When a business opens up in your neighborhood with “pie” and “biscuits” in its name, you know you’re in trouble. Bang Bang Pie & Biscuits (bangbangpie.com; 4947 N. Damen Ave.; 773-530-9020) is as carbolicious as it sounds. The plain old scratch biscuit ($3.25), served with butter and jam, is divinely billowy, while other biscuits act as a vehicle for a mountain of toppings (and an optional egg), such as avocado, pickled onion, spiced pepitas, sunflower and sesame seeds, queso fresco and cilantro ($9.50); or pimento cheese, candied bacon, jam and a pickle ($7). And then there are the pies. Lemon bar. Samoa (like the Girl Scout cookie). Triple berry. You can buy by the slice ($5 to $6), or whole ($28 to $32). The staff here is so Midwestern-friendly that they won’t even judge you if you order an entire pie and ask for just one fork.
I know. You hear “pizza” and “Chicago” and you make some assumptions. But here’s the thing. Many of us locals only go out for deep dish when tourists request it, and we eat many other types of pizza, including the pizza prototype: Neapolitan-style. Spacca Napoli (spaccanapolipizzeria.com; 1769 W. Sunnyside Ave.; 773-878-2420) is, as our server explains, “the real deal.” The wood-fired oven, which cooks pizzas in 90 seconds, came from Italy and the pizza makers trained in the motherland. The pizzas are presented whole and the patron gets the honor of slicing. The tender crusts are pocked with charred bubbles. The cheese is baked in small, circular globs rather than a large, melty disc. The tomato sauce tastes bright and slightly acidic. It’s the kind of pizza you can actually call quenching, whether you’re devouring the Bufalina ($15.50), a simple pie made with San Marzano tomatoes, mozzarella di Bufala and basil; the Porcini e Carciofi ($18), a white pizza made with fior di latte cheese, porcini mushrooms, Sardinian artichokes and Parmigiano-Reggiano; or any other kind. Each is worth the wait for a table.
Silver is a writer based in Chicago. Find her on Twitter: @K8Silver.
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