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Chicago-style pizza

I am still trying to find somewhere to get Chicago style pizza that is not in the Inland Empire or in the Bay Area. I used to live in Berkeley and I really miss Zachery's.

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  1. I have no idea but would be interested to find out as well. Thanks for the post.

    1. The usual consensus is Tony's Little Italy in Placentia. People keep recommending Zelo's in Arcadia and it's just not right... and definitely not like Zachery's.

      Now, if only we had something like the Cheeseboard pizza collective in LA... that is some fantastic pizza, with good karma points to boot.

      1. As a former Chicagoan, Casa Bianca in Eagle Rock is the closest to a thin crust Chicago-style pizza, especially the sausage pizza. Zelo's is more gourmet style with corn meal crust in a deep dish pan -- owner is from San Francisco. Tony's LIttle Italy for stuffed pizza does look like a Chicago deep dish but thought it was just ok given the 50-mile trek from LA.

        3 Replies
        1. re: chowchi1

          Wow, you must have gone an odd way -- Placentia is about 30 miles from downtown LA.

          None of these places are Lou Malnati's or even Uno/Due. If you really need authentic high-quality deep dish that badly, Malnati's ships.

          Bear in mind that the lines at Casa Bianca are legendary -- it's my extremely humble opinion that the hour plus wait is not justified by the end result.

          1. re: Das Ubergeek

            encino area to placentia - 49.18 miles!

            1. re: chowchi1

              !00 mile round-trip for pizza – My Respect! If you liked Casa Bianca’s sausage you should also like Petrillo's. However, the regular pizza on Petrillo's menu is not a thin crust and it comes with lots of cheese – unlike CB. The cheese and sausage taste the same to me as CB but the crust is much better at Petrillo's. If you want thin crust and less cheese then just say so. The large pizza at Petrillo' is a Sicilian style rectangle cut into squares. The medium at Petrillo's is more like CB’s large round. The amount of sausage at Petrillo's is much more than CB. I have been told that Petrillo's is close to a Chicago / Sicilian thin crust style. Zello’s is NOT a deep dish. Deep dish pizza is closer to 1 ½ to 2 inches thick – all da way across. Zello’s pie looks and feels like an empty deep dish – not filled. After leaving Zello’s your wallet is also empty. The hundread mile trip to Tony's LIttle Italy for a DEEP deep dish is closer than Chicago.

              Petrillo's Pizza (Ask for thin crust and “pie cut.” A large pizza is a Sicilian style rectangle cut into squares)
              833 E Valley Blvd
              San Gabriel, CA 91776
              (626) 280-7332

        2. Masa in Echo Park has a pretty tasty deep dish that's one of their signature items. You should call in one hour ahead because that's how long it takes them to bake it supposedly.

          1800 W Sunset Blvd
          Los Angeles, CA, 90026
          (213) 989-1558

          1. I'm a former Zach's lover and can tell you there's nothing here like it. For those who don't know, Zachary's is a stuffed crust pizza in the Giordano's school. For those of you who want comparisons based on the major Chicago "styles," here are the LA equivalents:

            Gino's East style with deep dish cornmeal crust: Zelo in Arcadia, though Zelo is much more californian in their use of gourmet/alternative ingredients. of course, zelo also won't do the gino's classic where they use a single pizza-sized sausage patty to top your pie, either... mmm... gino's...

            Classic deep dish (i.e. Uno's or Lou Malnati's): not a real fan of Uno, but the closest you'll find is Tony's Little Italy in Placentia. Or, if you really want it, you can drive to San Diego or Escondido for one. They also sell them frozen at some markets. Nothing compares to Lou's.

            Giordano's stuffed pizza: no equivalent that i know of in LA.

            3 Replies
            1. re: Bert

              I'm a big fan of Zelo but I have to beg to differ on it being Chicago style deep dish. I think Zelo is sort of in its own category -- e.g. California-style cornmeal deep dish. It's a one-of-a-kind.

              1. re: ipsedixit

                I agree that Zelo's is not the traditional Chicago style deep dish but it is the only deep dish pizza in LA (not including OC) that really exists. Masa pales in comparison and I would never return after my subpar experience. Lou Malnati's is still my favorite by far. Hope to try Lefty's Chicago pizza in San Diego for their deep dish.

                1. re: chowchi1

                  I have to admit that I suggested Masa with some hesitation. It doesn't really compare to the incredible deep dish pizza I had while in Chicago (Giordano's), though I'd say in it's own right is a step up from typical pizza joints in this city (if that means anything at all).

            2. I made a rather lengthy post back in April which gives my take on it.

              As an update, I did hit Sal's in Anaheim and found it to be good but not on the level of Tony's. From my one visit to Romano's in Riverside I would think that they likely do it it well and I'd like to return there as well I want to check out the new place in Lake Elsinore as well.

              Sigh, yes, they are mainly out of the immediate LA area...even Tony's is a long drive from south OC where I live, but it is worth the drive!

              By the way, I made the trip up to the Bay area last weekend and finally got to Zachary's...VERY good stuff although a bit too chunky on the tomatoes. I hear there are a few other places up there that some like even better than Zachary's, but having heard about Zachary's for years and making a lot of trips up there, I finally got there.

              1 Reply
              1. re: RSMBob

                i wasn't a believer until i listened to RSMBob.......go to Tony's.

                Zachary's is a place i adore when up in the Bay Area. Still can't get over Pizano's in Chicago, though....

              2. I don't even think Chicago makes the good Chicago-style pizza of my memories anymore. We just got back from there and ate at both Lou Malnati's and Giordano's (both Loop locations) and really came out of both underwhelmed. Were they good. Sure. Where they great. No, not really. Not worth pining for. My first job was at Jakes Pizza in Glenview. They had really good thin crust pizza and a rich spicy sauce. I never got tired of eating it, ever. That's the pizza I pine for. A few years ago when were were back we ate at Ginos East and for me, I think it's my favorite but who knows, that could be the lens of nostalgia speaking.

                I'll take a lot of heat for this but I don't think Tony's in Placentia is great. It's probably on par with a frozen shipped Lou Malnati's (which can be tricky to reheat BTW). The flavor of Tony's isn't bad but it looks like it will taste worse than it does because the tomatoes have a lot of water that collects on the pie.

                For Chicago-style pizza in OC without a lot of drama I'd say go to BJ's. I know I'll loose a lot of Chow credibilty for this, but I think if it were a one-off and not a chain that it would get more support on this board. I know it's not Tony's or any other number of local joints, but it's not bad especially when compared to my recent experiences at Malnati's and Giordano's.

                BTW, for thin crust in So OC I've enjoyed Sonny's in San Clemente. Antonucci's isn't bad. Nice atmosphere if you sit at a pub table in the bar area. Selma's is owned by the former wife of the BJ's originator (or something like that. I know there is a close connection), so they've tried to mimick BJ's as closely as possible.

                3 Replies
                1. re: Pate

                  I can't fathom calling BJ's Chicago-style. It's dough/crust, sausage etc are more in the league of Pizza Hut - slightly better but not by much.

                  1. re: chowchi1

                    I know. I get that response every time I post that about BJ's. More than anything I think it points to the dearth of good Chicago-style pizza in LA. I'm not saying it's on par with the best but you can put a lot miles on your car looking for pizza comparable to Gino's East and you're not going to find it.

                    Now camparing BJ's toPizza Hut just means you have been to either a really bad BJ's or a really good Pizza Hut :-)

                  2. re: Pate

                    Ok, I was in San Digo and made it out to Leftys Chicago Pizzeria. Did'nt think I would be eating Chicago pizza in San Diego but the search never ceases in southern California. I had the deep dish pizza, 1/2 sausage and 1/2 spinach. The tomatoe sauce had "bite" to it and the corn meal crist was really good. I saw the stuffed pizza at a table next to next to me and it looked just as appealing. It is a small place with some bar stool seating inside and patio seating in front but reminded me of a neighborhood joint in Chicago. I'm sure many chowhounder's make it down to San Diego,especially the OC crowd. I found it better than Tony's in Placentia.

                  3. I've not tried Tony's Little italy, but I would try Numero Uno's. It's no Gino's East or Lou Malnati's though.

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: calabasas_trafalgar

                      This is a popular topic among Chowhounders, at one point considered opening a Chicago style pizza joint in the West LA area, but so much of it has to do with the right dough recipe and the right ovens just like NY style pizza and the water they make it with. I've resorted to ordering mail-order pizza from Lou Malnatti's Taste of Chicago website. The order arrives promptly to satisfy your deep dish craving. http://www.tastesofchicago.com/

                      1. re: tatertots

                        i think in the right hands a great chicago pizza could be made in LA.
                        don't let that deter you

                        1. re: epop

                          I strongly agree with epop. I've come to believe that, where great pizza is concerned, skill matters much more than the water in the dough or the oven in which you cook it.

                    2. If you want a real chicago style pizza, i wouldn't go near BJ's. I'm still trying to figure out what makes them advertise chicago style when it tastes like pizza hut. it doesn't get much love on here, but taste of chicago in burbank is my choice. there's not much to choose from in la, but Masa is definitely a spot i've been looking at for awhile as well

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: DoctorQuality

                        I agree with you about BJ's. I have a relative who loves BJ's and, well, I end up there. I don't like it when eating it and I feel worst 30 min. later. I never ate a whole slice of the pizza at Taste Chicago but I did have several bites. They have the Chicago suace down right. What I always order from there is the Beef / sausage combo. I once went to Taste Chicago the day after returning from Chicago just so I could compare the flavors when Chicago was still fresh on my mind. I felt that their combo was better than the two I had in Chicago. The beef had the same flavor but the sausage was better -- over the top.


                      2. Ooooh, how I miss Chicago's Pizza on Lincoln. For those other 'big shoulder's reading, although you might counter it's not the best deep dish in Chicago, it's pretty damn good compared to everything here and the ability to be feasting on it at 2:30 (they're open till 5 in the morning) makes me reminisce about great times in a great city.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: roasted138

                          On the West Side, you might want to try Al Gelato on Robertson between Wilshire and Olympic. They've been reviewed here many times, mostly for their fanstastic gelato, huge bowls of great soup, fabulous apple pie and humongous meatballs. But they're from Chicago and make an EXCELLENT pizza - not deep dish, but medium-thick crust. Not being a native Chicagoan I can't vouch for its authenticity, only for its taste. BTW, my favorite pizza of all time was at Papa Milano's off Rush Street - so for those in the know, that's where I'm coming from.


                          1. re: Jeryy

                            they're from chicago but their pizza isn't

                        2. The deep dish at Masa on Sunset in Echo Park is well worth the wait. Call ahead.