Of all the ways a Loyola University student can blow money in Chicago, one of the best is at Carmen’s Pizza on North Sheridan Road. Located just across from the main campus, their stuffed pizza features a tsunami of über-gooey cheese and “toppings” pressure-sealed between two flaky layers of ultra-buttery crust and finished off with a bold, chunky, house-made sauce. It’s pricey, it takes forever, it’s laughably fattening, and it is damned tasty.
Of course, a couple of our local parlors have tried to bring Chicago-style pizza to the region, with dubious effect. Enter Bourbon House Pizza in Florence (no longer affiliated with the Bourbon House Pizza in Burlington), the first restaurant in Northern Kentucky to tackle the holy grail of hefty Italian pie. A modern, kid-friendly kind of place, Bourbon House is owned by Chicago native Mary Brandstetter, who based her stuffed pizza recipe on the famous Chicago pie chain Giordano’s.
While I can’t testify to the level of sameness between the two, I can tell you that Bourbon House has the best stuffed pizza in the region. Their Chicago-style deep dish (and do make sure you order it deep dish, as they also have a thin-crust Chicago-style pizza) is everything that you should expect in a stuffed pizza pie: thick as a brick, fresh, fattening, and delicious. While their crust doesn’t feature the flaky, pastry-dough quality of a place like Carmen’s, it makes up for those qualities with an herb-infused garlic flavor. I was surprised that their lasagna—made to order with broad, sturdy noodles—is great, too. But try the pizza first; this place is all about getting stuffed.
Bourbon House Pizza
7500 Oakbrook Rd., Florence
Lunch Fri–Sun, dinner seven days
Originally published in the October 2010 issue.