Restaurant Review: Max & Issy’s

Even if you’re a diehard fan of Chicago-style pizza, it’s okay to appreciate the taste and charm of New York-style pies. Don’t worry; you won’t be kicked out of the city for enjoying a NY slice. For those eager to find pizza with a Big Apple approach, look no further than the recently opened Max & Issy’s, located at 1028 West Diversey Parkway in Lakeview.

Many will recognize the address as the former home of Paddy Long’s, the Lakeview bar that served up craft beers and bacon since 2007. Due to the pandemic, owners Chris Latchford and Pat Berger switched things up by closing Paddy Long’s and reopening the space as Max & Issy’s. One noticeable change to the exterior is replacing the glass front window with a glass garage door that retracts to improve airflow.

The menu at Max & Issy’s features 16-inch New York-style pizzas that are sure to bring a smile to the lips of former New Yorkers living in the city and first-times looking for that perfect New York slice. 

Choices include the classic cheese offering with Parmigiano-Reggiano. If a pizza spot can’t do a simple cheese pizza right, it won’t last long in Chicago. Max & Issy’s pass this test with top marks with a delicious pie that oozes flavor. Their White Pizza, featuring mozzarella, ricotta, Parmigiano-Reggiano, cracked black pepper, garlic, and olive oil, begs the question, “who needs tomato sauce?” when the pizza is this good.

Sausage and pepperoni are well represented at Max & Issy’s. You really can’t go wrong with these New York pies as the flavors are right on point and the break from Chicago-style pizza is a welcome addition to the Lakeview neighborhood.

Paying homage to the beloved bacon boards patrons ordered up at Paddy Long’s, the “Paddy is Our Daddy” pizza hits on all cylinders with jowl bacon, Italian sausage, pepperoni, and Parmigiano Reggiano. This may be the crowning pizza achievement at Max & Issy’s, delivering something unique that will have your taste buds demanding repeat visits. 

Other standout pies include the veggie featuring artichokes, red onions, mushrooms, bell peppers, basil and arugula, and Parmigiano Reggiano. The Pompei Today is loaded with flavor thanks to the Serrano peppers, jalapenos, Fresno peppers, banana peppers, and hot giardiniera. Max & Issy’s also gives you the option to build your own pizza with whatever ingredients float your boat. 

The salads are definitely worth checking out as well. In particular, the apple Italiano, a spinach and arugula mix with a delicious medley of apples, tomatoes, red onions, pistachios, basil, and shavings of Parmigiano Reggiano, and delectable lemon honey dressing.

Max and Issy’s in Lakeview is an excellent transition from Paddy Long’s that gives us Chicagoans an authentic taste of New York pizza for those times when deep dish is a bit too much. Don’t be surprised when these pies are what you think of when you have pizza on the brain. Don’t worry though, you won’t suddenly become a Yankees fan or start talking with an East Coast accent just because you open yourself up to pizza from that other big city.

Max and Issy’s is open Wednesday through Saturday from 4 pm to 11 pm and Sunday from 4 pm to 10 pm.