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Best Pizza in Chicago?

A group of us are meeting in Chicago in two weeks and want the best restaurant for pizza. Please advice. Is Lou Malnatis good?

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  1. A simple search will turn up a plethora of posts on this very topic. All depends on wha kind of pizza you are looking for (thin, deep dish, etc), where you are in Chicago and what kind of transportation you have. Suffice it to say that Lou M's is one of the better places around, along with Uno, Due, Gino's East, Bacino's, Giordano's and Home Run Inn, Aurelio's, Vito & Nick's, Father & Son, Candlelite, Barnaby's, and countless others (first group primarily for deep dish/stuffed, second group for thin).

    1. Lou Malnati's deluxe with sausage, mushroom, onions and green peppers. Deep dish of course and be prepared to wait for 30-40 minutes so worth it. Get some minestrone to ward off your hunger...it's on the salty side but still very good IMHO.(Note: Minestrone Soup there has some kind of pork or ham in it)

      1. IMHO, Lou M's is just OK as far as Chicago pizza's go, in fact I think it's quite overrated, and I've always disliked the texture of the crust and the very, very mild flavored sausage patty that they do.

        I think you'd be better off with the other suggestions on RSMBob's list, especially Bacinos, Due or Gino's East (I can vouch for the Downtown or Rosemont locations, but STAY away from the Libertyville location! It may say Gino's East but it ain't).

        Frankly, the "Best" pizza question might be better answered if you told us where you'll be staying during your visit and how far (time-wise) your willing to travel to get there, you could end up driving hours (each way) depending on where you'll be staying to some of the places we might toss out.

        1. We will be at Hotel 71

          #71 E. Wacker Dr., Chicago, Illinois 60601
          So recommend away..please..we are a group ...

          2 Replies
          1. re: phelana

            Right next door at Bella Cacino's. Awesome! I used to live nearby and took all of my out-of-towner friends and they all absolutely loved it. My personal favorite is a thin & crispy pizza on the NAPOLETANA PIZZA menu. The stuffed is great too. But if you like thin, get the Napolentana pizza from the main menu instead of the "Thin" pizza from the pizza menu. They are way different. The one that I'm in love with has the charred, dusty crust with the natural bubbles on the edges - like it should! Plus, it's light so you can split one and then still have room to try another pizza at another joint. Instead of bar-hopping, go pizza-hopping!!

          2. Since we're known for deep dish, try Lou Malnati's, Uno & Due (means one and two in Italian...don't try the suburban satellite locations/they're terrible) for the very best deep dish in Chicago. Uno and Due can be packed like sardines and have an occasional off night...been around since the thirties.
            Also try Spacca Napoli at Sunnyside and Ravenswood Avenue on the Northside for excellent tradition Italian thin. There's an el stop and the metra within walking distance.

            1. There should be a Bacino's about 10 feet from your hotel. I think Gino's and Uno's are better, but that Bacino's location is at least 95% as good.


              1. We just went to Gino's East on Thursday(on Wells), it was great, I really enjoyed it & I don't even like deep dish. We were visiting from Los Angeles. Just keep in mind that it takes a LONG time to get a pizza. It was in walking distance - we were staying at the Westin River North.
                Plus they had pitchers of Goose Island for $15.

                1. PS one thing we did notice is that EVERYONE has a different opinion about pizza and steaks in Chicago!

                  1. I've heard really good things about Chicago Pizza and Ovengrinder by my long time family friends. It's small and local and a bit more of a flavor of chicago than the turisty places like Gino's, Uno and Due.


                    1. For spinach and mushroom deep dish, Edwardo's and Bacino's does a good job. I've had good luck with the classic (sausage, green peppers, onions and black olives), at Giordano's.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: sgb

                        Since you'll be downtown in the heart of the city, you have allot of excellent options and all close by as well! I would say since that your going to be a large group you might want consider the bigger sized restaurants and not Uno/Due which would be nice, but would be tough to accommodate a larger group.

                        I haven't been in the downtown Bacino's so I cant comment on accomidations there, but the Giordano's might be good for a large group. Have fun, you really cant go to wrong no matter how you pick.

                        1. re: abf005

                          Bella Bacino's is awesome!!!!!!! The Nepoletana pizza is my favorite food in the world. Specifically, the caramelized onion & fennel sausage pizza.

                      2. I am out of the US. Does anyone have the phone for the Bacino's near where we will be staying so I may call?

                        1. There's a Bacino's (called Bella Bacino) a few doors from your hotel, at 75 E. Wacker Dr., 312-263-2350

                          1. Bacino's is good, yes, Lou Malnati's is fine, Gino's East is wonderful, but with a big crowd, go for Giordano's on Rush (in River North, just north of where you will be staying). Am I risking libel by saying stay well away from Uno and Due? Sorry, but I've been to Uno twice with out-of-towners who insisted we go there ... both times on a Saturday night, both times we were REQUIRED to place our order at the same time we put our names down for a table, both times had to wait more than two hours for a table, and when the pizza was brought (both times, before our drinks were served), it was clear that the pizza had been waiting under the hotlamps for at least an hour. Disgusting. Anyway, Giordano's has the best cheese deep-dish, and is darned respectable on other-topping pizza. Have a great time!

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: Grenouille

                              Giordano's!?!! Tasteless cardboard with too much cheese if you ask me.

                            2. I grew up in Chicago, in the city, and a bunch of us would go to Uno at least once a week in the '60s. It was always worth the 1-2 hour wait and yes, even then, you put in your order when you gave your name for a table. Usually, we'd get seated in time to have a salad before the pizza arrived. The pizza was fantastic!
                              Well, I left Chicago in 1968 to go to school in Boulder and then stayed here (what a surprise.) However, whenever I visited the city Uno's pizza was a must have. Unfortunately, I have seen a serious degradation in quality over the past decade. My last two pizzas over the last two years will be my last. The sauce was watery and tasteless. The crust was soggy and the whole thing was underdone. All in all, a really poor excuse for pizza. My current favorite in Chicago is not deep dish, it's Marie's on Lawrence.

                              1. There definately is a division between the Uno's, Due's, Gino's, Giordono's and Lou's fans as you can see! All of them have the same concept of chicago pan pizza but are definately executed differently from crust to sauce and sausage. I'm sure you'lll still get more posts to this hot topic. You can worst case scenario get Lou Malnati's shipped to you but it's not as good when it's served in the restaurant but will fill your Chicago Pan Pizza craving fix. I can say have been at all of the places mentioned and still like Lou's the best. However I say don't go to a Chicago Pizza location that you may see in the city it's a chain I think it's overrated.

                                1. I have come to really enjoy Pizano's Pizza. It's a pizza that comes close to Lou's but it so much better. There are two chicago locations:

                                  State Street

                                  864 N. State Street
                                  Chicago, IL 60610

                                  Phone: 312.751.1766

                                  Chicago Loop

                                  Pizano’s Pizza & Pasta
                                  61 E. Madison Street
                                  Chicago, IL 60657

                                  Phone: 312.236.1777

                                  1. Gino's East (downtown), Nancy's, Edwardo's, Bacino's, Giordano's, Uno/Due, Gulliver's, all rate better than Lou's in my book.

                                    In fact, Gino's East invented the full bottom sausage patty pizza and still does it way better than Lou's. I honestly have never understood all oohs and aahs over Lou's, as far as deep dish goes; it's good, but not "great". From the original in Lincolnwood to all the satellites (Downtown, Buffalo Grove & Gurnee)they were all equally mediocore. One positive note here, other than Nancy's & Giordano's, Lou's is the only other local chain that has maintained consistent product from store to store, so pretty much no matter where you dine your experience will be about equal.

                                    The same certainly cannot be said for Gino's East (especially Libertyville) & Unos "Chicago Grill". Can anyone explain the motivation behind the brain fart that thought up the "Chicago Grill" concept at Uno's Corp? It's now become like eating at cr-Applebees'! What they've done to a Chicago icon nationwide is sacreligious.

                                    1. One thing which ought to be considered in regard to many of the places mentiond is that there can be noticeable variation from location to location. As an example, the Aurelio's "mother ship" in Homewood is a long time favorite of mine, but there are other locations that I would not consider to be in the same ballpark. I've seen less pronounced, but still noticeable, variation between Edwardo's and Giordano's locations, and I can only assume that similar variation may apply to other local multi-location pizza empires, too.

                                      I would suggest that once you narrow down your choices, you might want to re-post and ask for opinions on the particular locations you are considering, to get a more specific assessment of the actual place you would be eating at.

                                      1. we are keen in Bacios on Wacker bc we can walk there...ok??

                                        1. I prefer Gino's East when in Chicago (the whole sausage patty on the bottom of the deep dish is amazing), but I can't stand the lines and the touristy atmosphere at the Superior location. Any opinions on the satellite locations around the city? Are they the same quality?

                                          If not, is it possible to place a take out order from the downtown Superior location?

                                          1. I've tried a couple of the other locations and didn't notice any difference in the quality and style of the food. Atmosphere varies from location to location.

                                            It's also worth mentioning that there are really two styles of "Chicago style pizza" - the double crust "stuffed" pizza you'll find at Giordano's ( www.giordanos.com ), Lou Malnati's ( www.loumalnatis.com ), and Edwardo's ( www.edwardos.com ), and the pan pizza a la Gino's East ( www.ginoseast.com ) and Uno's and Due's ( www.unos.com ). Personally, I prefer the stuffed pizza - and prefer Giordano's among the various choices - but both types are good and you can get a delicious pizza from any of these places.

                                            Regarding thin crust pizza, it's no different in Chicago from anywhere else in the country, and it ranges from mediocre to truly bad, including places mentioned above like Home Run Inn and Aurelio's.

                                            Yes, you can get a carry-out from the Superior Street location of Gino's East.

                                            1. IT sees many people have been confusing deep dish with stuffed. It is not the same thing. I haven't been everywhere but Edwardos and Giordano's deep dish pizzas are actually stuffed pizzas (crust, cheese and toppings, a thin crust, and sauce) Lou Malnati's, Uno and Due are certainly deep dish. Personally, I prefer stuffed to deep dish. I wrote a whole pizza post on my blog and go tons of responses that may be of interest. http://natalied6579.blogspot.com/2006... Then again I just read it and it's not as informative as I thought. OOpsie.

                                              3 Replies
                                              1. re: Natalie6579

                                                People also confuse deep-dish and pan pizza, which are both made in pans, but are very different creatures. Deep dish pizza has a crust with higher walls. Stuffed pizza is deep-dish with a second crust on top (like a double crust apple pie). Bacino's, Nancy's and Giordano's all specialize in stuffed pizza. A pan pizza is a thicker crust made in pan, but the crust is of uniform thickness with no walls. Therefore, the cheese comes in contact with the sides of the pan resulting in a carmelized edge. The pan pizza crust is crunchy on the bottom but soft and moist like bread on the top, so it blends with the cheese. Examples of pan-pizza are Gulliver's, Pequod's and Burt's.

                                                1. re: Roger Spark

                                                  Nice synopsis on the different variations of pan vs. deep. I would agree on every point except for the "wall-less" statement on the pan pizzas though as Gulliver's definitely has a sidewall dough crust.

                                                  1. re: abf005

                                                    Good point. After I wrote that, I thought about Gulliver's and realized their pizza is what I would consider a sort of cross between pan and deep-dish (they call it pan). It has changed somewhat over the years, but it definitely has the "breadiness" of pan pizza. However, I still contend that true pan pizza should be of uniform thickness across the entire crust. For the classic "pizza in the pan", one has to go to Burt's Place in Morton Grove. Burt was the original owner of Pequod's, as well as a founding partner in Gulliver's. Prior to that, he owned Dante's Inferno in Evanston going back to the early 1960s. He is the originator of that style of pizza (or close to it), and when it comes to pan pizza, he is the true master.

                                                    Burt's Place
                                                    8541 N. Ferris Ave.
                                                    Morton Grove, IL 60053
                                                    (847) 965-7997

                                              2. Talk about "Oopsie" - I erroneously put Lou Malnati's in the stuffed category in my previous post. Obviously, it belongs in the deep dish category. (Lou's father founded Pizzeria Uno and Due.) My bad.

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. re: nsxtasy

                                                  "Lou's father founded Pizzeria Uno and Due"

                                                  Minor correction: “possibly” co-founded.

                                                  Fact: Ike Sewell invented and founded and OWNED Uno & Due pizza starting back in 1943.

                                                  I have seen two versions this widely held myth. One is the Pizano’s web version which outright claims Rudy Malnati Sr. founded Unos by himself. The second is the Lou Manati web/menu version, which claims that both Rudy & his son Lou worked at the original Unos. Either way, the bottom line is that the Malnati family claims that Rudy & Lou both had an affiliation with Uno's starting as far back as the early 40's. But if you go straight to the sources at Uno's, there is no mention of any of the Malnati's or of what their involvement level was.

                                                  My guess is that both Rudy and Lou did indeed work for Ike Sewell as openly stated and that probably after many dutiful years of dough tossing for Ike they separated from Uno's around 1970. Then in 1971 after they had saved up enough dough of their own, they founded their own wildly famous Lou Malnati’s pizzeria using the Uno name and fame as their resume with which to compete. This must have really ticked off the Unos folks since they became modern ledgends!

                                                2. Thanks for the clarification.

                                                  I can't imagine that the Uno's folks are too ticked off, since they've opened 200+ restaurants themselves. ;)

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: nsxtasy

                                                    But confuse those other 200+ outlets with the original. A world of difference.

                                                  2. Edwardo's is the best for stuffed pizza.

                                                    1. Giordano's, Edwardo's, and Carmen's all serve very good stuffed pizza. I think Giordano's is the best, thanks to its crust being the tastiest. But truth be told, all three are very similar to each other and you can't go wrong at any of them.

                                                      1. As a novice tourist who went to Gino's East last week, my only warning is "order appetizers!!". It does take 30-40 minutes for a deep dish pizza to arrive, so order a smaller size, and get something to eat up front.

                                                        1. Art of Pizza on Ashland. Voted one of the top ten pizzas in the U.S. by Newsweek.

                                                          Great pan and deep dish. They sell the pizza by the slice and have a new eating area, so you can grab a quick slice.

                                                          1. MANY people like Lou Malnati's. I think it's ok, but I'm sure you can't go wrong trying it over there.

                                                            Other names that have been tossed around in this thread that I would definitely back:
                                                            Gino's East (amazing)

                                                            I wouldn't recommend Edwardo's...I don't find it to be very quality.


                                                            1. I'm staying in Naperville with a group of twenty and we're looking for some classic deep dish chicago pizza. Something closer than downtown would be nice and that could take a reservation for 20 would be fantastic.

                                                              So far I've got Giuseppe's Pizzeria and Lou Malnatis.

                                                              Any comments would be much appreciated!

                                                              3 Replies
                                                              1. re: GDubya

                                                                Haven't been to Giuseppe's but Lou's is delicious. I'm a fan of the deluxe it has sausage, green peppers, mushroom's and onions. The cookie dessert with icecream is pretty tasty as well. I also like their minnestrone, might be considered saltier than others. The minnestrone has a chicken broth base and some bits of ham or pancetta in it.

                                                                1. re: kauai2b

                                                                  We ended up taking out from Giuseppe's friday night (they're take out only) and eating at Giordano saturday night. Giuseppe's was a thin crust deluxe pizza that was excellent - great seasoning of herbs and very tasty. Giordano's in downtown naperville did the job but didn't really blow my mind - not having a lot of experience with deep dish pizzas I don't have much to compare it to but it was a good experience - crust was great, ingredients, sauce and cheese were all good but I can't say I felt the fireworks.

                                                                  They do have "half-baked" deep dishes on the menu that you could travel with.

                                                                2. re: GDubya

                                                                  FWIW, I thinkg that Lou Malnatis is MUCH better than Giodarno's.....

                                                                3. I havent had them all but I am traveling there this week as well and am personally a huge fan or Giordano's with extra sauce but I do enjoy trying different ones when I go out there. One question I have for the fellow hounds would be how would be the best way for me to get a pizza back to Jersey with me. Do they ship direcf or would I be able to buy frozen from one of the joints?


                                                                  4 Replies
                                                                  1. re: yankeefan

                                                                    All of the big chains here (including Giordano's) ship frozen pizzas direct, and you can order from their websites. Their shipments are typically packed in dry ice so the pizza can stay frozen for up to 2-3 (?) days during shipping.

                                                                    Some of them may have frozen pizza available at the restaurant; I think I've seen them at my local Lou Malnati's. Also I've seen Gino's East pizza in the freezer at my local Dominick's supermarket. However, with 4-5 hours or more in transit to NJ, door to door, keeping them frozen all the way home might be iffy unless you can find a cooler and dry ice for the journey.

                                                                    1. re: yankeefan


                                                                      Let me get this straight, you in your infinite knowledge wanna ship a pizza to Jersey, from Chicago no less, Madone mia, whats wrong with you, you wanna get wacked?
                                                                      I'm gonna do a Novena for you and then whatever you do don't tell a soul what nonsense came in to that brain of yours, not even the priest in confession, this thought never crossed your mind and I never heard of you. Capiche?

                                                                      1. re: Sumkindaguy

                                                                        You realize that was posted five years ago, right? :)

                                                                        1. re: nsxtasy

                                                                          I do, I enjoy writing satire and I hope you enjoyed it.

                                                                    2. Art of Pizza on Ashalnd! By far the best in town.

                                                                      4 Replies
                                                                      1. re: laabbey

                                                                        Here's another nod to the Art of Pizza (stuffed) and for Barnaby's in Northbrook on Skokie Blvd. for thin crust. On the southside, get Palermo's 95th (95th St. and Cicero in Oak Lawn) for the regular crust with a sweet tomato sauce and on the westside, try Carm's on Wolf Road in Hillside for great thin crust.

                                                                        1. re: Jason Dumo

                                                                          Can some one give some suggestions for Deep dish or stuffed within reasonable cab distance of the four seasons?

                                                                          1. re: Docsknotinn

                                                                            You're actually a very close walk (less than 5 minutes) to Pizano's on State St., which in my opinion offers the best deep dish pizza in town. http://pizanoschicago.com/state.html

                                                                            1. re: BRB

                                                                              You're actually closer to Giordano's on Rush Street, which in my opinion offers the very best deep dish pizza in town. www.giordanos.com

                                                                              If you want a single-crust "pan" pizza, Pizano's is very good.

                                                                              I don't like Burt's, with its "burnt crust" style pizza. And there's no need to drive all the way up there, with much better pizza like at Giordano's and Pizano's within a few blocks walk of the Four Seasons.

                                                                      2. Leave the hordes of swarming tourists behind and head straight to Burt's in Morton Grove. That's where the natives go when they want the real deal. Case closed.

                                                                        1. In Chicago in regards to pizza,

                                                                          The best = Coalfire

                                                                          The worst = Giordano's

                                                                          Outside of Chicago, Burts is the best

                                                                          1. Hi
                                                                            I can't believe that no one hasn't mentioned Beggars Pizza , http://www.beggarspizza.com
                                                                            I too grew up in Chicago and think I was a kid when pizza came to Chicago. A large cheese was only $.88, yes 88 cents.
                                                                            If you try Beggars you will always come back for more time and time again.

                                                                            1. I grew up on Home Run Inn pizza on Archer,never had a deep dish pizza the whole time I was in Chicago to me it was the best, but I haven't heard anyone mention it outside of RSMBOB,anyone been there lately??and can give me some feedback as Im planning on coming to my hometown in a few months.I must say I've gotten the frozen one's and was not thrilled.

                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                              1. re: mutti

                                                                                Since you've never had deep-dish pizza, I suggest you give it a try. Take your pick - the double-crust "stuffed" pizza of Giordano's (my personal favorite), Bacino's, or Edwardo's, or the single-crust "pan" pizza of Lou Malnati's, Pizano's, or Gino's East.

                                                                              2. After further review of all my trips in 2007: Bella Bacino's stuffed, is the best in town. It has to do with great quailty sausage & cheese with a firm crusty buttery pie crust that melts in your mouth.

                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                1. re: abf005

                                                                                  I've heard some favorable things about Bella Bacino's from reliable sources. Sounds like a very good bet. Also, you absolutely cannot go wrong with Burt's in Morton Grove. Check previous postings and you'll see what I mean. Trust me it's worth the detour.

                                                                                2. I grew up in Blue Island, on the far south side of Chicago and, imo, we had an embarrassment of riches for pizza.

                                                                                  My favorite place was Ray's on 127th. But, sadly, after changing hands a couple of times, it's no longer there. (There was also a great place for cheap pies called Gold Rush, where you could get a decent sized pizza for under $5 - granted that was over 15 years ago).

                                                                                  The local chain Beggars Pizza, for me, is the next best thing, however. They have locations in Blue Island, Merrionette Park, Oak Forest (or is that Midlothian?) and some other places. Per their tag line, they do "lay it on thick" ... nice crust, great cheese and ingredients.

                                                                                  Another local chain, Aurelio's is damn good as well.

                                                                                  I'm now in Grayslake and find Bill's (locations in Washington Park and Mundelein), Pat's (Grayslake) and another local chain, Lou Malnati's to be the best (though the location in Washington Park hasn't been as good of late for some reason).

                                                                                  But if I'm in the mood to drive a bit out of my comfort zone, I like Pizza Italia (Libertyville, Mundelein & Vernon Hills). Good crisp crust, nice sweet sauce and fresh ingredients. That's pretty much what I love about pizza.

                                                                                  I don't need anything fancy, just sausage, mushrooms and pepperoni (maybe green peppers).

                                                                                  3 Replies
                                                                                  1. re: Bhickman

                                                                                    Aurelio's? Wow, I've had Aurelio's pizza and I thought it was the worst pizza I've ever had in my life. It could win if they gave out an award for best imitation of cardboard by an alleged food product. I'd take anything from the freezer at the supermarket over Aurelio's.

                                                                                    1. re: nsxtasy

                                                                                      It's funny how different each Aurelio's chain is. The original store in Homewood is excellent, and the only other one I have found to be almost as good is the Frankfort location on Rt.30. What location did you go that you so disliked?

                                                                                    2. re: Bhickman

                                                                                      Beggars is my favorite, they also have a location in New Lenox, Plainfied, and Mokena. The best super thin cracker crust pizza is Fox's the original location was in Beverly on Western, they also have locations in Orland Park and Mokena.

                                                                                      Never was crazy about Lou Malnati's I find the Sauce to taste like unseasoned tomatoes and a full patty of Italian sausage covering the whole pizza is too much.

                                                                                    3. and I have to underline the disgust with the Gino's East in Libertyville. Awful service and simply OK pizza. Not worth the time or money.

                                                                                      1. I disagree. I frequently eat pizza at Giordano's and at Lou Malnati's. Both are excellent at what they do, but the style is entirely different. With Giordano's stuffed pizza, in the center section of the pizza, the crust blends well in a perfect balance with the cheese, sauce, and any added ingredients ("toppings" is a bit of a misnomer), with tremendous flavor. Along the edges, the crust is delicious, like the tastiest bread or cracker you've ever had. Whereas with Malnati's pan pizza, the single center crust is thicker than Giordano's, which gives it a more discernible flavor, although there too there's a nice balance among the crust, cheese, sauce, and added ingredients, but each stands out a bit more than the blended flavor of Giordano's. Both are delicious and excellent, each in its own way; I still prefer Giordano's, but I like Malnati's too, for an occasional change of pace.

                                                                                        1. The Chicago Pizza Club has recently put together a top 5 list.

                                                                                          See our blog at www.chicagopizzaclub.com

                                                                                          Petey Pizza
                                                                                          Official Mascot of the Chicago Pizza Club

                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                          1. re: peteypizza

                                                                                            Best = Giordano's

                                                                                            Honorable Mention = Lou Malnati's

                                                                                            Decent = Pizano's, Gino's East, Uno's/Due (original location), Edwardo's

                                                                                            Worst (deep dish) = Burt's, Pequod's

                                                                                            Worst (thin crust) = Aurelio's, Home Run Inn

                                                                                          2. Best = CoalFire

                                                                                            Honorable mention = Burt's

                                                                                            Worst = Giordano's

                                                                                            Decent = Lou Malnatis

                                                                                            4 Replies
                                                                                            1. re: swsidejim

                                                                                              Best deep-dish: Pizzeria Uno/Due
                                                                                              Honorable mention, deep-dish: Gino's East
                                                                                              Best stuffed crust: Giordano's
                                                                                              Honorable Mention, stuffed: Nancy's
                                                                                              Best Chicago flat: Home Run Inn:
                                                                                              Honorable Mention, Chicago flat: Salerno's

                                                                                              To clarify, a Chicago-flat pizza is composed similar to a Brooklyn thin crust, but the dough is thicker, the toppings more abundant. Usually cooked until the mozzarella on top has melted and browned.

                                                                                              Worst Chicago pizza: Leona's -- OK this place is really popular, and most of their menu is excellent, but their pizza is a trainwreck.

                                                                                              1. re: MikeB3542

                                                                                                Just had Leona's for the 1st time last week (delivered). Crispy buttery crust, good sauce and cheese. Short on the mushrooms I ordered. O.k. amount of black olives and onions. Good overall, but I don't care too much for the butter flavor personally.
                                                                                                Good ol' thread.

                                                                                                Best Chicago Pan=Gullivers then Pequods (Close)
                                                                                                Stuffed=Gino's East
                                                                                                Thin=Buffo's (Highwood Il)
                                                                                                Biggest taker of my $= Piece

                                                                                                1. re: Alan N

                                                                                                  >> Stuffed=Gino's East

                                                                                                  Gino's East does not sell a "stuffed" (double-crust) deep-dish pizza. The best-known sellers of stuffed pizza are Giordano's, Bacino's, Edwardo's, and Nancy's. Perhaps you're thinking of one of those instead?

                                                                                                  1. re: nsxtasy

                                                                                                    Good eye nsxtasy, absolutely thinking of Giordinos not Ginos.

                                                                                            2. Giordano's is really good so is Home Run Inn, Gino's East and Connie's. Oh yeah, Beggar's Pizza is yum yum but its locations may be quite far from your hotel.

                                                                                              1. Thank you want to acknowledge I added a couple to my own list and map of above average chicago pizza joints because of reading this thread...also credit you guys (:-D

                                                                                                My current picks in chicago:

                                                                                                Art of Pizza
                                                                                                Chicago Pizza & Oven Grinder Co
                                                                                                Connie's Pizza
                                                                                                Gino's East
                                                                                                Home Run Inn
                                                                                                Lou Malnati's
                                                                                                Pizano's Pizza & Pasta
                                                                                                Pizza Rustica
                                                                                                Pizzeria Uno
                                                                                                Pizzeria Due
                                                                                                Vito & Nick's Pizzeria

                                                                                                8 Replies
                                                                                                1. re: FrugalDanny

                                                                                                  You're missing a beat here. With the possible exception of "Rustica" and "Art," which I don't know, all the above establishments serve American style pizzas, whether East Coast, Chicago, deepdish, cracker crust etc.. In the past couple of years, several pizzerias and restaurants have installed wood/coal-burning in an attempt to serve a pizza more typical of its homeland. These have included in the past Spaccanapoli, Coalfire, Follia, Gruppi degli Amici, Pizza DOC, and others and any inclusion of "above average" pizza in Chicago is incomplete without some mention of these -- all of which have made, to my mind, Chicago one of the premier pizza destinations in the country, for lovers of all kinds of pizza (except maybe the California kind).

                                                                                                  1. re: jbw

                                                                                                    coal (maybe it's a fad?) has been hot of late as well as neopolitan style pizzerias perferrably with Vera Pizza Napoletana stamp of approval are very popular and rightly so - the favorite up in Minneapolis is usually Punch.

                                                                                                    thanks for those names i'll check them out.

                                                                                                    p.s. i associate coal fire pizza with new york - didn't know they burn coal in italy too?

                                                                                                    1. re: FrugalDanny

                                                                                                      Spacca Napoli is indeed one of the two dozen pizzerias in the United States certified by the Verace Pizza Napoletana Americas, as you can see on the association's website at www.verapizzanapoletana.org

                                                                                                      (So too is Punch, but it's in St. Paul, not Minneapolis.)

                                                                                                      1. re: nsxtasy

                                                                                                        st. paul minneapolis eden prairie wayzata
                                                                                                        i'm pretty sure because i've tried them all!
                                                                                                        next time i'll say twin cities save us both some strokes. (;-D)

                                                                                                      2. re: FrugalDanny

                                                                                                        Wood, coal, or charcoal, whatever will get you up to the required heat (depending, of course, on whatever regulations they might have in an area and whether anyone actually follows them) Apparently at the Scuola di Pizzaoilo (Gruppa Farina Italiana) they'll teach you using both wood and coal:


                                                                                                        1. re: jbw

                                                                                                          Burt's Pizza in Morton Grove, IL. Anthony Bourdain just went on his show No Reservations and it was on the cover of Saveur magazine. Try it.

                                                                                                          1. re: pumakat

                                                                                                            bit of a deal but found some info and a place to put burt on the suburban map..even a recent picture of burt...all i'll say is check to make sure there's no hair in your pizza... (:-D) it would probably be great anyway...

                                                                                                  2. My favorite place for thin crust pizza has not been mentioned here yet: John's Pizzeria, which is located on Western near Fullerton. I love everything about their pizza--the sauce, which they make fresh every day, the cheese, which is a blend of cheeses--not just mozzarella, and the sausage--a wonderful Italian sausage, full of fennel-y goodness. I grew up in Skokie, and this was the ONLY place we'd go for pizza (my mom grew up in Bucktown and has been going to John's since the 50's). I now live in Algonquin and we make a point of going there for pizza when we're in the city. Seriously, try it!

                                                                                                    As for deep dish, I like Lou Malnati's, Uno, Due and Gino's East. Giordano's is just meh in my opinion. It's good and I wouldn't turn it down if someone offered me a slice, but just not as good as the others.

                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                    1. Most folks here have mentioned the places in the bright lights, but not the hidden gems that are every bit as good an in some cases better than the Lou's, Due and Gino's of the world.
                                                                                                      1. Louisa's in Crestview - WAY Off the beaten path, but if you want to taste what Uno and Due tasted like 50 years ago, prior to the quality degredation, head here. After all, Louisa worked in those kitchens prior to opening her own place.
                                                                                                      2. Gullivers on Howard Street - I did see a mention of it here. Great deep dish in a unique environment.
                                                                                                      3. Ricobenes on 26th street (NOT any other location) - The south side king of steak sandwiches has a completely overlooked pie to die for.

                                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                                      1. re: hobo_ent

                                                                                                        Pequods. Must get only one topping in my opinion...just pepperoni, or just cheese is fine too. I've tried to like others, but my heart belongs to Pequods.

                                                                                                        For a thinner crust, I'm a Piece girl. Plain cheese...or with a side of anchovies.
                                                                                                        1927 W. North Ave., Chicago, Il 60622. | tel: 773.772.4422

                                                                                                      2. Giordano's is by far my favorite. The sauce is amazing. I worked at a Pizza place in Boston for 4 years before moving to Chicago and in that time I created so many different pizza recipes, yet still, nothing I made can compare to pretty much any pizza from Giordano's. Love it!

                                                                                                        If you want to see a list of some of the best pizza places in Chicago check out:


                                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                                        1. re: SevenEcks

                                                                                                          >> Giordano's is by far my favorite. The sauce is amazing. I worked at a Pizza place in Boston for 4 years before moving to Chicago and in that time I created so many different pizza recipes, yet still, nothing I made can compare to pretty much any pizza from Giordano's. Love it!

                                                                                                          I love Giordano's too. But there are two things that I love most about it, and neither one is the sauce! One is the balance among the four primary components - the crust, the sauce, the cheese, and the added ingredients (what would be "toppings" on thin-crust pizza), all blending harmoniously and none overshadowing the others. The other is the amazingly delicious, crunchy edge crust.

                                                                                                        2. Here's a great article from Chicago Magazine responding to all the hate generated by their latest Best 25 Pizzas article:


                                                                                                          Best to take terms like "best" with a grain of salt.

                                                                                                          3 Replies
                                                                                                          1. re: rubinow

                                                                                                            great article! VERY FUNNY!

                                                                                                            Now, about the orig. list... glad to see Pequods made the list at #10 on the 25 and so glad Piece did too! I have to say though, Pequods pizza is best simply w/ pepperoni. ALSO glad to see Paula & Monica made the list, a newer favorite of mine and you can NEVER go wrong with Coalfire. Oh yum. I think tonight may be a pizza night..

                                                                                                            1. re: rubinow

                                                                                                              Nice post, rubinow. Glad Burt's is still up there, I was just there Thursday. That sausage he gets is ridiculous.

                                                                                                              1. re: bourj

                                                                                                                I moved from Chicago to Southern Illinois and then to North Carolina, and all I have to say, is that I have to ship pizza's from Chicago (Lou's, Ginos, etc), because all other Pizza's other than Chicago's pizza tastes like dog food to me. Chicago makes the best pizza in the world, and the reason why this message chain is so long, is that Chicago pizza making is serious business (: and it is gets to be a very heated discussion on what pizza is the best! So far, Lou's passes the shipment test the best. The pizza is small but very tasty. It seems to hold up the best. Gino's is the best when freshly taken out of the oven (my opinion). This is only for stuffed/deep pan. Thin crust, the list is endless.....

                                                                                                            2. On the south side, the best thin crust is Fasano's, then Vito and Nicks.

                                                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                                                              1. re: bill323

                                                                                                                Agreed Fasano's is the best on the south side. Extremely underrated by most. I have driven all over and have yet to find a better pie with the same consistency every purchase. The thin crust with any topping chosen is a pure delight.

                                                                                                                Fasano's Pizza
                                                                                                                8351 S Roberts Rd, Justice, IL 60458

                                                                                                                1. re: Roman302

                                                                                                                  Wonder if there is any relation to the family that owned Pies by Fasano. They had a pie bakery in Bedford Park, thinking 65th and Mayfield...VERY GOOD pies, by the way. Alas, the bakery has been out of business since the 80's. One of the sons of the original owners has started a new Pies by Fasano bakery in Downers Grove.

                                                                                                              2. My wife and I tried a stuffed pizza at Giordano's (River North Area) during our visit to Chicago last week. On the positive side: lots of cheese and other ingredients. A small pizza (10") was more than adequate for two people. The pastry was light and flaky... almost like a pie crust. Not sure why, maybe the sauce, but I was just underwhelmed. Volume-wise there was a lot, however, it just didn't all come together. It was a bit bland and disappointing.

                                                                                                                1. Recently I saw a show on US of Bacon about Gino's Pizza in Chicago. The showed the famous pizza called the meat lovers Pizza. It features one pound of bacon as one of the ingredients. Here is a video that I found about it. Search you tube for the show US of Bacon and USA of Bacon.

                                                                                                                  1. Coalfire.

                                                                                                                    If you want the best Chicago sytle, I'd say Pizano's.

                                                                                                                    1. This string hasn't been updated in over a year. So much to add - places that weren't mentioned that have opened in the last year or two:

                                                                                                                      Armitage Pizzeria (thin crust from the original pizza talent at Coalfire)
                                                                                                                      Bartoli's (started by the grandson of the founder of Gino's East)
                                                                                                                      Floriole (great bakery's been around for years but now makes pizza on Friday nights)
                                                                                                                      Nellcote (Neapolitan-American in West Loop)
                                                                                                                      Pizzeria da Nella (Neapolitan from the original pizzaiola at Spacca Napoli)
                                                                                                                      Parlor Pizza Bar (I don't think this one will make anyone's best of list but it's new and hip and packed so I included it)
                                                                                                                      Pizza East (Neapolitan)