Pizzeria Via Stato
620 N. State Street between Grand and Ohio
Reasonably priced, reasonably close to ID, and reasonably “Yes Please!”
When I first left the NY-NJ borders for Washington, D.C. many years ago, I realized pizza hadn’t just been an easy family dinner or quick lunch growing up. Pizza was a way of life. A way of life that I would forgo beyond the safe confines I had taken for granted. I’ve said before that I could probably accept Chicago’s famed deep-dish if we could all just agree to call it “bread pasta” instead. It’s bread, with pasta sauce. What’s not to like?
Simply remove the expectation of pizza, and my readied palette will acquiesce. And forget the crust – it’s all in the sauce. Chicago pizza sauce is thicker and sweeter, like a pasta sauce. NY sauce is thin and tart like a real tomato.
At long last, the nearby Pizzeria Via Stato offers a friendly Chicago truce to NY pizza snobs like me. Passing on the Chicago-NY rivalry altogether, Pizzeria Via Stato takes the authentic Italian route. Thin 11 inch crusts across the board, the Red Pizzas honor the tomato with the thin and tart sauce I prefer. The White Pizzas play it safe by skipping the sauce altogether. Both styles include balanced combinations of fresh ingredients to keep our salty and sweet sides equally satisfied. Perfect for a small group outing, my table of four split our dinner between the Red and White pizzas.
We got our fresh tomato fix from the classic Margherita pizza, and another with mushrooms and sweet Vidalia onions. For White pizzas we sampled the potato pizza – fingerling potatoes with pancetta, rosemary and smoked mozzarella. And one Pizza of the Month. The “Young Pecorino,” with pancetta and carmelized onion, basked in salty-sweet. If that’s not enough bacon, there is always the Baconcello for a cocktail accompaniment. But if a bacon martini is taking it too far (and the waitress warned that it was), beer and wine are also available and more befitting the quaint ambiance afforded by the Pizzeria Via Stato.