Pick your best 5 "Chicago Style" deep dish pizza's
After thinking about it, I had posted this to a different thread called "Chicago Trip Report". In retrospect, it might have made more sense to have this go out on it's own.
So here is the criteria: Post your top 5 favorites, feel free to explain why and if you have a few good runners up for 5th, go ahead and list them too. _______________________________________________________________
It's hard to beat the original classics for deep dish and of those there are truly only a few: Uno/Duo, Gulliver's & Gino's East. All the others are pretty much refinements, derivatives or "twists" on the same theme.
In visiting these places web sites and reading their history I thought it was interesting that it seems like Chicago deep dish pizza went through a "pizza boom", of new places starting in with Gulliver's in 1965 and went on until Bacino's in 1980, which means it's been about 25 years since any other significant new competition has come to the market.
I would rank the following as my 5 favorite deep dish places:
1. Gino's East (Downtown!) 1966
2. Uno/Duo 1940
3. Gulliver's 1965
4. Giordano's 1974
5. Bacino's 1980
6. Edwardo's 1978
7. Nancy's 1974
8. Lou Malnati's 1971
Well, that pretty much covers the landscape of deep dish style pizzas. I do not know much (ok, anything) about Gulliver's, but I might replace that with Connie's and add a /Pizano's after Lou's. Also on the list would be Joey Buona's and Pizza Capri if they are still around in any form.
Lots of small mom and pop places you can add, but it goes to show you that outside of a small number of places, the Chicago-area pizza scene really is dominated by thin crust places.
I guess I'll go beyond five, but I would rank Malnati's and Pizano's well above all of the others:
1 & 2) A tie -- Lou Malnati's and Pizano's (ordered with buttercrust)- the pizzas are nearly identical (not surprising since one of the Malnati brothers owns Pizano's)
3) Pequod's - the caramelized crust is fantastic
4) Uno's/Due's - if you can get by the crowds, there's excellent pizza waiting
5) Carmen's - haven't had it in a while, but always one of my favorites
I love O'Fame, but I wouldn't call their deep dish pizza to be Chicago-style (more Sicilian, if I understand the difference well enough). I generally like Bacino's, Edwardo's, Gino's and Giordano's too (although it somewhat depends on location for these), and would rank them 6, 7, 8 and 9 among the Chicago style pizzas. I don't recall having had Art of Pizza's deep dish, although I've heard that it's excellent.
I think Lou Malnati's is the best but a close second is Delisi's on N. Western. They have the best crust! kind of like a pastry crust but it really works with the toppings. And Gulliver's is up there too.
I'm not a big fan of deep-dish pizza, but one of my favorite pan pizzas is that served by (surprise!) the Medici on 57th. They come in individual sizes, there are several good "white" versions on the menu (spinach and goat cheese, in particular), and it's no accident that they've opened an excellent (for breads, in particular) bakery next door. This recommendation, by the way, does not pertain to any take-out pan pizzas, which, in my experience, need to be eaten right out of the oven.
Ok, nothing like adding a 2nd reply...
FYI, the Chicago Tribune did a pretty extensive deep-dish pizza taste-off probably 3-4 years ago testing about 100 places. The top 3 were:
1. Art of Pizza (near N Side I think)
2. Pizza Capri (they had several locations but are down to just 2 now I think)
3. Old World Pizza (North Ave., Elmwood Pk)
Amazing how the big names are nowhere to be found on the top 3 list.
I found the article from the Tribune...it looks like it is from late 2001. Here's the rest of the finalists that made the cut out of the 100+ they started with. Again, interesting that only one big name made the list.
Calo, Chicago's Pizza, Cipriani's Pizza, Elio's Restaurant (Streamwood), Exchequer Pub, Louisa's, Pete's Pizzeria #2, Pizzeria Uno, R.J.'s Eatery, Roberto's