Your donation will support the student journalists of the Evanstonian. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs. Contributions will appear as a charge from SNOSite. Donations are NOT tax-deductible.
Evanston’s Best Pizza
January 27, 2023
Pizza – the weeknight dinner warrior, the hot circle that attracts the hands of everyone of all ages and tastes, what other food has a party named after it? Many have their own feelings about what type of pizza is best, but one thing is certain, everyone appreciates a good slice. Around Evanston, there are many pizzerias, from high-end places that treat it like a craft to cheap, greasy options that still delight the palette. That, combined with Chicago’s notoriety for its signature deep-dish pies, creates an entrancing pizza environment. We asked Evanstonians their opinion on the best place to go grab a slice, and here are the results.
Winner: Gigio’s Pizzeria
Gigio’s Pizzeria is a local pizza shop in downtown Evanston, located at the corner of Davis and Maple. Founded in 1968, Gigios has been open for more than 50 years, and has long been considered one of the premiere pizza places in the entirety of Evanston.
The menu at Gigio’s is one of the most impressive aspects of the restaurant. Despite being first and foremost a pizzeria, Gigigo’s still boasts one of the most robust menus around. The vast selection of sandwiches alone would be sufficient to call this a good spot to eat, sporting multiple burger options (including an impossible burger), as well as corned beef and italian beef sandwiches, hot dogs, chili dogs, delicious gyros, and much more.
“I really like the fish, the tacos, and the meatball sandwiches, which is good given its a pizza restaurant,” says freshman Spencer Barbaro.
Beyond their sandwiches, tacos, and salads, the real highlight of Gigio’s is, of course, the pizza. Gigio’s pizza is absolutely delicious, and the by-the-slice attitude really helps, as you can enjoy hot pizza in minutes for less than six dollars. The quality is top tier as well. The pizza at Gigio’s is some of the best I have ever had, a sentiment echoed by the 4.4 star average across its 745 reviews on Google.
Barbaro agrees, “The crust was perfectly crisp and the cheese had an amazing mouthfeel!”
In addition to the delicious pizza, Gigio’s has other things going for it as well. The restaurant is located in one of the most accessible places imaginable, seated across the street from a Metra stop, and nearly central in the densest part of Evanston. The corner of Davis and Maple has been one of the most important factors in keeping Gigio’s in business for so long. Another one of these factors is the restaurant itself. A glowing, orange sign with big windows on both sides, and a memorable depiction of a man holding a pizza above the doorway help to really grab the attention of passersby and make Gigio’s stand out on its block. The interior is admirable too.
“The music is very fitting and there is a good amount of space between tables,” comments Barbaro.
With its reliable quality, local small business vibe, expansive menu, and amazing pizza, Gigio’s Pizzeria is a consistent classic and a favorite part of the Evanston food scene, and it might just be the best pizza in town.
Runner-Up: Lou Malnati’s Pizza
On Sherman Avenue lies Lou Malnati’s, a fan-favorite restaurant known for its spectacular pizza. Lou Malnati’s serves various types of pizza such as thin crust and deep dish, and they also have different food options which include wings, sandwiches, soups, and salads. The pizza they serve always has the perfect amount of cheese and fresh ingredients no matter what kind you order. Lou Malnati’s has a relaxed overall feel and great customer service too.
Senior Ainslie Stoolmaker and Freshman Gabe Black commented on why Lou Malnati’s is their favorite pizza place in Evanston.
Stoolmaker enjoys how Lou Malnati has reasonable prices for almost every one of their food items and states that Lou Malnati’s thin-crust pizza was the reason it became her favorite pizza place. Black agrees, “I love their pizza, whenever I want some pizza they are always available.” He also enjoys the service, saying, “The service is great!”
When asked what separated Lou Malnati’s from the other pizza places in Evanston, Stoolmaker said that it’s more of a sit-down restaurant compared to the other pizza restaurants in the area. She also appreciates how they have gluten-free options which most pizza places don’t serve. Gabe Black says that the restaurant gives him the most authentic feel and says, “It doesn’t seem like a normal chain that doesn’t have emotion behind it.”
When asked what their favorite dish is from Lou Malnati’s, Stoolmaker says the thin-crust pizza is due to how basic and simple it is. Black responded that his favorite type is Chicago style or thin-crust.
Keep an eye out for Lou Malnati’s the next time you want a delicious slice of fresh pizza!
Third Place: Union Squared Pizza
Union Squared is a favorite pizza spot among Evanston residents. Not only are their wide varieties of Detroit-style pizzas a favorite, the nighttime environment is one to remember at Union Squared. With its selection of pizzas, appetizers, salads, and even desserts, Union Squared is the perfect spot for a delicious dinner with family or friends. It has a convenient location close to downtown Evanston making it the perfect destination for students. The welcoming atmosphere and unique Detroit-style pizza make it a favorite for many ETHS students.
Sophomore Jamie Brourman touched on Union Squared’s environment, saying, “The Union Squared venue isn’t very big, but they have good service and a nice seating area for dinners with family or friends.”
Even though the venue is not very large, the restaurant is known for its kind employees and warm welcomes as customers enter the establishment. Union Square offers an outdoor patio in the summer months as well, which provides additional seating and a perfect spot to enjoy the weather outside while eating delicious food. In addition to Union Squared’s good service, its popularity also soars due to its long hours of 4:00-9:00 p.m. Sunday through Wednesday.
Similar to Brourman, junior Lilo Seyberth-Shea describes the service by saying, “they are always so kind and helpful when I call to make an order.”
Union Squared excels in all types of restaurant service, making it the perfect place to have an enjoyable experience.
In addition to its in-restaurant services, Union Squared is very unique in terms of the type of pizza it serves. It is known for its Detroit-style pizza, different from the deep-dish style Chicago pizza. Deep-dish pizza is a classic style that is very familiar to the state of Illinois, but Union Squared’s pizza is different. With a square shape and a perfect ratio of sauce to cheese, every slice contains the perfect bite.
Brourman touches on the restaurant’s uniqueness of pizza style for the area by saying, “Evanston has a lot of good pizza options, but I chose Union Squared as my favorite, mainly because I’m a fan of Detroit-style pizza, which is their pizza style. The crusts are really delicious, and the slices are a pretty good size!”
Seyberth-Shea agrees completely and says “my favorite pizza to get from Union Squared would be either the classic cheese or ham and, I know it’s controversial, pineapple. I like this kind of pizza because there is a lot of cheese on it.”
If you are ever in the Downtown Evanston area, Union Squared has excellent service, and its wide variety of pizzas and unique style make it an excellent place to have a delicious meal.