To fold or not to fold? It is debatable whether extra-large slices of New York style pizza should be folded in half before eating. Some folks do it to avoid the dreaded “flop,” while others collapse the crust to keep the cheese from sliding off in a gooey avalanche. Anti folders keep their meal a two-handed affair likely preferring to double the number of bites it takes to finish their coveted slice. No matter how you prefer to eat your pie, Betty’s Pizza and Pasta, 1003 South Blvd., Oak Park, brings a taste of the Big Apple to the Pleasant District.
Brought to life by Wil and Justine Greenwald, Rob Guenthner and Katie Ashton and Pete and Fran Lisnic co-owners of Kettlestrings Tavern, 800 S. Oak Park Ave., and Kettlestrings Grove, 105 S. Marion St., Betty’s Pizza and Pasta completes the Kettlestrings’ trifecta.
Betty’s fun and unfussy vibe is meant to reflect the pizza joint co-owner Rob Guenthner remembers frequenting as a child. Expect traditional red and white checkered tablecloths and traditional red cups to evoke a throwback vibe.
While the restaurant’s name pays homage to the founding British matriarch of Oak Park, Betty Kettlestrings, the menu at the South Boulevard establishment is decidedly Italian-American. Dan Swartz, operations director, and consulting chef, Tanya Baker worked to develop Betty’s pizza recipe and broader menu from the ground up.
The pizzas, available in the traditional 18-inch size, are pie cut into eight generously sized slices. The bottom of the crust is crispy while the top remains fluffy and soft. A regular pie features whole milk mozzarella and up to two toppings — if you order pepperoni expect it will be properly cupped. Toppings are thoughtfully distributed across the pie and leftovers reheat beautifully in a hot oven. A quartet of specialty pizzas like Buffalo chicken, are also on the menu. Guenthner is pleasantly surprised at the popularity of Betty’s garlic and zucchini pie—the white pizza features herb butter, sliced summer squash, mozzarella, parmesan, and fresh thyme.
In addition to pizza, Betty’s offers appetizers like meatballs, mozzarella sticks, garlic knots. The menu features four pasta dishes including wild mushroom fettuccine with garlic cream sauce as well as salads in small and large sizes. The arugula and quinoa salad with apples, blue cheese and bacon is also proving a popular choice.
Owners are keenly aware there has been pent up demand for New York Style pizza in the community and look forward to giving everyone an opportunity to give Betty’s pizza a try.
Betty’s Pizza and Pasta
1003 South Blvd., Oak Park