Flame Game

No-frills pie at Armitage Pizzeria

"Pizza and caprese salad," says Armitage Pizzeria's James Spillane. "That's all I know how to do."

And it's all he offers at his miniscule new Lincoln Park storefront: five varieties of pizza, three calzone and a caprese, to be eaten at a small table in front of the counter or, more likely, taken to go.

His approach is modeled after the pizza places Spillane grew up with in Worcester, Massachusetts: humble joints with gas ovens, classic toppings and no frills.

Spillane, who taught himself to make pies a decade ago, was behind the pizza at Coalfire. He makes similar dough at Armitage, but it emerges from the gas oven with more density and crunch.

White pizza ($12) is a standout. It's topped with spoonfuls of ricotta, a generous sprinkle of oregano, basil and garlic, and shredded mozzarella, which caramelizes to a toasty brown. At the opposite end of the spectrum, there's tomato pie ($10), an unapologetically simple round dressed in tomato sauce, olive oil and a trace of Romano cheese. It borders on dull, but satisfies with the quality of the tomato sauce and the crust.

Sausage is offered as a topping too, not made in-house but left to the experts at a West Town classic.

Armitage Pizzeria, 711 W. Armitage Ave.; 312-867-9111