Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Chicago Area >
Dec 22, 2006 08:05 PM

NC family coming to visit. Tell me about Lou Manalti's pizza, please.

Will be visiting from after Christmas till 4th of January. First visit to Chicago for our family; have seen and heard about Manalti's pizza (hope the name is spelled correctly). We think we'd like to go there.... please tell us the reasons why we should (or shouldn't, and where do you recommend if not there?).

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. There are two famous versions of Chicago-style pizza: (1) deep dish pizza, as served by Lou Malnati's, Uno's, and Gino's East; and (2) stuffed pizza, as served by Giordano's, Edwardo's, and Carmen's. (There are other versions, but these are the two that are most popular, that everyone here knows about.)

    What's good about deep dish pizza? It has a tasty, buttery crust, with buttery taste added from sitting on the bottom of the greased, seasoned pan. It has a crunchy texture on the outside (i.e. bottom) that adds to the flavor. It's delicious.

    What's good about stuffed pizza? Its crust is also tasty, but is more like the crust of a baked, risen bread. The two crusts (top and bottom) seal in the flavor of the cheese and other ingredients and prevent them from drying out. It, too, is delicious.

    Lou Malnati's ( ) is an excellent place for deep-dish Chicago pizza. So is Gino's East ( ). The same is true for Giordano's ( ) in the stuffed pizza category. You can't go wrong at any of these places. Look on their websites to find the locations closest to where you will be. You can also find information on their websites about the pizza and about the history of the company.

    Be aware that any of these pizzas can take as much as 30-45 minutes to prepare. Order appetizers, or if you're in a rush, order your pizza ahead of time to avoid having to wait.

    1. Lou Malnati's is THE best Chicago deep-dish pizza experience for visitors. The quality of food and affordable price make this a dependable place. To avoid the long waits for tables, you can carry-out and serve your guests at home. The only problem that I have with one of their vegetarian combos is the addition of Cheddar cheese....avoid it.

      1. Personally, I prefer Lou's to almost all of the other "Chicago style" places, whether deep dish or stuffed. My problem with other places I've been is that the sauces are so watery that the minute you've cut into the pizza, the liquid all goes to the bottom of the pan, soaking the crust. Lou's uses a thicker sauce that stays on top of the pizza more. I also think it just has more flavor. I grew up eating Due's, but as they've gone more touristy, I have stopped liking it so much and now find Lou's to be the best and most consistent.

        Just make sure you ask for it WELL DONE. They will more often than not take the pizza out too early, imo. I like the plain cheese, green pepper and onion, or garlic the best. MMMMMMMMmmm.

        4 Replies
        1. re: annimal

          Liquid? WHAT liquid? I'm a big fan of Giordano's stuffed pizza (although I also like Malnati's and Gino's), and I have no idea what liquid you're talking about. The really good places like Giordano's, Malnati's, and Gino's, don't have watery sauces.

          1. re: nsxtasy

            I don't know, every time I've had Giordano's, or Gino's for that matter, it's become a soggy liquidy mess at the first cut. I just had Giordano's a month ago and it was definitely like that. Maybe the ones you go to are just better, but I like Lou's.

            1. re: annimal

              Yeah - I completely agree on the liquid. That kind of pizza is good if you are craving it, but it is awfully liquidy especially once you get the second slice out. It can make for some soggy not so good leftovers.

              1. re: lbs

                I had Giordano's yesterday for the first time and I didn't at all think it was liquidy. I did think the crust was too doughy but there was a overly geneous amount of cheese and a light coating of sauce. I brought home half and it has stayed solid. Won't have it again though, my local place makes the best cracker thin crust but we were out shopping and Giordano's seemed the right idea based on what else was availible.

        2. It's okay. Be sure to order with extra sauce AND extra cheese because I find it a bit on the dry side. But the ingredients are plentiful and very good quality.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Chicago Mike

            I would NOT recommend extra sauce OR extra cheese (unless that's the way you like your pizza). It's fine just the way it is...

          2. Personally, I think Lou's is one of the best, if not the best, pizza there is. All the other's mentioned are good also, though I'm not as much a fan of Giordano's (I do eat it and enjoy it, just not as much as Lou's). The number one thing I've also loved about Lou's is the way they do their sausage. It's like they roll it out into a large thin slab, then just lay it on the pizza. So, every slice has a layer of sausage on it. It's just awesome!! :)