pizza, Himmels

It’s difficult to remember what a relative pizza desert Chicago was 13 years ago. We’ve always had our deep dish and our cracker crust, but long before Spacca Napoli, Pizzeria da Nella Cucina Napoletana, Reno, or Great Lake came along, you had to have traveled to Italy to know what acceptable Neapolitan pizza was remotely like. And then in 1999 the late Cesar D’Ortenzi, owner of Lincoln Square’s La Bocca Della Verita, opened Pizza D.O.C. around the corner on Lawrence Avenue. Naming it for the Italian government’s designation of standards and regional authenticity for wine and certain foods, D’Ortenzi backed up his pretensions by importing a massive wood-burning brick oven from Italy, and in short order began blasting out beautiful charred and blistered thin-crust pies the likes of which the city had never seen.