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Monday, September 18, 2023

Original Deep Dish Pizza Chicago

Louisa’s Pizza & Pasta

Trying Chicago Deep Dish Pizza for the First Time! CHICAGO FOOD TOUR


Louisa DeGenero was a cook at Pizzeria Due when she decided to open her own place in the South suburbs with her daughter in 1981. This is a contender for the best original-style Chicago pizza currently being made, with a lighter, puffier butter crust, yet that same robust sauce studded with chunks of tomatoes and fennel-rich Italian sausage you’ve come to expect from a classic local deep dish.

Louisas Pizza & Pasta

For more than 30 years Louisas Pizza & Pasta has been serving up arguably some of the best original-style Chicago deep dish in the Windy City. Located in Crestwood, the pizzeria carries its signature pizzas light and puffy crust, hearty tomatoes, and flavorful Italian sausage right to the bank, and earns a top spot as one of the best deep dish joints in Chicago. Its so old school they dont maintain a website!

Choosing A Deep Dish Pizza Place In Chicago

In my quest to discover the best deep dish pizza in Chicago, I managed to visit three pizza joints.

The first two served the classic Chicago-style pizza that has become one of the citys icons. The third was a mistake from start to finish so I wont be mentioning it here, and youll thank me for that.

Still, choosing where to try the deep pan was a challenge all in itself.

Obviously, I turned to the internet, where I quickly drowned in lists of top 5s, top 10s and even a top 50. There were the original pizza places, the most popular, the with a twist, the craft-creators and the urban trendys. If I learned one thing from my pre-pie research its that everyone has an opinion and Chicago is not short on great pizza parlours to choose from.

This gave me some quandary until I returned to the root of the issue. I wanted to taste the original and I wanted to taste the best.

That led me to two places: Unos and Giordarnos.

Unos, you will recognise as the restaurant that originally belonged to the brothers who invented Chicagos deep dish pizza. Established in 1943, the brand has exploded into a staggering-sized chain with over 100 restaurants around the world . However, the original restaurant still stands in its original spot in Chicago and it is there that I went for my first tasting.

And so my pizzeria choices were set.

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Baking With Yeast Guide

Lets talk about the pizza sauce. Slightly sweet, incredibly thick, and wonderfully flavorful. The sauce is always my favorite part about Chicago-style pizza. In fact, I usually order extra sauce on the side. All about the condiments in my world.

This garlic infused pizza sauce is made on the stovetop and, while waiting for the pizza dough to rise, simmers quietly allowing the flavors to develop and the texture to thicken. I like to add some red pepper flakes for a little heat it really gives this sauce something extra. If you dont like heat, you can leave it out. This sauce is unlike ANY other tomato sauce Ive ever had. To me, it tastes like the kinds Ive had in Chicago. Youre going to love it. Unless of course you dont like tomato sauce.

Along with the miracle crust and this luscious pizza sauce, a whole lotta cheese goes into this deep dish pie. You may use sliced mozzarella or shredded. Whatever it is, slice or shred it yourself from a block of real mozzarella cheese. Pre-shredded mozzarella is just fine, but the taste of sliced or shredded fresh mozzarella is just unbeatable.

My husband loves a good pepperoni pizza and bacon is his favorite food, so I add both to my Chicago-style pizza. These go on top of the cheese and before the sauce. A little grated parmesan to finish things up and weve got ourselves one damn tasty copycat Chicago deep dish pizza. How many times can I type Chicago in one post?

I love you Chicago and your pizza too!

Chicago Style Deep Dish Pizza


Check out our Chicago Visitors Guide, with budget advice, travel guides, and information about local Chicago attractions

Where to get the best deep dish pizza in Chicago, is a repeatedly asked question our tour guides get from their guests after their tours. Pizza may be Italian by origin, but it’s internationally known as an American food. And within this American staple, there is New York style and Chicago’s Deep Dish, but there are also New Haven style, Detroit’s double baked, and even a St. Louis local style.

While you are visiting Chicago – eating a deep dish pizza is a MUST. Deep dish in Chicago is like a religion. Some folks are deeply reverent and eat it weekly while others stick to Christmas and Easter to indulge and reflect.

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Other Places To Eat The Best Deep Dish Pizza In Chicago

The competition for the best deep dish pizza in Chicago is fierce. If youve packed enough stretchy pants, here are a few more places to try :

Update: Im very lucky that this post has had some attention in Chicago and some wonderful local people have pitched in with their opinions on where is the best deep dish pizza in Chicago. Every single one of these is going on my list for next time and Ive added them to the list above. If youve got a suggestion, leave a comment and Ill add it to the list.

Chicagos Top 10 Deep Dish Pizza Places

There are more than a dozen styles of pizza , but Chicago deep dish pizza seems to be the one that the midwest loves the most. Its thick, buttery crusts, a piping hot pan of pizza toppings, sauce and cheese that can be customized in dozens of different ways and enjoyed best with a knife and fork. Some practitioners of the pie are so famous outside the Windy City that they ship their pizzas via FedEx across the country. If youre heading to the Second City, try a deep dish pizzeria or two from our early 2016 list.

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Lou Malnatis Pizzeriabest Deep

If the name sounds familiar, youre right. Lou Malnati was the oldest son of Rudy Malnati, who was the head chef of Pizzeria Uno. Some sources claim that Rudy Malnati was the original inventor of deep-dish pizza.

Lou opened his first restaurant in Lincolnwood, Illinois. The restaurant opened on March 17th St. Patricks Day in the US. According to The History of Lous, Lou always thought it was funny that an Italian should open a pizzeria in a Jewish neighborhood on an Irish holiday, but that was just Lous style.

Malnatis menu varies slightly from location to location but is generally very similar. The restaurant also serves a Chicago Classic style a deep-dish with extra sausage and extra cheese. They also are well-known for The Lou a deep-dish pizza with spinach, mushrooms, and sliced Roma tomatoes. The restaurant also serves thin crust pizza with the pieces cut into squares the tavern style cut as described earlier in this post.

Lou Malnatis has a limited but adequate number of salad/appetizer options if you are so inclined. The choice of after-dinner desserts is somewhat limited so if you are counting on a rich dessert to finish off your meal, just be aware that your choices may be few.

The restaurant has expanded into a chain with locations in Illinois, Arizona, Wisconsin, and Indiana. If you are outside these states, you can also order frozen deep-dish pizzas for shipment right to your doorstep.

Searching for the best deep-dish pizza in Chicago.

A Err I Mean3chicago Stuffed Pizza

First Time Eating Chicago-style Deep Dish Pizza

When people visit Chicago and want to try deep dish pizza, many dont realize that there are actually two different styles of deep dish:

Stuffed Pizza invented in 1971 at Nancys Pizza. A variant of deep dish pizza, based on Rocco Paleses Italian family recipe for scarciedda, Stuffed pizza is clearly different from Original Deep Dish. This style of pizza has a top and bottom crust with a substantial amount of cheese and other ingredients in-between, and the sauce going not inside, but on top of the top crust. From my experience with Stuffed pizza, the dough used for this style of pizza is closer to a regular pizza dough than that of Original Deep Dish. Connies, Edwardos & Giordanos are also famous for this style of pizza.

So now that you know the basic difference between the styles of Chicago Pizza, I can continue with the thing I was talking about up there

1) They chose to NOT go to Chicago for their Chicago Style pizza segment. 2) Tony G. was clearly NOT using deep dish dough as I recall seeing a sheeted pizza dough being dropped into the pan. This is OK if hes making STUFFED pizza, which I wasnt sure if he was, because I dont recall him putting a second sheet of dough on before he sauced it.

Im not sure how he found this site , and I couldnt be more excited that he did, because Tony replied to my mini-rant :

I replied that I thought it was a shame that they edited him down.

Youve read this far and now youre probably waiting for a dough recipe.

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Whats The Difference Between Deep Dish Pies And Stuffed Pizza

Im sure there are a thousand pizza aficionados whod queue up to give me a stern talking to for what Im about to say but I personally didnt notice much difference between the deep dish style pizza and the stuffed pizza . In fact, it wasnt until I took a closer look at the respective websites to write this post that I realised there is, apparently, a difference.

However, if you are interested, the main difference seems to be that the stuffed pizza has a second layer of dough, which tops the pizza like an actual pie. However, as stuffed pizzas can be slightly deeper in terms of toppings and because the second dough is slathered with more tomato sauce and cheese, I really didnt notice any taste difference.

History Of Pizzas With Tomato Sauce: The Special Ingredient

Tomatoes were brought to Naples in the 16th century, bringing pizza one step closer to what we enjoy today:

  • 1522: Tomatoes were introduced to the people of Naples from the New World. While at first, people thought these new fruits were poisonous, the poor citizens in the area begin using tomatoes in their bread dough, which lead to a pizza that closely resembled what millions of people enjoy today. The crude pizza was mainly eaten by the poorer peoples of the area because they needed a food that was inexpensive to make and easy to eat.
  • 17th Century: Pizza was popular among visitors to Naples who travel to the poorer sections to find a dish known as pizzaioli.
  • Late 1800s: The pizza of Naples had cheese, tomato sauce and spices as toppings. The story goes that a baker living in Naples, Raffaele Esposito, made his pizza this way. Espositio and his wife made pizza topped with mozzarella cheese, pork fat, olive oil, garlic, tomatoes and basil. His version became so well-liked that he made pizzas for King Umberto and Queen Margherita of Italy in the late 1800s. The queen enjoyed pizza topped with basil, plum tomatoes and mozzarella cheese, which is known today as pizza Margherita.
  • 19th Century: During the latter part of this century, pizza was sold on the streets of Naples. Pizza was eaten for any meal, even breakfast. Booths were set up that soon become pizzerias where customers could sit, eat, drink and socialize. These early pizzerias began offering a variety of toppings.

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Pizza In The Ancient World

So, what is pizza, and where did it come from? Well, the earliest record of pizza occurred as early as 600 B.C. if not even before that in the form of flatbread. This flatbread would often be topped with herbs, vegetables, and oils. This was a desirable meal option for several different cultures, including the ancient Egyptians, Romans, and Greeks.

The Pizza Comes To You

The 6 Best Places for Deep Dish Pizza in Chicago

Pizza delivery made pizza more convenient and more popular. Families could order pizza instead of cooking and still enjoy a hot dinner delivered right to their door. While its not set in stone, it is believed that Dominos was the first pizzeria to offer this service.

  • 1961: Dominos Pizza began offering pizza delivery and started a new trend. Dominos remains the U.S. leader in pizza delivery.

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Pizzeria Unothe Original Chicago Deep

Although there is disagreement about who actually invented Chicagos iconic deep-dish style, most historians and city experts will tell you that this style was first served at Pizzeria Unos flagship location at 29 East Ohio Street in Chicago. Does this mean that it has the best deep-dish in Chicago?

The restaurant rating service Zagat has this to say about Pizzeria Uno:

Fans forsake all other Unos for these world-famous River North originals thanks to classic deep-dish pizzas laden with cheese and tomatoes and balanced by crispy, pastrylike crusts sure, they’re not much for decor, but out-of-town guests appreciate the old-time feel, and despite long waits most agree you have to go at least once.

Their most popular pizza is the deep-dish Chicago Classic a pie they advertise as extra cheese, extra sausage, extra good in your mouth. Try it and see if you think its the best pizza Chicago has to offer!

Unos crust is hearty but not too thick just enough to encase and support the ingredients packed into it. One or two slices of this famous deep-dish pizza is about all I can take in a single sitting. As you would expect the pizza is a heavier food, but you can eat well and enjoy it without feeling overly stuffed after your meal.

Pizzeria Uno, the Original Chicago Deep-Dish Pizza

The Best Deep Dish Pizza In Chicago

There are few things that go as hand-in-hand as the city of Chicago and deep dish pizza. From crispy, crunchy crust to gooey cheese and mouth wateringly savory tomato sauce just thinking about a deep dish pizza from one of Chicagos famous pizza joints is enough to make anyones mouth water. In fact, Bill Murray, a native of the Chicago suburbs, has been known to say that, unless you are a pizza, the answer is yes, I can live without you, and its hard to argue against that kind of thinking. But with all the options to chow down on in Chicago, it can be challenging finding that perfect slice! To help, here is our list of the best deep dish pizza in Chicago you must try while visiting the Windy City.

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