It’s an off-night in the off-season, so you venture inside the always-packed Chicago-style pizzeria that has the good fortune to be located just a bean’s throw from Millennium Park. Your waiter, a fit late fiftysomething fellow with a bushy gray mustache who looks like he just stepped off a firetruck, attacks the table with the brisk but friendly demeanor of a server who knows how to keep the folks happy and the tables turning. Your first time here, you ask him what he recommends and he tells you firmly the “Rudy’s Special.” You comply. At the end of your meal, when he’s checking back on you, you ask a small question about the place. And then it happens. Time stands still, or at least your waiter, who goes by “The Chach” does. He tells you everything you want to know and much more. You learn about his life. He learns about yours. He tells you the history of this restaurant, and the Rudy Malnati branch of the legendary pizza family, which owns this small chain. You realize that, for better or worse, you’ve never quite experienced a waiter like this. As you talk, he welcomes you into his “family” and tells you about the customers who always ask to sit in his section, some of whom come from far away to relive the experience. A half hour later, you’ve been “Chachified.”
Pizano’s Pizza & Pasta, 61 East Madison, (312)236-1777, pizanoschicago.com
Best of Chicago 2012
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