Friday, August 31, 2012

Hie thee to Armitage for pizza sublimity

Posted By on 08.31.12 at 04:30 PM

Nighthawks
It took me a while to make it to Armitage Pizzeria—Lincoln Park's not among my usual haunts. But there J. Spillane, proud son of Worcester, Massachusetts, is plying his trade, re-creating the gas-fired east-coast-style pizza he grew up with. One of the original owners of Coalfire, he's a perfectionist down to the tap water in his crusts (the local H2O's a respectable stand-in for east-coast water, he says—"We're all in the rust belt"). Grab a stool or sit at one of the two high-top tables and you can watch him lovingly pat down and roll out his dough on a marble countertop.

The menu is compact: pizza (six, including a build-your-own option), calzones (three), salads (a house and a caprese), canned soda. And that's how it should be—what, you want buffalo chicken as a topping? Spillane's "Meat" is a triple threat of pepperoni, calabrese salami, and locally sourced Italian sausage, the judiciously applied tomato sauce and cheese atop the pliable thin crust a lesson to pile-on-the-yellow-mozz Chicago pizzerias. There's tomato pie, "like it sounds"; a white pizza, made with fresh basil; plain cheese—one customer took a picture to show his buddy what he was missing.

Spillane says there are a lot of east-coast transplants in Lincoln Park, and though he's not trying, much less pretending, to offer New York-style slices, it's the New Yorkers who give him the most guff. Philadelphians, along with the rest of us—even Yelpers—"just say 'ahhh.'"

Armitage Pizzeria, 711 W. Armitage, 312-867-9111; cash only, BYO, closed Mondays.

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