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Talking Travel with Steve Dolinsky

by John Wroblewski

Oct 1, 2023

For my latest Talking Travel interview, I turned to Steve Dolinsky, a food and travel reporter in my hometown Chicago. Dolinsky’s expertise is pizza, but with more than 30 years of experience, Dolinsky’s knowledge goes well beyond my beloved pies.

A native of St. Cloud, Minnesota, Dolinsky was raised in a kosher home, satisfied with “brown, overcooked, monochromatic, starchy food of the seventies.” It wasn’t until his teenage years, when he was was introduced to Thai and Chinese cookbooks by his Tasmanian sister-in-law, that his interest in food was really ignited.

A couple years after graduating from the University of Wisconsin and a few jobs later, Dolinsky landed on CLTV in Chicago as a news reporter. In 1995 the station debuted Good Eating, a weekly, 30-minute show with Dolinsky as producer and host. Dolinsky earned six James Beard Awards for his work. He added radio work, which brought six more James Beard Awards. Freelance writing, two books (Pizza City USA: 101 Reasons Why Chicago Is America’s Greatest Pizza Town and The Ultimate Chicago Pizza Guide: A History of Squares & Slices in the Windy City), Pizza City USA Tours and Pizza City podcast followed.

Having followed Dolinsky from his Chicago debut, I appreciate all his work but especially his focus on pizza. I took the opportunity of this interview to get his take on all things pizza. Dolinsky discussed Chicago pizza styles as opposed to the city’s deep-dish reputation. He also described his perfect pizza, the best beverage accompaniment, searching for pizza in other cities and more. Through Pizza City tours and Pizza Fest, Dolinsky shares his love and knowledge of pizza with Chicagoans.

Dolinsky also explained two fantastic terms he coined. PIGUE (Pizza I Grew Up Eating) Syndrome and OBR (Optimal Bite Ratio) aren’t just fun terms. They are legitimate parts of the pizza experience.

I could have talked pizza with Dolinsky for hours, but with new pizzerias popping up every day and new areas to check, Dolinsky has more pizza news to gather. On behalf of pizza-lovers everywhere, especially in Chicago, I thank Dolinsky for all his work. I appreciate his time and consideration.

Talking Travel is an interview series on Global Traveler. Subscribe to the GT YouTube channel to be notified of all future interviews and other travel-related videos.

— John Wroblewski, online writer

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