Last in a series of testing out the various local brands of frozen pizza in Chicago. Vito and Nicks II is an offshoot of a 70 year old business, that started as Vito’s Tavern on the far south side of Chicago. They toiled hard, added a few food items, and son Nick joined Vito Barraco in the business in the early 1940s; the tavern moved, became Vito and Nick’s, and Nick’s wife made and sold the first pizza in 1945.
Business was brisk, the family prospered, and Nick’s son, expanded to other locations, under the name of Vito and Nick’s II, and several locations have popped up around Northern Illinois; one is open in Phoenix, and there’s a unit in the pipeline for Florida.
Customers started asking for frozen pies, and it became a sideline at one of the shops. The pies had always been made by hand with the freshest ingedients; the style was formulated back in the 40s, one of Chicago’s first “thin crusts”, and on the frozen pie box, they boast about the “cracker thin crust.”
More sales, a dedicated plant, and today Vito and Nicks II Frozen Pizzas are being sold in a number of states. My personal price point for a frozen pie is around six bucks, but this one, the sausage and pepperoni pie, clocks in at an even ten bucks, and 30 ounces, or around 33 cents per ounce. This is a good 30-40% above most brands.
The package promises that customers call this “The Best Pizza Anywhere,” “restaurant quality,” and “hand-made from scratch.” Easily, taken frozen from the box, this is one of the most handsome cook at home pies I have ever seen – it really does look like it’s from a pizzeria.
The instructions call for 450, on the shelf for around 18 – 20 minutes; a second set of instructions is offered for cooking the pie on your barbecue grill. I’ve had great results with pizza on the grill, it’s worth a try if you haven’t done it.
I removed the pie at 16 minutes, and it’s appearance is nearly equal to a hot pie from a Blodgett or Baker’s Pride deck.
And the taste? I like it. A lot. I can’t think of any part of it I’d want changed, except to note I always like larger pieces of sausage. But the flavor of the meats, cheese, sauce is spot on for pizzeria taste. V & N frozen has a noticeable (taste-wise) smattering of herbs, the only other company I can think of where that is evident is California Pizza Kitchen’s frozen pies. I like a strong herb taste on pizza.
While I complained about the $10 price tag, after eating this pie, I think it’s worth it, especially compared to the $20 -$25 you have to spend at a quality pizza shop. (No, I won’t go for the $5 or $10 specials from the big chains). I’d love to try one of these on a high quality home oven at 500 or 550. This has absolutely moved to the head of the pack for me, in favored frozen Chicago area pizza.
Guy Fieri slid into the original shop on one of his outings, and you can check out his stop in this video.
Vito and Nicks II Frozen Pizza