Whether it's due to the local water, its geographical location, or some obscure yet-to-be-discovered factor, Springfield in Illinois is a city with a penchant for politicians. And that's not just any politicians, but presidential ones. Springfield was home to America's sixteenth president, Abraham Lincoln, for more than twenty-five years as well as being where the forty-fourth president, Barack Obama, spent the early part of his political career. Neither of the two aforementioned leaders had a lot to do with pizza, but some of the Italians who moved to Springfield during the early 20th century did. A number of those early migrants traveled north from cities like St Louis to either work in the mining industry or set up their own businesses in the flourishing Illinois city. A few of those ambitious entrepreneurs had dreams of succeeding in the hospitality industry and when they opened their pizzerias in Springfield, they never looked back.
While many of the city's early Italian settlers may have journeyed from St Louis to start a new life, they don't bake St Louis-style pies. The majority of pizzerias hold fast to tradition, and Springfield is known for thick crust pizza. That's not to say you can't get St Louis-style, Chicago-style, or even New York-style pizzas in Springfield because you can and all types of pies, no matter where they originate from, are baked with the same care and attention to detail. The thick crust pizza in Springfield usually has homemade dough for a base and each individual pizzeria has its own dough recipe that's been handed down through the generations. They're well-guarded secrets so forget trying to replicate any of them. Your own dough will never come out the same unless you've got an Italian great-grandmother featuring somewhere on your family tree. If not, leave the pizza making to the experts, and that's what the chefs who make pizza in Springfield are.
When you just haven't got the patience to wait any length of time for a pie but still want a quality bite, you'll get the best delivery pizza in Springfield from Dillon's. Dillon's Pizza sits on the side of North Dirksen Parkway and is ideally situated for swift pie distribution all over the city. Dillon's premises are located at the end of a row of other businesses to the rear of a small plaza. While it doesn't appear so from the outside, inside the décor is dedicated to the old Wild West. Their menu is era-related too, printed like a wanted poster and adorned with lassos and star-shaped sheriff badges. You can forget getting pork and beans on your pie though as Dillon's go down the traditional route when it comes to topping their pizzas. If you like your meat and veg, you'll be shouting yeehaa when you get one of their two meat and two veg options.
Irrelevant of what part of the city you find yourself in, to get the best take-out pizza in Springfield make sure you head over to Sam's Italian Pizza. You could end up feeling very sorry if you don't go to this super pizzeria on North Grand Avenue East for your take-out. They are true professionals at the art of pizza making. Sam's occupies the ground floor of a two-story building that to say is eye-catching would be a major overstatement. Inside the wood paneling covered in photos and the old-fashioned tables with vinyl-covered chairs give it a diner-style look which is pretty outdated. Sam's pizzas hit the spot though, so forget the decorations once you're inside, unless you want to check out the photos, and concentrate on their menu. The Maria Special, Deluxe, and calzone are great. They also make a stuffed version of any pizza of your choice too, which is really worth saving stomach space for.
Travel ten minutes south out of Springfield to Toronto and you won't have arrived at the well-known Canadian city, but an Illinois township with the same name. Toronto in Illinois borders the beautiful Lake Springfield. Admittedly, there's not much there, but cross over the Lindsay Bridge and you'll be able to visit the Henson Robinson Zoo before stopping off for a pie at Antonio's Pizza on Toronto Road.
Athens is a city sixteen miles north of Springfield which has absolutely nothing in common with the capital of Greece which it's named after. Athens in Illinois has no ancient monuments, a sparsity of historic buildings, and, well, not a lot of anything else worth mentioning. On the unfortunate chance you find yourself in Athens, the best thing to do is pick up a pizza from Casey's on East Hargrave Street and keep driving.
If you decide to take a spin on your Harley Davidson out of Springfield and down the old historic highway known as Route 66 – fair play to you. After twenty miles or so you'll arrive at a village called Elkhart. Your initial reaction might be to continue motoring right through it, but you'd be missing out if you didn't pull in and have a pizza at the Blue Moon on Governor Oglesby Street.
Q: 🍕 What restaurant has the best St Louis-style pizza in Springfield?
Q: 🍕 What restaurant has the best stuffed pizza in Springfield?
Q: 🍕 What restaurant has the best veggie pizza in Springfield?
Q: 🍕 What restaurant has the best wood-fired pizza in Springfield?