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Solve a riddle for a Bostonian.

Okay, I aways thought "Chicago-style" pizza was the deep dish variety. But two very good friend (both from the south side) insist most Chicagoans prefer "regular" pizza. They mentioned Vito & Mike's, and the original Home Run Inn as more typical of what folks in Chicago eat.

So what's the deal? Deep dish or not? Or is it a 50/50 proposition?

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  1. My sense is that "Chicago-style" pizza is called "Chicago-style" pizza because it presumably originated here. I'll leave the historians/archivists fight over the where-when-what-and-how but Chicagoans are a pretty eclectic bunch and so you can find throughout town versions and preferences for deep-dish/pan/stuffed, thin/cracker-thin, New-York/New-Haven, Neapolitan/Roman/Milanese syles of pizza, among others.

    1. I totally agree with jbw. There are millions of people in the city, much less the metro area. There is certainly no one "Chicago" taste bud. Different people come here with different taste preferences. Don't fall prey to "Saturday Night Live" stereotypes. Furthermore, any one person (such as, say, ummm...me) can have pizza love for multiple styles. I'd place the original (not franchise) Pizzeria Uno/Due high on my list of last-meal-before-I-die. But I also love Home Run Inn, which is kind of a 'tweener in the Pan vs. Thin debate and Father & Son in the cracker-thin category. Then there's the suddenly hot & supposedly authentic Napoli-style pizzas featured at Ballo and Spaca Napoli which I haven't had, but look forward to sampling based on all the raves. Without trying to be trite, it really is All Good.

      1 Reply
      1. re: RMaris9

        //Don't fall prey to "Saturday Night Live" stereotypes.//

        I definitely know what you mean by that. As in: "all I ever eat is chowder, lobsters and baked beans. Oh and cod."

      2. Home run is "OK" Aurellios is better.. I never had their Deep Dish, but man.. their thin is AWSOME!!
        Visiting customers ask me alot where to find the best "Chicago Style" pizza, I tell them where to go for MY favorite, and I always pre empt that with the disclaimer that pizza's in chicago are like any reginal dish in any city... every pizza is different and everyone has their favorite. ( Aurellios has the best thin crust, and Nancys or Lou Malnatis has the best deep dish)

        1. I grew up on the southside of Chicago and now live for the last 15 years on the Northside. The way I see it, southsider's primarily eat thin while downtown and northsider's eat more deep dish. My dad was a huge fan of Pizzeria Uno & Due's deep dish while the rest of the family prefered Barraco's in Evergreen Park, Palermo's in Oak Lawn, or Aurelio's. I recently found out that I'm gluten-intollerant/celiac, so pizza is now out of the question...what a major bummer! If you haven't tried Spacca Napoli at Sunnyside and Ravenswood on the Northside, I hear that it's fantastic...the best traditional Naples thin pizza.

          1. For me what distinguishes Chicago pizza from all the rest is not Home Run Pizza, Connies etc but any pizza which as its top layer is tomato sauce/tomato chunks (Pizanos, Lou Mals). So if you are looking to find out what all the fuss is about go deep dish, b/c the other slices can be found anywhere.

            1. To really understand Chicago Pizza you need to know that Chicago is basically a three sided city; Northside, Southside & Westside, that "share" a common downtown. Each is like a separate city unto itself not unlike New York and it's Burroughs.

              Each side has it's own unique and distinct style of foods. Southside guys claim Home Run, Giordano's, Aurelio's as theirs, David Berg hot dogs and breaded steak sandwiches. While the Northsider's claim Edwardo's, Lou Malnati's, Nancy's, Bacino's Barnaby's & Gulliver's and Vienna hot dogs. The Westside gave us Manny's Deli & Maxwell st. style Polishes. Downtown is home to the big time steakhouses & Gino's East & Uno/Duo.

              Now for the riddle part! There are 3 "styles" of Chicago pizza in Chicago that are unique to us, Traditional Deep dish (Uno's/Gino's, Malnati's, Gulliver's), Stuffed Deep dish (Giordano's, Bacino's & Nancy's), and Chicago thin crust (Barnaby's, Aurelio's, Home Run Inn). Thin crust does outsell the deep, cooking time & cost are probably the main reasons; you can wait 45 mins for a thin delivered to your door or wait for up to an hour+ for a stuffed to be served at the restaurant.

              here is good link to read for more detail: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chicago-...

              My vote would be for Barnaby's for thin, Ginos East downtown for deep dish, & Giordano's for stuffed deep dish.

              5 Replies
              1. re: abf005

                Thanks to everyone, and especially you, ABF005. GREAT answer.

                1. re: abf005

                  How did the Westside get credit for Manny's or Maxwell St.? They aren't exactly Westside!

                  1. re: YoYoPedro

                    YoYoPedro you asked a loaded question!

                    Technically, BOTH place are very Westside, since Manny's is 1 block north of Roosevelt on Jefferson, and Maxwell Street is 1 block south of Roosevelt. Both fall inside the southern edge of Sanitary and Ship Canal so they are considered Westside spots.

                    Rule of thumb is; if anything is due west of Halsted St and lies within a block or two of being in-between Chicago Ave & Roosevelt then it's hard core Westside, but arguments will abound after that, since various maps and historical docs show anything north of the Stevenson (IL Sanitary Canal) to south of the Kennedy could also be considered the Westside. Now if it really is or not I don't know! But here's a good link about where the heck the Westside is!


                    Chicago stadium, Greek town, Taylor st, Randolf restaurant row, Oak Brook, Cicero, UIC/Rush are all on the west side.

                    Southside: Chinatown, Sox park, Hyde Park, Midway, Brookfield zoo

                    1. re: abf005

                      Sorry, but since both spots are well east of the Kennedy/Dan Ryan, as well as well east of Halsted St., I'll give you South Side if you want, but there's nothing West about them. The maps in your posted link (which cannot be assumed to be the de facto rule of side-ism anyway) use the expressway and Halsted St. as delineators of even an expanded West Side, and still the points that are in question don't fit. But Chowhound is about food, not Side-ism, and I like 'em both for food. I'll just always think of them as South Side, or Downtown, not West Side. BTW, of your examples, Manny's and Maxwell St. are a lot closer to Chinatown than any of the other examples you gave. Cheers!

                      1. re: YoYoPedro

                        Manny's is east of the Ryan, although I wouldn't consider one city block "well east", and Maxwell Street (by this I think the OP means Jim's Original + Maxwell Street Express, rather than the market) directly abuts the Ryan on the west.

                        Manny's and the Maxwell Street polish stands are both closer to the Italian places on Taylor Street than to Chinatown, and smack dab between Chinatown and Greektown.

                        I don't particularly agree with abf005's definition of the boundaries of the south/west/north sides, but your Chicago chow geography is clearly having some problems of its own.

                2. Besides, if Btookfield Zoo is considered Southside, I'm sure we can fit Manny's in there, too, along with Hinsdale.

                  1. Oops my bad! Da zoo is clearly on the Westside, so I stand corrected on that one. But Hinsdale? Now we are way off track! Emilio's Tapas anyone?

                    I still firmly stand by the fact that both Manny's & Maxwell Streets part of the Near Westside Neighborhood. And according to the City of Chicago, they agree as well. Here is the official Chicago city neighborhood map of the Near West Side Neighborhood as published by the city: http://egov.cityofchicago.org/webport...
                    Since both Manny's and Maxwell have absolutely nothing to do with Chicago Style pizza, I now rest my case for the purposes of this thread!

                    Oddly enough while on the city site (chicago.org) I discovered that Chinatown is not even the official name of the neighborhood its in! Apparently its called Amour Park, I always thought it was specifically called China Town or part of Bridgeport, I guess you learn something everyday.

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: abf005

                      I guess it all depends on interpretation and the addition of "Near" and "community area". According to the map, Union Station is in the "Near" West Side community area, too. I have a lot of friends who grew up on the West Side, and they'd get a good laugh out of the idea that Manny's or Union Station was on the "West Side". So we'll just have to agree to disagree. Perhaps part of my confusion stems from your earlier posts talking about the "West Side", and the map and your most recent post referring to the "Near" West Side community area. Bucktown is in the Logan Square community area, but few people would refer to a Bucktown restaurant as being in Logan Square. As to gleam's post, in my reference to proximity to Chinatown, I was referring to how far east or west Manny's or Maxwell St. is. All of them are east of Halsted St. And east may not be "well east", but it isn't west! But as has been mentioned, the original question was of pizza... Cheers!

                      PS - Chinatown is in the Armour Square neighborhood, not Amour Park.

                      1. re: YoYoPedro

                        Regarding pizza, the thinner the crust, the better, IMHO. had a great pizza 3 nights ago from Tomato Head on West Randolph in the West Loop in the Near West Side community area, and it was phenomenal. It had a cornmeal-dusted, thin, buttery crust, very similar to the O' Fame crust. With a combo topping called "fire breather" - sausage, pepperoni and a hot pepper/giardiniera mix. WOW! Superb.

                        1. re: YoYoPedro

                          Tomato Head sounds like a nice lunch hit.

                          Funny: West Loop in the Near West Side community area! LMAO

                          If you like the really thin crust (aka like St. Louis style), then Racine, WI. might have your dream pizza in Wells Brothers, thin and very tasty! Otherwise, I remember Candlelight on Western ave up north as being pretty cracker thin as well.

                    2. I've been reluctant to try Tomato Head because their fliers are so ridiculously over-designed, uber-cliche'-graphic...not to mention the offerings are generic in and of themselves. Interesting that they might be worth checking out. To iterate: the ads are extremely off-putting...the culinary equivalent of "jazz hands." I love O'Fame's thin so...maybe worth checking out.