Forno Rosso: Southern Italian Pizza on North Harlem

Order if you must; better to visit.

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By David Hammond

On a recent weekday night, I got a text from a friend: "Just had dinner at Forno Rosso on Harlem just north of Addison – nick, owner, trained in Sorrento to learn pizza."

Inspired by that text, I called. Nick at first seemed to be saying that Oak Park was too far south for delivery. Then he relented. He said, "Okay, I won't cut it so you can put it right in the oven, no problem. Now, preheat the oven to around 550. When the pizza gets there, throw it in."

On my friend's rec, we went with Bianche Barese, which is a white, no tomato sauce pizza, with some rapini and "sausage made special by local butcher."

I asked Nick to pick one more pizza for us, and he selected Rosso Diavolo, which we liked a lot, peppery and fresh-tasting.

One big challenge, which Nick pointed out pretty much the moment I suggested delivery, is that the delicate crust deteriorates when transported more than a few minutes. Our pies had to spend probably 20 or more minutes on the cold ride from North Harlem.

Still, the crust was flavorful, though thicker than what you might find in Naples or at Chicago's many Neapolitan pizza places…and a thicker crust might actually hold up better for delivery. Oddly, what Forno Rosso's pie compelled me to appreciate was Domino's – though lacking in flavor and personality, Domino's mass-appeal pies have the advantage of being thick and dense, with a kind of gluiness that seems engineered to taste pretty much the same whether 3 or 30 minutes out of the oven.

No doubt, though I was grateful to have the Forno Rosso pie brought to my door, it probably did lose something in transit…and the best way to enjoy these pies is to actually visit Forno Rosso.


3719 N Harlem Ave, Chicago, IL 60634





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