CHICAGO — It was war this week at Navy Pier — pizza war, that is.
Wrigleyville's Dimo's Pizza, West Town's Coalfire Pizza and suburban Morton Grove's Burt's Place went head-to-head for a new show to be aired on The Cooking Channel in the fall after first airing as "Pizza Wars" on Canada's Country Music Channel.
The soldiers? Dimo's, known for its wacky slices, chose the Steak Nacho pizza, a pie with mozzarella, carne asada, pico de gallo, tortilla chips, cheddar cheese and a sour cream base.
"It's probably our employees' favorite pizza," said Ann Wanserski, the brand manager at Dimo's said of the steak nacho. "It's a very popular one."
Coalfire went with 'Nduja, a pizza whose star is a Calabrian salami specially made at Publican Quality Meats — with a spice that's in between a Mexican chorizo and a French andouille sausage, said co-owner Dave Bonomi. When cooked, the fat renders out onto a simple margherita pie. The spice "sneaks up on you," he said.
And Burt's Place, run by Chicago-area pizza legend Burt Katz, delivered a pizza with a more classic set: sausage, pepperoni, green onion and olive. Katz was in the midst of making a pie when a reporter called, but his wife Sharon said there was no special combination of ingredients.
Customers order what they want, and the taste wins because the ingredients are purchased that morning, she said.
"There's no such thing as one that's more popular that the other," she said.
In the show, host Cris Nannarone walks viewers through how each pie is made, including interviews with owners and customers to learn more about the joints. A panel of judges joins to try the pizza, and at the end of the show, owners of the three pizza places meet at Navy Pier to see who won the showdown.
Whoever came out victorious, the joints seemed to play nice in the end.
"They were gentleman, super cool, super nice," Bonomi said of Katz and Dimo's owner Dimitri Syrkin-Nikolau. "I can honestly say this isn’t the yearbook answer."