This Albany Park classic has been serving its signature cracker-thin-crust pizza since the '40s. Multiple generations of Northwest Siders have called this their pizza home, where they can relish bottles after bottles of booze with their pie—did we mention the attached liquor store?
The atmosphere of this place feels like classic old-school Chicago: hot red wraparound booths, frosted-glass chandeliers, thick-padded chairs and a stained glass ceiling above the bar. A couple flat-screen TVs are the only concession to modern day—everything else retains an air of cool nostalgia.
Focus on the food and drink for a second: You'll find sandwiches, appetizers and desserts, but opt for the economical, high-quality pizza. A medium cheese costs $8.25, and the most expensive pick (with a special double dough) tops out at $16.25. Additional ingredients will run you an extra $2 or $3, and while detractors may say that Marie's pizza lands high on the grease scale, those in the know will order light on the cheese or "well done" to combat this factor.
The small bar packs in regulars and friends, who start coming in early in the afternoon. Patrons know the staff by name, and conversations about family and local happenings are common. Domestic bottles will only set you back $2.85, and you'll also find Blue Moon, Leinenkugel's and even wines on tap. Classy.
The liquor store (hence the "Liquors" in the name) stocks a good selection of wines and spirits, many at bargain prices and in large quantities. If you need a pizza and a cheap six-pack on the run, Marie's comes through for an all-purpose "guy time" go-to. Might be a good spot to keep in mind, gentlemen: The Admiral Theater is just a couple blocks down the street.
Average cost: $10-$20
Centerstage Reviewer: Karl Klockars