As of January 3, the city has mandated that those ages 5 and up be fully vaccinated and masked at public places indoors while not actively eating or drinking. For updated information on coronavirus cases, please visit the city of Chicago’s COVID-19 dashboard. Health experts consider dining out to be a high-risk activity for the unvaccinated; it may pose a risk for the vaccinated, especially in areas with substantial COVID transmission. The latest CDC guidance is here; find a COVID-19 vaccination site here.
Michael’s S&M at George’s Deep Dish
George’s Deep Dish has been open for less than a year — since last May — but already it has earned itself a reputation as one of Chicago’s best, not just for deep dish, but for pizza in general. George Bumbaris builds his pizzas on a fermented focaccia-like crust with a thin layer of cornmeal baked on the bottom and a thin layer of cheese baked on the edges. He puts the cheese, meat, and vegetables on the very top, above the sauce, so they get a good roasting. These pizzas are labor-intensive, and Bumbaris makes only a limited number every night, so customers have to reserve their pies in advance. Which means that ordering from George’s requires more planning and forethought than I, raised on Dominos, usually put into pizza. Nonetheless, one Saturday, I finally got my act together and ordered the Michael S&M: Michael because all the pizzas are named after famous Georges — Halas, Orwell, Clooney, McFly, Weasley, etc. — and S&M for spaghetti and meatballs. From a lesser pizza place, this might be a stunt, resulting in slimy, sauce-coated noodles everywhere. But here, it just tastes like really good baked pasta, improved by the cloves of roasted garlic scattered over the top and especially by the thick crust that, like the best fresh-baked bread, is crispy on the edges and chewy in the middle. George’s Deep Dish, 6221 N. Clark Street, Edgewater — Aimee Levitt, deputy editor
Chicken Parmigiana at Club Lucky
There’s a kind of merry madness that seems to burst out of Club Lucky as soon as one opens the door. Modeled after a ’40s-era Chicago Italian supper club, the 32-year-old Wicker Park institution carefully toes the line between tribute and theme park, managing to evoke a romantic version of the past without resorting to dancing servers in poodle skirts. It’s a badly-needed antidote to the winter blahs, especially in a pandemic-weary world where small joys take on extra importance. Such an atmosphere — complete with mammoth martinis — is ideally suited to diners looking for an indulgent classic: chicken parmigiana, a crispy-cheesy-saucy melange that can brighten any icy winter evening — and in my case, induced an early bedtime. Club Lucky, 1824 W. Wabansia Avenue, Wicker Park — Naomi Waxman, reporter