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Chicago's Best Place to Eat a Pizza Is at Top of the Town

By Mark Konkol | February 27, 2014 8:20am
 Randy Stancik's “Pie-in-the Sky” idea offers Giordano's Chicago-style pie on "The Ledge" at Willis Tower.
Randy Stancik's “Pie-in-the Sky” idea offers Giordano's Chicago-style pie on "The Ledge" at Willis Tower.
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Willis Tower

DOWNTOWN — Everybody knows arguing over which joint makes the best pizza in Chicago is futile.

Some guys swear by Lou Malnati's, or the deep dish at Gino's East, which has enough cheese to clog a major artery.

And certain South Siders swear by the cracker-thin crust at Vito and Nick's at 84th and Pulaski.

I'm a Pequod's guy — the spicy sausage, sweet sauce and caramelized crust just can't be beat as far as I'm concerned.

But if we're talking about coolest place to chow down on tasty Chicago-style pie, there's just no topping the best seat in the house at Willis Tower, where you can get a Giordano's stuffed pizza at a table just a step away from glass-floored lookouts on the 103rd floor.

For a hundred bucks a person you can get a late pizza supper delivered to one of four tables situated near the set of glass balconies called "The Ledge," which offer a great view of the city and a freaky look straight down at the sidewalk 1,340 feet below.

The "Pie-in-the Sky" pizza dinners are the brainchild of Randy Stancik — the marketing maestro who made a career out of promoting Chicago's tallest skyscrapers — first at the John Hancock and now at Willis Tower — as more than just a pretty view.

Stancik's the guy who opened up the stairwells for the "Hustle Up the Hancock" climbing race, got in the Guinness Book of World Records for the "World's Highest Haircut" and, of course, brought us the Ledges at Willis Tower, which he calls his "third, fourth, fifth and sixth" children.

"We've had private breakfasts and dinners, which can be pretty pricey, but I thought, 'What if we offered a dinner that didn't need a silver chafing dish in a more affordable price range that was truly a real Chicago experience?' " Stancik said.

"We only have four tables so you basically get access to the entire floor with just thee other parties. It's like getting the best table with the best view of any restaurant in town."

At first, Stancik had tables decorated in red-and-white tablecloths positioned on each "ledge," but it didn't stick.

"Most people were hesitant to sit at a table on the ledge for an hour and a half," Stancik said. "So we moved the tables about four feet away so they could go on the ledge as often as they wanted. It's all about providing people an experience whether they're looking for a place for a great night out, a dinner date or a marriage proposal."

Until April, you can book a table for up to eight people for dinner at 8:30 p.m. and enjoy your "pie in the sky" for an hour-and-a-half or so.

During the warmer months, Willis Tower's four tables on the ledge will be open for 10:30 p.m.  reservations at Skydeck.com.

There's only one downfall, so to speak. If you want a cold beer with your deep dish you're out of luck — for now.

"Giordano's is working on getting its off-premise liquor license," said Stancik, the general manager at Willis Tower. "It hasn't happened yet, but I'm sure it will."