- 4835 W. 111th Street
- Alsip, IL 60803
- (708 ) 423-9100
- No Known Website
Valentine’s Day wasn’t the typical Valentine’s Day for J and I. We had another commitment that took precedentover a romantic night out. No worries. We had our night on Friday night instead. On Valentine’s Day, after we got done with what had to be done, we started thinking of places to go eat that wouldn’t have a huge wait or be swamped with people. Most of the usual suspects were booked up, but I remembered a place we have driven by many, many times and never stopped at. The real funny thing is my brother was raving about a pizza he had in Matteson which is about a half hour away. I finally figured out the name of it and realized there was another location right down the road from J’s parents. Even though it had been there most of her life, J had never eaten at Nino’s, so thought we’d give them a shot. To make this even better, a friend of ours from Peoria told us some time ago that her family actually owns the Nino’s in Alsip…still, we had never stopped in for a pie.
Nino’s Pizza is near the corner of 111th and Cicero right on the city limits for Alsip and Oak Lawn. It’s a rather old building with neon tube signs on the front and side of the building. It looks like a throwback pizza parlor. J had called before we left to see if they had a huge wait and they said we’d be ok if we could get there in twenty minutes or so. I had a feeling a pizza place wouldn’t be packed on Valentine’s Day and I was right for the most part. The place was full, but there was no wait. We found a parking spot and headed towards the entrance which is on the side of the building.
Once inside, we were met by a hostess who said she had four tables and we could pretty much just pick. We took one fairly close to the door so J’s parents, who were meeting us there, could find us. The decor is very rustic. There is a lot of those thatched wood panels that you see on patio’s. They even made a drop ceiling out of them. There are several old chandelier’s scattered throughout the joint. The tables are topped with the typical red and white checkerboard table cloths. There are a number of old, wooden booths scattered throughout, but they looked pretty small like they were meant just for couples.
It took a while, again, for a waitress to notice us. We were all pretty much just in the mood for pizza and beer. We started off with a pitcher of Miller Lite and then ordered two medium pizzas. One was plain cheese. The other was Italian Beef. It took about twenty minutes to get our pizza which is what the menu said it would take. The Italian Beef was set down in front of me and J’s step dad. The cheese pizza went between J and her mom.
We went with the thin crust which is the preferred style on Chicago’s south side. Like all good south side pizza joints, the crust was thin and crispy. There was no soft dough in the middle or anywhere on the pizza. The sauce was a little sweet, but not as sweet as the sauce from Palermo’s 95th which is what we usually order. The Italian Beef pie had a great flavor. It was loaded down with Italian Beef like the pizzas from Vito and Nick’s are, but there was plenty there to let you know what you’re eating. I made a pig of myself again and ate a good chunk of the Italian Beef pizza and a few pieces of the cheese as well.
We were all really happy with our pizzas. Like I said, most times we’re home, we go to Palermo’s 95th just because we know their pies are good. Nino’s was close to being as good as those. Our bill for the two pizzas and a pitcher of beer was around $37 before tip. We paid our check and got up to leave, but as we were putting our coats on, our waitress came back and asked us to wait. They were preparing a dessert tray for us which was complementary and Valentine’s Day themed, so we took our coats back off and waited. It was nothing spectacular. Just a few cupcakes, cookies, and chocolate covered pretzels, but just the thought was very much appreciated.
Nino’s was great. Service was a little spotty, but the food was really good. Pizza in Chicago is a funny thing. There are so many sub-regions and if you like one style, you probably hate the others. We treat pizza like we treat our baseball teams. Before J and I started dating, I thought the Chicago deep dish was the only way to go, but she and her family have converted me to the thin and crispy southside pies. It was four days before we got a pizza on this trip home and it was worth the wait.