Frequently Asked Questions

  • Do I have to purchase tickets in advance?

    Yes. Tours have a limited capacity and often sell out. We indicate on the order form how many spots remain for that tour. If you are planning to make reservations for several people, it’s a good idea to purchase tickets well in advance before spots fill up. Tickets may be purchased with a Visa, Mastercard or American Express.

  • What is the difference between the various public tours?

    The biggest difference between the different tour options is the length of time and neighborhood. All walking tours are 3 hours long and walk about one mile (1.6 km), visiting four different pizzerias. The bus tour (Saturdays only) is 3.5 hours long and visits four pizzerias in a different neighborhood each week. All tours include pizza tastings, some kitchen tours, in-depth pizza analysis, and commemorative lanyard & badge with all of our pizza stops including social media handles.

  • Tour options include:

    The West Loop Tour visits a classic deep-dish, a Neo-Neapolitan, an only-in-Chicago Roman al Taglio and a typical Neapolitan.

    The Bucktown Tour features a deep-dish that’s quite a bit different (and better) than the usual tourist offering, a giant E. Coast-style slice, a Roman al taglio and a gorgeous artisan pie.

    The weekly bus tour begins on Michigan Avenue, but then meanders through four different neighborhoods, and rotates among a few different styles. You’ll always starts with the city’s best deep-dish, but then will potentially be trying Detroit style, Chicago-style thin (tavern), artisan, Neapolitan or a huge New York-style slice.

  • Are there child ticket prices available?

    This experience is not recommended for children under the age of 9. All guests on our pizza tours must purchase a ticket regardless of age.

  • How far do we walk on the walking tours?

    All of the Pizza Walks cover about one mile (1.6 km). The longest tour is the Bucktown/Wicker Park Crawl (1.3 miles). Please remember to wear comfortable shoes and dress appropriately, since we will be walking outdoors in between stops.

  • Does weather affect the tour?

    All tours run rain, shine or snow. We use first-class buses, vans and coaches with heat, A/C. Tour itineraries may change if weather becomes a problem but we will always run complete tours. Please dress appropriately for the weather.

  • Where do the tours start?

    Each tour has a different meeting point. The exact starting location will be provided upon purchase of your ticket. The West Loop walking tour begins at Lou Malnati’s, 1235 W. Randolph St. (only a 10-minute cab ride from The Loop, or a five minute walk from the Morgan stop on the CTA Green Line). The Bucktown Walking Tour begins at My Pi, 2010 N. Damen Ave., a half-mile north of the Damen Ave. Blue Line stop on the CTA (only four stops from Clark/Lake, heading toward O’Hare). The bus tour always begins at Labriola, 535 N. Michigan Ave.

  • Where do the tours end?

    The walking tours will end about a half mile from where they started. In the West Loop Walking Tour, it ends closer to downtown (we walk East toward the city). The Bucktown/Wicker Park Walking Tour ends a block away from the Division St. CTA Blue Line stop. The bus tour begins and ends at the same point (Labriola Ristorante).

  • How much time do we spend at each pizzeria?

    Each pizzeria visit lasts about 30 minutes.

  • Can I bring alcohol on the Pizza Bus or drink at the pizzerias?

    Most of the pizzerias we visit do have alcoholic beverages for sale, so please be sure to bring sufficient cash and a valid ID. Alcohol is not permitted on the bus (sorry, Chicago law).

  • Who will be my tour guide?

    Every member of our team is armed with the hunger and knowledge necessary to lead you through the varied landscape of Chicago pizza. We try to keep the same guides running the same routes, so they become masters of not only the individual pizzerias’ history, but the neighborhood as well. All guides have been trained personally by owner/founder Steve Dolinsky. The only tour that has a consistent guide is the Saturday Pizza Bus, which is usually led by Steve, although during the winter season, he rotates every other week with one or two of our Doughcents.

  • What kind of bus do we take on Pizza Bus trips?

    Our mode of transportation is always the same: we work with Pontarelli Limousine Chicago and charter a 25-seat luxury bus. Our bus tours – whether they’re public or private – are always limited to 12 people, allowing for social distancing, so these vehicles perfectly suit our needs. The buses are equipped with Plexiglas dividers, heat and air conditioning and complimentary water bottles.

  • Are the tours wheelchair accessible?

    Unfortunately, none of the tours are 100% accessible.

  • Am I permitted to leave possessions on the Pizza Bus?

    You may leave personal items on the bus, as the bus driver will always stay with the vehicle during our tastings, but it is strongly recommended that you keep valuables with you at all times.

  • Are these tours appropriate for Chicagoans?

    Yes! No matter how long you’ve lived in Chicago, there are certainly pizzerias you have never visited. Most Chicagoans suffer from PIGUE (Pizza I Grew Up Eating) Syndrome and thus, don’t realize the pizza possibilities in their own backyard.

  • How much pizza will I eat?

    Participants are provided with at least one slice at each pizzeria we visit. Both the bus and walking tours visit four pizzerias. Feel free to order a pie or two to-go if you really love one of them, but we’ve never had anyone complain about not getting enough pizza. In fact, we usually offer to-go containers since there are always leftovers.

  • How do we decide on toppings?

    In order to maintain consistency, we will usually order pepperoni or sausage, or, if you’ve indicated on the reservation form, vegetarian (guests will have color-coded lanyards and badges to indicate meat or non-meat eater). We often get giardiniera, a semi-spicy Italian condiment frequently found in Chicago pizza joints. We also order vegetable pies on occasion, just to mix things up.

  • Are restrooms available during the tour?

    Yes. Most pizzerias offer the use of restrooms to customers.

  • How large will the group be?

    Capacity for the Pizza Bus is 10 – 30 passengers. Pizza Walks can accommodate up to 8 – 16 depending on our route.

  • Are cameras allowed on the tour?

    Of course. Pizza pictures are always welcome. We encourage you to share your pizza photos on Facebook, Instagram or any other social media platform. Our Instagram is @PizzaCityUSA, and we’ll be sure to list the corresponding Instagrams for all of the pizzerias in our tour universe on your badge. Tour guides will also take pictures and send you a dropbox link afterward so you can have them.

  • Should I eat before taking this tour?

    Seriously? It’s a pizza tour. That said, since we start tours at 11 a.m. if you get up extra early, a very light breakfast is a good idea, but we wouldn’t recommend it.

  • Are tours conducted in English only?

    While some of our tour leaders have excelled in high school and college Spanish courses, yes, when it comes to pizza and history, we speak English most fluently.

  • Are tours available during the week?

    We do have a public tour event available on Friday or you can book a private tour for a weekday. Visit our calendar for available events or contact us to book a private tour.

  • Can I book a private/custom tour?

    Yes, we are more than happy to accommodate your requests for private tours. Just fill out the form on the ‘contact’ page of this site form and we’ll get back to you ASAP.

  • How do you choose the pizzerias?

    Every stop is chosen based on inclusion in Steve’s book, “Pizza City, USA.” If they’re not in the book, they’re not on the tour. Since Steve has already taste-tested 180 places in Chicagoland, you can be sure these have all been thoroughly vetted. There are very few exceptions (Nonna’s in the West Loop was added late because of their unique spicy Sicilian).

  • Where will we go on a private tour?

    Every tour is different. The exact route will not be confirmed until the day of your tour. If you have specific requests or concerns, please let us know at least one week before your event.

  • What is the cost of a private tour?

    Private tours are priced based on group size and tour type. To get a quote for your event, just provide us with information through the form on the contact page and we’ll get back to you with options. Private tours are more expensive than public tours, so take a look at our public tour schedule if you’re on a tight budget.

  • If I do a private bus tour, will the bus pick my group up at our office/hotel?

    Yes. We can arrange for the bus to pick you up at a central location in Chicago at the start of your tour. Weekdays are easier, but for weekend tours, we prefer to have the group meet at our first pizzeria, in which case we’ll end the tour with a drop off at a Chicago location of your choosing.

  • What’s the minimum / maximum group size for a private tour?

    We like to keep walking tours to a maximum of 12 guests and bus tours 19, mostly because of pizzeria capacities. But we can certainly go over this amount and rent a larger coach (or even get two).

  • What’s the alcohol policy on a private tour?

    Chicago law prohibits drinking on tour buses, and we can’t bring anything into most pizzerias we visit, but you are welcome to purchase beverages as you wish.

  • Can I select which pizzerias we visit on a private tour?

    We’re happy to tailor the tour for you, but prefer to retain final decision-making duties. Each location will be coming out of the book “Pizza City, USA” but there are 101 options to choose from.

  • Someone in my group has a dietary restriction. What can we do about that?

    The sad truth is that most great pizzerias do not have options for those with specific dietary restrictions. If your guests can’t eat gluten or cheese, we’ll do our best to accommodate them. Lou Malnati’s, Robert’s, Pat’s and Forno Rosso do offer gluten free pies now, so those are possible options.

  • Do we have to wait in line at every pizzeria?

    We organize our tours in advance to avoid long lines and cold slices. All pizzas are ordered based on their respective bake times, so we’re never waiting more than a few minutes for a fresh pie.

  • Why is a pizza tour the ultimate team-building event?

    Who wants to sit at another steakhouse or fancy restaurant for three hours and be stuck next to the same person the entire time? Our pizza tours allow you to mix and mingle with friends or colleagues. Each stop offers yet another opportunity to meet someone else on the tour. We say pizza is the ultimate ice-breaker. See what people are saying!

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