Though it spans 10 locations across three states, Il Vicino maintains a mostly non-corporate vibe and local feel, with fantastic wood-oven pizzas and good craft beers shipped from the Albuquerque brew hub. The Pizza Margherita is simple beauty next to a pint.
Il Vicino removed its in-house brewery several years ago to make room for more tables, a sign of demand for its delectable wood-oven pizzas, delicious panini and heaping salads. Oh yeah — and that beer, now brewed elsewhere for them. Voted co-Best Local/Regional Restaurant Chain, this outfit will earn your love.
Best Local/Regional Restaurant Chain
This year the title for best local chain restaurant was a contentious battle between Il Vicino and Old Chicago, resulting in a draw. Whether your loyalties lie with Il Vicino's wood-oven creations or Old Chicago's deep-dish specialties, one thing is clear: We have a passion for pizza. And with good reason. Between Old Chicago's happy hour mini pizzas and Il Vicino's Melanzane with grilled eggplant and artichoke hearts, there is a lot to love about these eateries. Winning the hearts and taste buds of discerning pizza lovers is not an easy feat, however, for a chain restaurant. Both have won us over with their homey, decidedly unchain-y atmospheres and generous selections of microbrews. — Virginia Leise