I read about Vito and Nick’s Southside Chicago pizzeria about the time I moved to Chicago in the Fall of 2013 on one of my favorite Chicago food and entertainment blogs, Lottie & Doof. As a sucker for legit thin crust pizza, I had my heart set on getting there since that moment, yet it’s 30 minutes South of the city and being without a car, only meant I needed to find fellow pizza lovers to drive me there. In fact, chances are that if I met you in the past year, you likely heard me talk about it and try to rope you into joining me. Lucky for me, some very loyal friends insisted on celebrating my birthday and making this dream come true for a simple Saturday lunch excursion. While we arrived not too long after 11:30am, it was just beginning to attract customers.
Vito and Nick’s has a dive-y, neighborhood joint feel to it, complete with twinkle lights, and classic bar stools, true to it’s 58 year-old history, even though the founding family with Sicilian roots started cooking in the neighborhood almost 90 years ago. The hot pizza came out pretty quickly and hit the spot on a chilly day; the crispy thin crust was just what I expected, a crunchy base to each tasty, cheesy bite. As a sauce girl when it comes to pizza, I appreciate that the sauce and cheese are spread very close to the crust’s edge. I also appreciated the square slices and that they didn’t conform to the ubiquitous triangular pieces over the years. I’ll have to try the spicy giardiniera topping next time!
In 1965, namesake Nick was quoted as saying, “We will never deliver, if they want a truly great pizza, they will come in for it.” And, we are so glad we did! You can dine-in or pick up the pizza for take-out.
According to my coworker, I couldn’t visit Vito and Nick’s without a stop at nearby legendary ice creamery, The Original Rainbow Cone on 92nd and Western. When we arrived for a post-pizza treat, I was instantly excited by the pink clay exterior. What color besides pink would be appropriate for an ice cream shop? I can’t think of anything more appropriate! We stopped in just in the nick of time since it would be closing for the winter season until March the very next day! But, we still got to taste the iconic 5-flavor packed ice cream cone. In order of top to bottom, the flavors are orange sherbet, pistachio, Palmer House (NY vanilla with cherries and walnuts – and a hint of amaretto/almond flavor), strawberry, and chocolate of course. My favorite was the pistachio, with nut pieces dispersed throughout. The consistency was dense and creamy, and the combination of flavors and textures comes together into one perfect lick.
After researching the history, I was amazed to find out that the almost 90-year-old south Chicago dessert spot became popular when it opened in 1926 in area that was becoming a major driving route, and that it became a regular stop for families after visiting nearby cemeteries. I cannot think of a better way to brighten up someone’s day and celebrate life! I was honored to celebrate life for my birthday with one of the last Rainbow Cones of the season.
Catering, Events, and Sweet Notes
I also hear their ice cream cakes are a must-have for birthdays and group gatherings, if you can carve out the time to stop in the neighborhood and pick it up from their freezer. I bet adding a layer of cake with all the flavors would just be the icing on the ice cream cake! Their banana splits and shakes are sure to be winners too, as well as rotating featured ice cream flavors during peak season like Peanut Butter Chocolate, Bubble Gum, Banana, Cookies & Cream, Cookie Dough and more.
Also, even though they’re closed for the season, you can call or email for ice cream quarts and pick up on December 13th. Check the website for details. Or, cater pre-packaged cones or Rainbow Cone ice cream cups for events, or arrange for their freezer cart to come to your celebration.
*A special thanks to Nikki, Monica, and Rachel for such a memorable birthday field trip!