Pi Pizzeria co-founder Chris Sommers and corporate executive chef Cary McDowell unveiled a new fast-casual concept in 2017: ’ZZA Pizza + Salad. I’ve generally been underwhelmed by fast-casual pizza — you can’t really improve on the original fast-casual pizza, Neapolitan — but Sommers and McDowell impressed me with ’ZZA’s crust and sensible topping combinations. While Pi isn’t a fast-casual restaurant, one reason for its decade of success has been turning out a consistently excellent product — or products, really, since the thin- and signature deep-dish crusts are quite different — in a relatively short time across mutiple locations.
Hours: Lunch and dinner daily
Last year's ranking: Rest of the Best
Must order: South Side Classico (small $18.95, large $22.95)