and seeing the size of the place I had a feeling we would have a long wait but a large party did not come back when their table was ready so we were seated within five minutes! Having a larger party ended up paying off because we were able to sample basically every type of pizza the restaurant had to offer. Pizzeria Bebu allows you to get a pizza done half and half which is really nice if you are torn between a couple of flavors. Each pizza has eight slices which can be split if you are looking for a lighter meal or devoured all by yourself if you want a pizza feast. This pizza shop has other items beyond pizza as well featuring salads such as beets and farro, appetizers like meatballs, desserts including cannoli, and beer to wash it all down. My friend Molly has an obsession with beets and ordered the beets and farro salad which was refreshing and tasty topped with sheep’s milk feta and cabernet vinaigrette.
As I mentioned before, our table went ham and almost ordered every type of pizza available. Each person had their own pizza and after hearing about a breakfast pizza called the Bagel Smuggler from a friend I ordered this extra pie for the table. The Bagel Smuggler is their Carbonara pizza which includes caramelized onion, house-made pancetta, farm egg, scallion, and black pepper but on top of an everything bagel dough crust. This pizza was certainly in my top three I tried as the bagel dough crust and topping combination made for an interesting and unique eating experience. Some other pizzas that were ordered at the table included the Carbonara, Funghi (panna, wild forest mushrooms, roasted garlic, ricotta, pecorino, aged balsamic), Ode To Rubirosa (vodka sauce, tomato, nutless pesto, fresh mozzarella), Prosciutto (panna, roasted garlic, prosciutto, fresh mozzarella, arugula, red onion), and Sausage and Broccoli Rabe (house made Italian sausage, mozzarella, broccoli rabe, ricotta). The standout of these pizzas was the Prosciutto which had a delicious salty flavor combined with the crunch of the crispy crust and arugula.
Another pizza that we ordered that was pistachio flavored was certainly unique but not a favorite of mine. However, others really enjoyed the Taleggio pizza that included pistachio, Calabrian honey, and chives. A hands down favorite at the table was probably their most simple and plain pizza called the Soppressata. The pizza included soppressata which is a dry Italian salami, mozzarella, and Calabrian honey. The sweet honey paired with the creamy mozzarella and slightly spicy and salty soppressata made for a mouth watering pizza that I would go back for again anytime. After trying to eat the collection of pizza that I compiled I had a few leftover slices that warmed up perfectly in the microwave the next day for lunch.
There was really no pizza that I tried at Pizzeria Bebu that was bad. In fact, most were insanely delicious and all had differentiated flavors that made for a fantastic meal. Sharing is caring here so I recommend going in a small to mid-sized group to sample some of the types of pizza this shop is cooking up. If you are tired of deep dish pizza or just a thin crust lover, you definitely need to check out Pizzeria Bebu!
-Michael Averbook, Food Extraordinaire