The Elements Of A Traditional Chicago Pizzeria
Other than the original Chicago pizza itself , there is something to be said about the actual restaurant that I have noticed that I saw differently.
I am a Californian born and raised , and it wasnt until I moved to Illinois when I was 11 or so, that I noticed that most Chicago deep-dish eateries had a bit of a unique style to them.
Usually, its a dark-ish/dim-lit restaurant furnished with dark wood tables and chairs.
The more you walk into the establishment, the more you get a sense of hometown feeling, even in a city so diverse and popular as Chicago.
Old photos displaying hometown pride on the walls through old pictures of the original restaurant owners and their families, to the neighborhood, local sports teams, all while dining on a table most likely decorated with a red and white checkered table cloth or the bare table itself.
You can tell that the pizza is on its way soon when the waiter brings over the pizza stand, as well as the bigger utensils to cut the pizza. Its special, and I wouldnt think of enjoying deep dish any other way
So, without further ado, here are 5 of the best places to find deep-dish pizza in Chicago .
Final Thoughts On The Best Deep
For some out-of-town visitors, the musts on a trip to Chicago are a pilgrimage to Wrigley Field, a cruise along the Chicago River, a trip to the top of the John Hancock Center, or a visit to the Art Institute of Chicago. These are all wonderful ways to enjoy the city. But if you make it to Chicago, youve got to make time for Chicago deep-dish pizza. This home-town specialty is as much a part of the fabric of Chicago as any of these other attractions.
Chicagoans are passionate about their deep-dish pizza, and they love to argue over which Chicago-style pizza restaurant is the best. However, it all comes down to a matter of personal preference.
All the pizzerias featured above have droves of loyal fans and have won numerous awards for the pizza they proudly serve. So, if youre ever visiting Chicago, you should try at least a couple of the pizzerias on our short list of whos making todays best Chicago deep-dish pizzas.
Leave behind your Pizza Hut or Numero Uno ideas of deep-dish. Experience the authentic recipes passed down through generations of Chicagos best pizza makers. In other words, dont settle for good pizza when you can have great pizza!
If your plans dont have you visiting Chicago anytime soon, keep in mind that nearly all the major pizza restaurants in Chicago ship frozen deep-dish pizzas across the country. This way, you can enjoy a literal slice of Chicago from the comfort of your own home. Now thats taking pizza delivery to a whole different level!
Where To Find The Best Deep
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So what is the original Chicago pizza you ask?
Its deep dish pizza! And it is just as Chicagoan as the Cubs, Lollapalooza, The Bean, and the polar vortex and its also quite a unique style of pizza that since its original creation back in the 1940s by Italian immigrants, has caused attention from tourists for a variety of reasons.
One of the most common being why it looks the way it does, if this is actually pizza , and if its good.
In todays post, Ill cover the basics to give you a beginners look and understanding of what the heck deep dish pizza is if its your first time ever hearing about it, or if youre just curious about this local delicacy that is very much part of the local culture here in Chicago.
I will also share with you some of the places with the best deep dish pizza according to locals, as well as my own personal recommendations throughout the city and surrounding areas.
Feeling hungry yet? Good, lets see where you can get a slice of the original Chicago pizza!
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Ginos Eastfamous For Chicago Fire Deep
Ginos East is one of the few Chicago-style pizza restaurants that did not evolve from Pizzeria Uno. The original Ginos East opened in 1966. It was founded by two taxi drivers, Fred Bartoli and Sam Levine. They asked their friend George Loverde to join them in getting the restaurant started.
However, the trio credit Alice Mae Redmond as the creator of the recipe that would make Ginos East famous. A highly talented African-American woman with 17 years of pizza-making experience before coming to Ginos, Redmond developed a unique dough recipe, dough conditioner, and dough-handling procedure that set her pies apart from the competition. She worked her magic at Ginos for 29 years.
Ginos East had their initial location on Wells Street, near Chicagos famous Rush Streetone of the major spots in Chicago for nightlife and great restaurants. In the early 1980s, their flagship restaurant moved from its original location to Superior Street in Chicagos River North area.
Ginos East is well known for creative pizzas like their Chicago Fire deep-dish pizza, featuring spicy patty-style sausage, fire roasted red peppers, and red onions. They also feature an Italian Beef pizza. This pizza is covered with Italian beef , sweet peppers, and giardiniera. All these pizzas are also available in thin-crust versions.
How To Make A Deep Dish Pizza
1. In mixing bowl, combine yeast and warm water. Mix and then let sit for 10 minutes until foamy. 2. Add flour, cornmeal, sugar, salt, melted butter, olive oil and canola oil.3. Mix on medium speed with the dough hook attachment for about 8 minutes. You might need to add more flour or some water, depending on consistency. The dough should bounce back when pressed and not stick to the sides of the bowl. You can also knead with your hands on a floured surface until dough comes together.4. Rub the same bowl with a little bit of olive oil and place dough in bowl, turning to coat it. Cover with saran wrap and a towel in a warm place, allowing it to rise for at least 45 min or until the dough doubles in size. Use when ready to bake your pizza.5. While dough is rising, heat olive oil in medium saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and cook until translucent, about 4-5 minutes. Add garlic, oregano and crushed red pepper flakes and cook for another minute. Add tomato sauce, tomato paste and basil and bring to boil. Reduce to simmer and cook for about 35-40 minutes, until the sauce is slightly reduced and thick. Season with salt if needed.6. Preheat oven to 425°F. With about 10 minutes left before dough is ready, in medium skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add sausage and break up with wooden spoon. Add green bell pepper and cook until sausage is browned and pepper is starting to brown. Set aside.
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Piece Brewery And Pizzeria
This Wicker Park spot is crafting more than just pizza. They also brew their own beer, including pale ales, IPAs, seasonal brews, and more. Each pairs perfectly with their New Haven-style pies. Many menu items feature local ingredients, like a barbeque pie with Lillies Q sauce and a red pizza topped with Hot Dougs famous Atomic Sausage.
An Easy Recipe For An Amazing Result
Thing is, there are plenty of different recipes trying to recreate the Lou Malnatis pizza. I looked at different forums and found many passionate people competing about it. Some of the recipes seemed a little bit advanced to make, and I wanted an easier version, something everyone could do at home, no matters the cooking skills, advanced or beginner and that is what I created for you here.
So first things first, you may wonder:
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Why Deep Dish Is Special
Deep dish pizza runs deep in Chicago, and its surrounding areas, just as much as family, quality ingredients, and warm service does for many of these establishments.
The symbol for new beginnings, food innovation, and the desire to do better for family is what led to creations such as deep-dish pizza in Chicago, and many other culinary favorites and staples here in the U.S.
I think thats one of my favorite things about a country as diverse as the States, and that is the options we have to travel the world through taste.
In Chicago too, there is definitely an abundance of diversity that allows us to enjoy foods from all over the world, as well as hometown favorites inspired by the influence of many hard-working immigrants and their family recipes.
What food is famous in your part of the world, and which destination would you love to go to purely for the staple dish?
Would you come to Chicago to try a slice of the original Chicago pizza?
Let me know in the comments below, and the food recommendations you have for all of us to try when we visit your city!
To many more travel moments like these
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Pizanosanother Facet Of The Malnati Pizza Legacy
Putative inventor of Chicago deep-dish pizza, Rudy Malnati, Sr., was not only instrumental in changing the world of pizza forever back in the 1940s. Two of his sons went on to open their own popular pizzerias in Chicago.
Weve already discussed Lou Malnatis Pizzeria, but Rudy Malnati, Jr., also followed in his fathers footsteps when he opened Pizanos in 1991. Pizanos does a first-class deep-dish pizza, of course, but it has also won great acclaim for its thin-crust pies.
At first, branching into thin crust was an idea that did not sit well with Rudys mom, Donna Marie Malnati, family matriarch and custodian of the family dough recipe. But son Rudy Jr. finally convinced her, and Mama Malnati lovingly rolled doughs for both types of pizza at Pizanos into her 90s.
Pizza lovers of all stripes can find something to make them happy at Pizanos. Its deep dish has been rated by USA Today as one of the 10 best pizzas in America, while Oprah Winfrey has declared Pizanos thin crust as the best thin crust pizza in Chicago. If those accolades arent enough, trust the crowds that pile into Pizanos 4 Chicago locations.
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Who Made The First Chicago
Claiming who came up with deep dish pizza first is a bit like the phrase about what came first the chicken or the egg?
The reason why is because Its debatable to determine who exactly came up with the famed local recipe.
However, what many can agree on is that the influence came during the wave of immigration from Europe in the 1900s. Two immigrants from Naples called Ike Swell and Ric Riccardo arrived in Chicago and opened the first establishment called Unos Pizzeria , to sell deep dish pizza in 1943, after experimenting with the fusion of their love for pizza from their homeland, and combining it with what they had available here in the U.S. .
They decided to get creative, and instead of using a regular flat pan, they used a cake pan where theyd lay the crust in, add layers of cheese, meats , onions and mushrooms, and globs of tomatoes and sauce making the pizza look more like a cake than a pizza.
Adolpho Malnati, a former employee at Unos Pizzeria run by Swell and Riccardo, claims that he was the one with the original idea of making the deep dish and using a cake pan, which caused a bit of controversy and tension, and led ultimately to his quitting Unos in order to start his own pizzeria, the now-famous Lou Malnati Pizza.
Some of which are included in todays list of places where to find the best deep dish pizza in Chicago.
What Is The Original Chicago Deep
The first and obvious thing that makes deep dish stand out is its look its a THICK style of pizza and in comparison to the 9 different types of pizza in the U.S. including New Yorks thin crust, Californias ricotta, and fresh veggie galor pizza, and Phillys tomato pie, deep dish is the only one of its kind.
Because of its size and volume, it is able to hold many more toppings, as the usual setup of deep dish is the following: crust, cheese, toppings, and tomato chunks/sauce.
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Lou Malnatis Menu Prices
Lou Malnatis Pizzeria is a Chicago-style restaurant founded in 1971 by Lou and his wife Jean. The first location was in Lincolnwood, Chicago, where they began making a variety of pizzas. The pizzeria has more than 50 locations across the United States, and the restaurant is corporately owned.
The hours of operation at the restaurant are from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. They serve a variety of deep-dish pizzas, as well as thin crust pizzas, salads, pasta, and so much more. The pizzeria does not do reservations, but they do deliveries.
Lou Malnatis pizza crust is like unlike any other. The crust is always flaky and buttery, while the dough is hand-tossed and placed in a seasoned deep-dish pizza pan. The restaurants style of preparing its pizzas are quite unique. Slices of mozzarella cheese are tossed on the dough before baking. Then, the ingredients are added, and finally, tomato sauce is placed on top with a blend of whole chunks of pear and plum tomatoes with cheese and as well as different spices.
On a yearly basis, the Lou Malnatis team goes to meet up with tomato growers across Chicago to ensure that the quality of tomatoes they offer is exceptional. Lou Malnatis Pizzeria also offers customers many rewards by downloading the Lou Malnatis app on their mobile devices to earn points and receive free pizzas. Customers can earn one point on every $1 spent from dining in, delivery orders, or carryout orders.
Heres a look at the latest Lou Malnatis menu prices.
Dig Into This Savory Cake
From the bottom-up, Taste describes characteristic Chicago-style deep dish pizza as starting with a dough pressed into a circular pan, similar looking to one you would use to bake a cake. The dough crisps up on the edges, creating a foundation firm enough to stand up to the weight of what comes next. On top of the dough, the following layer is chock full of what you typically see on top of a pizza: cheese, sausage, pepperoni, mushrooms, spinach, or whatever else you ordered in your preferred pie. Finally, the pizza gets topped with a blanket of tomato sauce and tossed in the oven, and out comes a flaky-crusted masterpiece .
Given the thick, layered nature of Chicago-style deep dish pizza, the slices are eaten with a fork and knife, per BBC. Servers at your deep dish joint will bring the entire pan out, often pre-sliced to perfection, to help keep the mess contained to hungry diner’s plates. Classic pizza joint options like Parmesan, red pepper flakes, or even plain old oregano shaken on top is encouraged.
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For My Chicago Birthday
To celebrate 1 year as a foodie in Chicago, I baked a giant Chicago-Style Deep Dish Pizza. I have tried countless deep dish pizza recipes them since I moved to Chicago, but it was my very first attempt to bake it myself. Being a huge fan of deep dish pizzas, I was quite exigent with the result I expected both in terms of taste and texture. While reviewing the existing deep dish pizza recipes, I found out that there were many different ones that had nothing to do with each other. Its easy to get lost! So I simply tried to recreate my very favorite deep dish pizza, the one from Lou Malnatis. No need to wait longer here to tell you the result. A complete success. Im so happy I found how to make the perfect deep dish pizza.
An Easy Version Of Lou Malnatis Pizza Dough Recipe
The important thing to have in mind is that there is an ingredient that makes all the difference: the use of yellow cornmeal, that bring this crunchy texture to the crust. Another difference between a deep dish pizza recipe and a classic pizza crust is the use of butter. Some recipes use butter only, other prefer to use a mix of butter and oil to get a perfect crunchy texture. This last option is what I went for, also because it makes the dough easier to work with. While the use of butter only, implies that you laminate the dough , my deep dish pizza crust recipe does not require any special technique which makes it a version everyone can make in less than 10 minutes, even when you are a beginner!
Once the dough is ready, stretch it out just enough to fit the pan. Then, in order to give the crust its perfect texture on the edges, we usually recommend to use your fingers to press the dough into cake pan. You want to make sure this is nice and tight fitting inside the pan.
Talking about the pan, what pan to use for a deep dish pizza? Youll notice here that I used a cast-iron skillet, but traditionally you would bake your pizza inside a 9-inch deep dish pan with at least 2-inch height. Or just use your regular cake spring form.
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