Homeslice
938 W. Webster St. 312-789-4600
Rating: !!!! (out of four)

Look for: The triangular logo with a towering evergreen tree that conveniently also looks like a slice of pizza. Thanks to stacked log booths and tree-trunk tables made from Oregon Douglas fir, the decor in this Lincoln Park pizzeria is so foresty it almost deserves its own name--Timberiffic? Logalicious? Woodtastic? It makes more sense when you find out that the hand-tossed, stone-baked pizzas are inspired by an Oregon pizzeria that the owners loved during their time living there, though they’re staying tight-lipped about its name.

Best for: Anyone who loves piling tons of stuff on their pizza. You can build your own 10-, 14- or 18-inch pizza, but Homeslice has 31 suggestions, all named after the owners or people they know. Co-owner Clay Hamilton was making his rounds to each table just after I ordered the Clay Bacon, which piles chicken, bacon, diced roma tomatoes, onions and a three-cheese blend (provolone, mozzarella and cheddar) atop a base of ranch sauce—to crazy delicious results. On the veggie side, the Natelicious (named for the designer behind the map-style menu) combines artichoke hearts, roasted red peppers, caramelized onions and roasted garlic cloves with the briny saltiness of capers and kalamata olives. The bubbly, golden-edged crust is sturdy enough to support the weight of all those toppings. Prices start at $8 for the small cheese pizza and top out around $32 for large specialty pies; my four friends and I ordered five small pies and had zero leftovers.

Loved it: The sweet-as-pie server who took care of my table. Opening weekend buzz combined with March Madness resulted in crushing crowds, but she took the time to explain the menu and make sure we had any condiments we could possibly want—from a big bottle of sriracha to some seriously delicious made-from-scratch ranch sauce for crust-dipping. She also kept the drinks coming. Though there’s a solid lineup of beers both draft and canned (with cute logo-clad koozies for the latter), by the end of the night, everyone at my table was drinking Moscow mules ($9) served in traditional copper mugs that matched the round copper lights dangling above us. And the restrooms, which are tiled with thousands of pennies and begging to be Instagrammed.

Hated it: Lincoln Park stereotypes come to life, from a rowdy suit-clad guy letting off steam after work to moms who sent their pre-teen sons outside to play basketball while they nursed glasses of wine. On the other hand, the vibe is less college than neighboring sports bars State and McGee’s; the TVs behind the bar will only be turned on for major sporting events (March Madness applies) to keep the focus on conversation.

Bottom line: Homeslice is the best thing to hit this strip of Webster Avenue since Jam ’n’ Honey’s gigantic jars of Nutella. Lucky for DePaul students and anyone working within walking distance, lunch service with by-the-slice options ($3-$4) just launched this week.

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