Dinos Pizza and Italian Restaurant Chicago Review

Dinos Pizza and Italian Restaurant Chicago Review

The Norwood neighborhood of Chicago, just off I-90 about 12 miles west of the Loop, has become a Little Italy of sorts; I’ve counted around two dozen Italian-centric restaurants, delis, bakeries, markets. Once every couple months I make a run down there and hit two or three of my favorite establishments.

Last Saturday was no exception,  I hit Sicilia Bakery for a New Orleans style muffuletta sandwich, some fresh bread and imported cheese,   over to Rex Italian Foods, for sausage, meatballs, more cheese, before ending up at Dino’s Pizza and Italian Restaurant.  Dino’s has a very extensive menu featuring all of your Italian favorites appetizers, soups, salads, sandwiches, and entrees.  I’ve only had the pizza and not been back since the “before times.”

So I was delighted to stop in and grab a 16″ thin crust sausage, green olives, and double cheese thin crust pizza, square cut, which we call “tavern style” in Chicago and it’s far more popular than deep dish.  About the latter?  Some people call that “tourist pizza.”  Maybe so.

For my money (and I’m the only vote that matters here) nobody makes a finer tavern style pie in Chicago than Dino’s. Crispy crust on the outside, chewy as you move inland.  Their hand-pulled sausage is just superb in taste, texture, and size.  Sauce is flavorful but not overpowering. Cheese is the perfect amount and melt-factor.

If I’m on my own, it’ll take me 2-3 days to work through a 16″ pie.  In my “salad days” (what?) I could have polished one-off in a single sitting.

The restaurant has a few large seating areas, offers party / event catering and delivery.  Six days a week there are specials, listed here, ncluding some AYCE deals.

I’d sure like to hit some of those, but they’d rue the day I sat down for any of them!

Dino’s is just five miles east of O’Hare if you’re stuck with a long layover or are on your way downtown.

In the meantime, here’s your “objet d’ drool.”

Dinos Pizza and Italian Restaurant Chicago Review

Dino's Italian Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Dinos Pizza and Italian Restaurant Chicago Review

Dinos Pizza and Italian Restaurant Chicago Review

Dinos Pizza Review – NW Suburban Chicago Illinois

Dinos Pizza Review - NW Suburban Chicago Illinois

Dinos Pizza Review – NW Suburban Chicago Illinois

Dinos Pizza Review - NW Suburban Chicago IllinoisThere still exists a “Little Italy” near downtown Chicago, but there’s not much Italian left to it, ‘cept or a once a year weekend festival. No, for me, Chicago’s “Little Italy” is more likely to be found around Harlem Avenue, south of I-90, in the NW suburbs of Norwood Park, Norridge, and Harwood Heights.

Got to be more pizza joints per square mile than anywhere else in Chicago.  I’m counting 16, and that’s not including the Italian deli/groceries,  of which there are several.

I’ve made the journey to the delis before, notably (reviews) “Nottoli” and “Rex.”  If I was forced to choose one or the other to patronize the rest of my life, it would be a very close call, but “Rex” would win out.  They have fewer groceries than Nottoli, but more hot “to go” meals, and for me, their meatballs are way ahead of Nottoli’s.

All that being said, there are 16 pizza places to check out, and one, in particular, I’ve wanted to hit for a long time.  Officially named “Dino’s Italian Restaurant” I suspect most patrons go for the pizza.  They have been around for over 60 years and that’s always a plus for me.

I ordered to take-out, but the joint was bustling for a post lunchtime Saturday afternoon, and it was one of those places where everyone seems to know each other. (“Hi, Norm!”).

Servers were affable, eager to please, and knew how to do their jobs.

The interior is homey and ‘neighborhood-y.’  Boy, I am making up the words today.

The Pizza

On to the pizza. I fully realize every person has their own preferences for pizza, and in Chicago, we have so many choices. Thick crust, deep dish, stuffed crust, double crust, pan,  sausage crust, no crust, and the one I prefer, a thin crust referred to in many local establishments as “tavern-style.”

Using Italian pastry/pizza flour (many places use regular flour, which for me, doesn’t give a great outcome, the ideal thin crust pizza sports a crust that is cracker-like, but not flakey.

It has some good “chew” to it, and because tavern-style pizza is cut in squares instead of triangular slices, there’s no “hang,” that is, the cheese and toppings aren’t going to slide off your slice when you pick it up.

Dinos Pizza Review - NW Suburban Chicago Illinois

16″ thin crust pizza with sausage

For my taste, Dino’s is perfect.

A medium application of flavorful tomato sauce, not too much, not to skimpy, and it tastes like (surprise!) tomatoes!  Too often pizza joints use sauce that has corn syrup solids as fill, and it becomes ultra-sweet – if it’s your thing, find, it’s just not for me.

Ample cheese, real cheese, again, not the kind blended with fillers.  Nice stretch, great taste, well melted.

Finally, the topping.  I went simple, Italian sausage.  Fantastic.  Hand-pulled chunks of sausage with fennel and garlic, great texture, nice size, not those god-awful preformed sausage pellets so many places use.

I bought the pizza to take home, a 40 minute drive, laid it carefully in the back area of the SUV. Thought I’d just sneak a peek before driving off. Damn, the aroma.  Ok, maybe one slice before I go.

Back in the driver’s seat, slice devoured, “Ok, maybe just one more.”

Managed some self-restraint after that second slice and drove away.  OK, I managed for about ten minutes.  Then another ten minutes.  A stop for a cola. Then another ten minutes.  And by the time I pulled into my driveway, the massive, 16-inch pie I had purchased has shrunk by half.  Oops.

Dino’s Italian Restaurant has a very lengthy menu that includes appetizers,  sandwiches, salads, soups, pasta, chicken dinners, fish, ribs, veal, steak and dessert.  You can see it online here, or there is the pizza page below.

Heck yes I will return. But next time I’ll know well enough to get one for the ride, one for home!

 

Dinos Pizza Review - NW Suburban Chicago Illinois

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dino's Italian Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
Dinos Pizza Review – NW Suburban Chicago Illinois

Dinos Pizza Review – NW Suburban Chicago Illinois