The airplane food may stink to get there — but between the Big Apple, the home of “the Bean” sculpture and the land known as the Boot, there’s plenty to take a bite out of in New York, Chicago and Italy when it comes to pizza. Whether it’s thin crust, thick or even gluten-free, all of your kids will give meals here two tomato-stained thumbs up!
The Statue of Liberty, United Nations or Central Park not have enough bite in the Big Apple for you? Check out a foodie tour with Scott’s Pizza Tours or A Slice of Brooklyn. Heavy eaters — or those with small legs — will want to wait until Sunday, when Scott’s signature bus tour takes riders beyond the typical Manhattan into the outer boroughs, with stops changing weekly in Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx and Staten Island. Or, walk the streets of Little Italy to see where it all began, and learn about the origins of the hand-tossed, thin-crust pie.
The pies are so ooey, gooey and chewy here that just one may feed the whole family. The downside? That means you can only try one or two flavors — or make it a pie-in-the-sky kind of vacation and opt for a pan-oply of options. At Labriola Cafe, owner Rich Labriola is a baker so he’s got the perfect balance of temperature and moisture on lock. The cheese caramelizes and there’s a perfectly crispy bottom; kids are likely to opt for pepperoni or classic margherita, but Mom and Dad may lean toward arugula, spinach and mushroom. For a total chunky tomato attack, Lou Malnati’s is the place to hit, perfectly balanced with grated pecorino Romano and oregano. Bartoli’s may be the crowd fave, though, with a sweet sauce thanks to recipes paying homage to the owner’s grandfather Fred Bartoli, founder of the original — and Windy City renowned — Gino’s East. Walk off some of the carbs at massive Lincoln Park Zoo, one of the country’s few free zoos, and if you don’t see enough bears there, hit up a Cubs game at iconic Wrigley Field.
The land of pasta, bread, and yes, pizza, is surprisingly friendly for those with food allergies — especially those with a gluten intolerance. While the protein in wheat that gives bread its spring is indeed “amore” just about anywhere in this country, Italy is also one of the first in Europe to recognize celiac disease far earlier than others (in 1979). Many restaurants put signs out front for gluten-free, and you can get a great pizza on almost any corner in Rome; at Exultate in Genoa; eat like a king at Il Ristorante A Beccafico Arte in Venice, where the owner’s teenager has celiac disease; or at the tourist information office in Turin — home to Italy’s Slow Food movement — pick up a listing of dozens of restaurants with gluten-free options.