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DISH: SAVOR Nick's Pizza & Pub
Special to the online edition of Windy City Times
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times.
2017-12-18

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If you want to know how cozy the newest Nick's Pizza & Pub ( 2434 W. Montrose Ave.; NicksPizzaPub.com/chicago-pizza-pub/ ) is, look no further than the crunchy floors.

Yes, you read that correctly—and the floor's crunchiness is due to the hundreds of peanut shells that patrons are encouraged to toss on the floor while eating the bowls of the legumes that are on the tables. While some would be aghast at seeing this, some people ( particularly kids ) are all over this tradition.

However, this isn't the only tradition the place honors. As founder Nick Sarillo told another journalist and myself ( and which the other writer already knew ), there is a tradition of dipping pizza in ranch dressing.

In all my years on this planet, this is something I had never done—and it's something I couldn't imagine doing. However, it wasn't exactly life-changing ( although combining Nick's homemade ranch with the spot's onion rings is another matter ).

And I don't think the lack of wonder had anything to do with the dressing; it had to do with the quality of the pizza. As far as I'm concerned, if the pizza is already quite good ( and I'm not knocking the onion rings ), it doesn't need the enhancement—and the pies at Nick's are very delicious, indeed. One example is the Nick's Special, which is actually not that special, ingredient-wise ( mozzarella, sausage, mushrooms, onions and green peppers ). However, it's the little touches—like putting the vegetables on top of the cheese instead of the other way around—that sets the pizza apart.

There are plenty of other delectable items as well. The beer nuggets ( meant to be paired with the drink ) are deliciously doughy, and there are other appetizers/entrees like bacon cheddar fries, fried mushrooms, Italian beef sandwiches ( really incredible ), calzones, Nick's Eggcellent Burger and other tasty ( if not necessarily healthful ) offerings. And you should seriously consider the double-decker pizza ( two layers of thin-crust pizza, meat and vegetables knotted together at the crust ).

Sarillo ( also the author of A Slice of the Pie: How to Build a Big Little Business ) also talked about his employees and treating them like family. My favorite tenet that he mentioned was that employees should basically act and talk as if their grandmothers are present. ( I commented that people should treat social media the same way. )

So, be prepared for Nick's Pizza. You will leave the Lincoln Square spot with a full stomach and a ( more ) educated mind—or at least the former if you're familiar with the restaurant's traditions.

Note: Restaurant profiles/events are based on invitations arranged from restaurants and/or firms .


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