Sunday, May 3, 2009

Q's Pizza in Hillside

-The other Chicago-style pizza: Tavern Style

Q's Pizzeria located on Butterfield Rd in Hillside is a spot that is new to me but not so new to anyone from the area. As you can tell from my other pizza stops I am all about the tavern style extra thin and crispy style of pizza. The tavern style thin is a forgotten part of Chicago's pizza scene and there are only so few left. What remains a constant in all these Chicago taverns serving pizza is that most were started in the 1950's. Q's pizza is an old school Italian American Midwest style restaurant. They still start you off with the bread basket with the little packages of crackers, homemade spicy bread and breadsticks with cups of butter. These tavern style pizza places founded in the late 40's or early 50's aren't just limited to Chicago and seem to pop up all along lake Michigan and in the great lake states. You can be sure to expect some postings on other old-style tavern pizza stops of the Great Lakes region.

If they haven't changed the sign they probably haven't changed original recipe

I can pretty much tell upon sight if a place is good or not. I'm all about the old school (born in or before the 50's) family owned pizza spots that are fading fast. The lighted sign was the first sign that Q's was serious. Then we entered it had everything going for it. The bar had a bunch or regulars watching basketball who watched us as we entered knowing they had never seen us before. It was a nice sized place that could fit a good amount of people and it was about half full with parties of people from 2-15. Some people were dressed in nice suits, some jeans and shorts and lots of high school kids still in their baseball stuff that came straight from a game. Part of what makes a Chicago pizza tavern so good to me is the old school atmosphere and it was great at Q's. It is still owned by the original family and is the same now as it was then. So far so good.

When we sat down they had the old school paper place mat with the boxed ad's of local businesses, school and churches. Everything about it reminded me of an old school Chicago pizza tavern and Italian restaurant. Old school bread basket with crackers and breadsticks...check. Red and white squared table cloth...check. Old Style on tap? check. The only thing that was missing was the dim lighting. It was pretty well lit but that's no biggie for me. How was the pizza? well I must say it was just up my alley.

Q's thin with sausage

I loved everything about this pie and it had some good crispness to it and was cracker thin which is becoming less and less available in my experiences. I thought the crust and dough was some of the best of the best as far as this style. The cornmeal gave it a nice texture and taste on the bottom. There wasn't too much sauce to make it soggy and the sauce wasn't all that tangy and the sausage was good but also the weakest link. It didn't have quite as much flavor and fennel in it as I like but it was still better than most places sausage. The pie at Q's might be the best Chicago style thin outside the city limits. I really enjoyed and will be back plenty this summer to watch some Cubs games with the locals and have a beer or three with my tavern style pie.

Chicago style thin slice

Q's Pizza has risen close to the top of my list

Rating Scale 5/5

crust: 5
sauce: 4
toppings: 4
Crispness: 5

Score: 18/20

Q's Restaurant & Pizzeria
4841 Butterfield Rd
Hillside, IL

Q's Restaurant & Pizzeria on Urbanspoon


Unknown said...

Check out this video and menu of this Italian cuisine shop:

Anonymous said...

WOWust tried Q;s tonight with some friends. We drove deom Evanston and all agreed it was so worth it. Thanks for the tip.

Perry/Chicago said...

My grandfather used to take the family there in what must have been the late 60's/early 70's.
We'd start with the pizza bread, get pizza, and then all order entrees.
Still try and get there now and again.

But let me throw some pizza blasphemy your way:

Veal Parmigiana Pizza.

It sounds all wrong but it rocks.
Veal, ricotta, mozzarella all on that crisp crust.

I have taken friends there and told them this is what we are getting and have had them tell me "you are eating alone."
That lasts for about 2 minutes after the pizza arrives.

This is an odd ball that just transcends what should be allowed on a pizza, but somehow Q's pulls this thing off.

I got an XL in my future soon . . .


Anonymous said...

The first time my family and I were at Q's Pizza was 1973. It was the best pizza then and it is the best pizza now. I live in Florida, how I wish I had a slice right now.


Anonymous said...


I'm glad you discovered my beloved Q's. I was just there last week in the back room/private room for a family party. I've had plenty of family parties there over the years, and it was great to come home. The place was packed to the gills, as it always is on a Saturday night.

Places like Q's and Vito and Nick's are becomming fewer and far between these days. For Pete's sake, some of the same people are STILL working at Q's after all these years. Marie is STILL serving hungry customers just like she was some 30 yearss ago (at least). Q's to me was probably what Pat's was to you growing up. I'd pretty much put Villa Nova, Pat's, and Q's up against any thin crust pizza anywhere else in the world.

We need to get together for a Chicago pizza-a-thon soon. That goof Ed Levine ruined Serious Eats, so I'm barely over there anymore. From time to time, I still blog on LTHFORUM under the name "deepdish." Keep up the great work as always!

Rob "cpd007"


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