When in Chicago, there’s really only one dish that surpasses the rest: the deep-dish pizza. Throw the diet out the window, and sink your teeth into some serious pizza utopia at one of these must-try places.
The windy city has been a long-time favourite destination for many Americans and tourists alike, and its food culture is just one reason why.
Along with the other best things to do in the city, ie visiting Willis Tower, Wrigley Field or Lake Michigan, there’s no question that you’ve got to try the deep-dish pizza.
The New York style pizza has a thin and crispy crust, topped with a light layer of tomato sauce, cheese and any toppings you can think of.
Chicago deep-dish pizza, on the other hand, has a very thick crust with a generous helping of tomato sauce, cheese and toppings. Think of it almost as a pizza cake: plenty of depth and seriously good!
The places you have to try
Lou Malnati’s Pizzeria
Lou Malnati’s Pizzeria has been a firm favourite for many locals, and having tried it myself, I totally get it.
There’s many branches all over Chicago, meaning temptation is everywhere! A good starting point is the Malnati Chicago Classic.
It comes with lean sausage, extra cheese and vine-ripened tomato sauce. The restaurant also offers ‘healthier’ options such as the thin-crust pizzas, or ‘The Lou’; a semi healthy dish named after the man himself, and topped with plenty of veggies to help lessen the guilt factor!
If you’re looking for the home of the original deep-dish style, head to Pizzeria Uno. The deep-dish pizza that Chicagoans love today was first invented in 1943. Back then, the pizzas had a crispy short dough crust, topped with cheese and followed with crushed tomatoes.
The present-day versions may slightly vary in toppings, but not in the same love and care that goes into making them.
With the pizza dough made fresh every day, and the cheese hand shredded (!), this is one Chicago institution that you simply cannot afford to miss.
In the Irving Park area of the city is Tano’s Pizzeria. This is the place to come when you want a classic taste of Chicago.
Tano’s stuffed pizza is layered with crust, and then stuffed with mozzarella cheese and toppings. After this, an additional layer of dough is placed over the toppings like a pizza blanket. Lastly, a thick tomato sauce is slathered over the top to keep all the goodness together.
Giordano’s has been dishing up their version of Chicago deep-dish pizza since 1974. With a whopping 51 locations in the Chicago area alone, they’re super easy to find!
The original recipe for Giordano’s came from Mama Giordano herself, who used to serve her famous Italian Easter pie back in Torino, Italy.
Since then, the current double-crusted, cheese stuffed overloaded version has since continued to fill the stomachs of many happy Chicagoans.
A slight variation from the classic deep-dish style pizzas, Pequod’s version comes with a caramelised crust.
This crispy brown extra is a result of the cast iron pans the pizzas are baked in, blackened from years of seasoning. This, on top of the generous toppings and its tangy, fresh tasting tomato sauce, Pequod’s Pizza is quickly becoming a popular go-to place for locals in need of fixing their pizza pangs.
If you needed anymore proof of just how good their pizza is, TV channel Food Network voted them ‘Top 5 pizza’s in the country’ in 2015, and ‘Best pizza in Illinois’ in 2011.