Little Italy, sometimes called University Village, is a neighborhood on the Near West Side of Chicago, Illinois. The community is made up of diverse ethnic and socio-economic backgrounds as a result of immigration, urban renewal, gentrification and the growth of the resident student and faculty population of the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC).
It’s Italian-American heritage is primarily evident in the Italian-American restaurants of Taylor Street. No surprise that there is no shortage of pizza and pasta options here. Other specialty spots include Mario’s Italian Ice (a curbside stand serving shaved ice since the ‘50s), Al’s Beef (a curbside stand turned popular chain,) and nearby Maxwell Street Market. The neighborhood is also home to the National Italian American Sports Hall of Fame as well as the historic Roman Catholic churches Our Lady of Pompeii, Notre Dame de Chicago, and Holy Family.