a white pizza covered in thin pickle slices
Pickle pizza from Bob’s in Pilsen. Credit: Leor Galil

I’m a guy who loves the concept of state fairs, and more specifically the socially acceptable kind of eating that takes place at them. It would be irresponsible for me, a 37-year-old who begrudgingly reads nutritional-facts labels, to make room in my diet for deep-fried ice cream, or a hot dog deep-fried in corn-dog batter, onions, cheddar cheese, and minced tater tots—both of which were available last summer at the Minnesota State Fair and made me dream of traveling across state lines to try such, uh, delicacies.

Last summer, Twin Cities alternative journalism site Racket reviewed the fair’s 38 official foodstuffs, and reading it gave me a secondhand sugar rush. If such carnivalesque items fail to whet your appetite, you may not be interested in the one I’m singling out: pickle pizza.

It appeared at other midwestern state fairs last year, including Wisconsin, Illinois, and Indiana—where it won the Taste of the Fair prize. My state fair road trip daydreams didn’t come true, but fortunately for me I can get pickle pizza anytime I want (within reason) from Bob’s Pizza. Launched out of Pilsen in 2019, Bob’s operates three other Chicagoland locations now, each one serving pizzas cut like they’re from New York; one pie provides six slices, two of which can satiate a pizza hound like me. The pickle pizza has a velvety garlic cream, enough thinly sliced pickles to satisfy a pointillist, and an inviting, light sourness that I’ve begun to crave since I had my first taste.

Bob’s Pizza
Pilsen location: Sun-Thu 11 AM-10 PM, Fri-Sat 11 AM-11 PM, 1659 W. 21st St.,
All locations and hours: famousbobspizza.com

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