Vito & Nick’s II – Tinley Park, IL

4 05 2009
  • 7020 183rd Street
  • Tinley Park, IL 60477
  • (708) 532-8486
  • Website
  • Menu
Vito & Nicks II on 183rd Street in Tinley Park.

Vito & Nick's II on 183rd Street in Tinley Park.

My brother has recently found South Side Chicago pizza.  Last summer, he went to a White Sox game with my aunt and some of her co-workers.  Those co-workers stopped at a pizzeria in Matteson where my brother had a cracker thin crust Italian beef pizza for the first time.  Since then, he’s talked about it on many occasions.

When J and I can only make it back as far as Chicago, we usually meet my parents for lunch on Sunday before heading back to Michigan.  J hasn’t seen my niece since February, so I asked my brother if he wanted to meet for pizza in Tinley Park.  Of course, he said yes.

I need to start this off by explaining the lineage of Vito & Nick’s.  A few months ago, I reviewed The Original Vito & Nick’s on 84th and Pulaski.  Vito & Nick’s II is not part of the original restaurant, but it is an offshoot of that tavern owned by the son of namesake Vito Barraco.  That son opened two stores called Vito & Nick’s II which are in no way affiliated with the Original.  The Tinley Park location isn’t one of those two.  After the original Vito & Nick’s II stores took off, the store started to franchise.  The Tinley Park store is one of those franchises.  So even though it’s not a direct descendant of the legendary tavern on Chicago’s south side, they do have a pretty similar menu.

They open the store on 183rd near Harlem at noon on Sunday’s.  We got there just a little before noon.  By the time we got my niece out of her carseat and started walking towards the restaurant, a man was coming out to unlock the door.  The waitress must have seen us as he was starting to push two tables together as we were walking in. Read the rest of this entry »





Georgio’s Gourmet Pizzeria – Downtown

27 04 2009
  • 120 Charles Street
  • East Lansing, MI 48823
  • (517) 333-9990
  • No Known Website
Georgios Gourmet Pizzeria on Charles Street in East Lansing.

Georgio's Gourmet Pizzeria on Charles Street in East Lansing.

I love late night pizza-by-the-slice places and I love living near a college town that has many places to fill that late night craving. 

J got home from work just before midnight like she always does and I said, “I’m hungry” like I always do.  This time, she said she had a taste for pizza or tacos too.  We debated the pros and cons of each and eventually settled on pizza.  Since there’s no place on the south side of Lansing to get a slice at midnight, we trekked to East Lansing.

There are a couple locations for Georgio’s in East Lansing, but I chose the one in the downtown area on Charles Street.  We drove around the streets of downtown a few times on a very busy Friday night looking for pizza.  I knew there was a Georgio’s and a Bell’s, but I didn’t remember which was where.  We drove by Bell’s because there were so many kids around and no place to park.  I made it to Georgio’s and got really lucky.  There was a parking space right out front.  I showed off my awesome parallel parking skills (there was no space in front of me, so really, I just pulled in) and we went inside.  Read the rest of this entry »





Quality Dairy – Saginaw & Cedar

17 04 2009
  • 500 E. Saginaw Street
  • Lansing, MI 48906
  • (517) 319-4120
  • Website
The Quality Dairy on Saginaw Street at Cedar Street in Lansing.

The Quality Dairy on Saginaw Street at Cedar Street in Lansing.

Guess what?  I needed a Pepsi.  I left Oldsmobile Park after a heartbreaking Lugnuts lost and I was really thirsty.  I knew there was a Quality Dairy close that I hadn’t been to so I turned the truck around and headed to the Quality Diary.

This Quality Dairy is on the corner of East Saginaw and North Cedar Streets.  There is actually an entrance off Larch Street as well, but you have to go through a large parking lot to get to the building.

The building is weird.  The Saginaw Street side sits pretty close to the road.  There’s just enough room to park along side the building and the door looks more like a back door than an entrance.  There are no windows along that side of the street, but it is actually an entrance.  The Cedar Street side looks more like the main entrance with the typical store front.

I didn’t know any better and that’s where I parked.  When you go inside, the liquor section is off to the left and there’s a cash register back there as well. The fountain pop machine was just off to the right, so I grabbed my cup and filled up. 

I didn’t eat anything at the ballpark, so I was also really hungry.  I had considered just getting a cold meat sandwich like I did a few weeks ago at the QD in Charlotte, but as I was walking to the register, I noticed some pizza that was being sold by the slice.  The price was only $1.25 a slice, so I grabbed a paper boat and put a couple slices in there. Read the rest of this entry »





Cottage Inn Pizza – Holt – Revisited

11 04 2009
Cottage Inn Pizza on Cedar Street in Holt.

Cottage Inn Pizza on Cedar Street in Holt.

J converted me.  I used to be a deep dish pizza guy, but where she grew up on the South Side of Chicago, thin crust rules.  Over time, she broke me down and now all I want is a thin and crispy pie.  We haven’t had a whole lot of luck finding those in Mid-Michigan.  It’s not because no one does it.  It’s because we never looked.  When you call and just order a large pizza, most places give you the same crappy not quite thin, not quite thick crust.  If you ask, you just might get a good pizza.

That’s the case with Cottage Inn.  We went almost a year without realizing they do a thin crust.  When we first started checking out the local and regional pizza places, Cottage Inn was up first.  The pizza was good, but I said it was ” still too much like the other chains.” 

I don’t know why, but for some reason, J actually decided to look at the menu one weekend when I was working.  She saw an option for thin crust, so that’s what she ordered.  She took one bite and fell in love.  It reminded her of home.  In Chicago, if you order a thin crust pizza, the pizza is cut into squares, not triangle and that’s how Cottage Inn cuts their thin crust.  Read the rest of this entry »





Art’s Bar & Grill – Revisited

14 03 2009
Arts Bar & Grill on Kalamazoo in Lansing.

Art's Bar & Grill on Kalamazoo in Lansing.

It’s been almost a year since our first visit to Art’s Bar & Grill.  It was one of the first places we ate at after moving to Lansing.  The building didn’t look like much, but I had heard the food was some of the best in town.  After a little hesitation, we went in and had one of the best meals we’ve had in town.

J’s parents were in town and we needed someplace to eat.  The original plan was to eat in Mt. Pleasant after gambling for a little bit, but we were still full from lunch, so we headed back to Lansing.  We tossed around a few ideas, but eventually settled on Art’s.  I had heard good things about their pizza and we hadn’t tried it yet.  By hitting up a bar, we could get a pizza and J’s parents could get burgers.

We stopped in around 7:00 on a Saturday.  There were quite a few people, but we found a table in the middle of the dining room.  Just like last time, a waitress noticed us right away and yelled over that she would be right with us.  A few minutes later, she dropped off menus while she was taking care of the rest of the dining room.  There were only two waitresses for the whole building and the one we had was working her butt off.  Read the rest of this entry »





Izzo’s Pub & Pizzeria

5 03 2009
  • 1145-1147 S. Washington St.
  • Lansing, MI 48910
  • (517) 853-8500
  • Website
  • Menu
Izzos Pub & Pizzeria in Lansings REO Town

Izzo's Pub & Pizzeria in Lansing's REO Town

It took three tries, but I finally found Izzo’s Pizzeria open.  I happened to be downtown for a late morning meeting.  I was hopping back in my truck a little after noon and I started to head towards Washington Square to find something for lunch when I decided to give Izzo’s a third try.

Izzo’s Pub & Pizzeria is on Washington Avenue in Lansing’s REO Town neighborhood.  The pub has been there since the mid-1960’s.  The Pizzeria has been there since December.  The two businesses are in separate spaces with separate entrances, but they are connected and you can move freely between the two spaces.  The pizzeria side is big enough for a kitchen and a handful of tables.   The interior fits the area.  It has kind of a rustic feel with an exposed brick wall with a relief pattern that sort of resembles the globe.  The tables are surrounded black metal chairs and it’s a bright, inviting atmosphere.

The order counter is near the back of the space.   When I made it back there, a man behind the counter made contact right away.  He asked if I was staying or taking something to go.  J was still at home and I planned on bringing her lunch, so I told him I was getting carry out.  He handed me a menu to look over, but I noticed some slices behind the counter.  I asked if they did pizza by the slice.  He said they did, but all they had was a sausage, mushroom, and onion pie.  Not really my thing, so I ordered a small cheese pizza that I could share with J. Read the rest of this entry »





Topper’s Pizza

2 03 2009
  • 1219 E. Grand River Avenue
  • East Lansing, MI 48823
  • (517) 203-0303
  • Website
  • Menu
Toppers Pizza on Grand River Avenue in East Lansing.

Topper's Pizza on Grand River Avenue in East Lansing.

Now that it’s NASCAR season again, Sunday’s can get pretty lazy.  When the race is a west coast race, it really gets lazy because the race starts so late, it goes right through dinner.  J and I were hanging out on the couch flipping back and forth between the Shelby 427 and the Illinois vs. Michigan State basketball game.  Once we saw MSU had the game wrapped up, we started thinking about dinner.  J suggested pizza.  I was game.  Once again, we tried Izzo’s Pizzeria in Old REO Town only to find them closed again.  I continued to drive around before I ended up in East Lansing.

Topper’s Pizza is on Grand River Avenue in East Lansing.  The store is fairly new having opened just before Christmas.  Topper’s is a chain out of Whitewater, Wisconsin with locations in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, and North Carolina.  The East Lansing location is the only Michigan location.

The store is pretty small, but there are a couple of tables should want to dine in.  There’s also some leather chairs and a couch  in a little waiting area.  Since I was driving aimlessly, I didn’t call my order in.  I went to the counter to place my order.  I ordered a large cheese pizza and tried to tag on a single order of Cinnamonstix.  The lady taking the order it would actually be three bucks cheaper if I ordered a triple order of Cinnamonstix due to a promotion they had going on.  I didn’t really need that much dessert, but I did it anyway to save money.  After that was hammered out, she asked if I wanted extra cheese since I got one topping on the pizza, I said, sure.  She didn’t have to twist my arm. Read the rest of this entry »