Chicago-style pizza in New Haven - does it exist?
I know this is extremely sacrilegious, but I'm wondering if there are any Chicago-style deep dish pizza places in the general New Haven area (read: basically the entire state of CT. I'm willing to go pretty far out of my way). I know there are Unos out there, but c'mon, I'm talking local restaurants who are risking life and limb around these parts by cranking out thick, sloppy cheese pies with tomato sauce on top. This isn't me passing judgment on New Haven pizza, which is great. This is me being me, a guy who enjoys many kinds of pizza, and yes, occasionally pines for what maybe can't be had. I've been to Sicilia's in Providence, and anything like their stuffed pizza would be just perfect. So what do you have for me? Does it exist?
From what I have read, it seems common practice to spell out exactly how you want a pizza made at the better places in New Haven. I really get the impression that if you asked for a "pepperoni pizza" and said nothing more you'd get a burnt bottomed pizza with a light wipe of sauce and nothing more than pepperoni.
Thus, couldn't you could ask for thick, undercooked with triple sauce and double everything else. Sound possible/passable?
To my knowledge, there is no real Chicago style pizza in Connecticut (Uno's being the closest thing). Even as someone who grew up on New York style and now eats an awful lot of New Haven style, I really wish there was some great Chicago style around. The only two styles of pizza I just don't get are Greek and Sicilian, but to each their own.
Since I don't think you can find it anywhere, I have two alternate recommendations:
Make one yourself. Unlike a thin crust pizza, your regular old home oven gets hot enough for a Chicago style pizza. The dough, being made with fat, is a lot easier to make. I'm not a baker at all, but I nailed Chicago pizza on my first try.
A lot of Italian bakeries and Italian food purveyors make a product (mostly around Easter) called pizzagaina. It's not at all the same thing as a deep dish pizza, but it is vaguely similar and hits that same "I need a mess of meat and cheese in a thick fatty pie" spot.
I asked something similar a while back, and Vito's was the only thing that came up. I did eventually get over to Wethersfield and give it a try. Very tasty, but there's only 3 kinds they make: meat, veggie, and combo. I tried a large combo and a small veggie. They were both great, although not exactly what I was looking for. It's the stuffed type of deep dish pizza, where there's a bunch of sauce, cheese, and toppings inside, then another crust on top with more cheese. Definitely fork and knife material, though. There was some nice caramelized cheese around the outside edge of the crust similar to a few places in Chicago that add cheese around the edge of their deep dish pies. Overall, it was very good, a nice change of pace from my usual diet of thin pizza. A large would easily feed 3-4 hungry adults, and a small is enough for 2.
Thread (where I forgot to post on the pizza) is at http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/505398
The pizzas are down towards the bottom of the menu page at http://www.vitosct.com/wethersfieldPi...
Lena's pizza in Hartford on Park St near the west hartford border has two pies onec called stuffed meet and the other called stuffed vegie that are the closes thing to a substantially thick piece of pizza. I would not call it Chicago but it will satisfy cravings for thick, fatty and delicious. I have never ordered a whole pie I have only eaten it by the slice at the restaurant. Give it a try. You will not regret it.
Not only does Chicago style pizza not exist in New Haven, but you cannot find it in CT.
There was a place in West Norwalk back in the early 80's (long before Pizzeria Uno) called "My Pi" that specialized in this type of pizza, but that place closed over a decade ago.
Sorry, it just doesn't exist in CT.
As a former Chicagoan now living in the area I have to say that I don't miss Chicago style pie in the least and actually never liked it. You wait for an hour for that big mess to "cook." And then when it arrives it seems more like a casserole and after one piece you're full. Yuk and no thanks. It's not even close to the beauty of a New Haven pie.
Now...if it comes to hot dogs I prefer the Chicago style dog, hands down.
jfood spent a couple of years a long time ago (as in there was only 1 giordanos) and has lived in CT for ~15 years. He tried to convince a couple of pizzeria owners to give it a try over the years with no success. They tell him their ovens cannot cook something like that for the required time at the same heat as their thin pies.
The only chicago stuffed pie that jfood has ever eaten in FFD CTY has come out of his own oven.
I grew up in Chicago for 20 years and I live in CT now. I know what you mean when you get that craving. I love Chicago-style pizza, but I guess it is not for everyone (like the person above). If you really want a Chicago style pizza, you should mail-order one. I have sent several to family members across the country and they love it! They cook it halfway for you, then pack it in dry ice. It is usually sent next-day air. Just unpack, heat and you are good to go! My favorite place in Chicago is Gulliver's on the northside on Howard. Bacino's, Giordano's and Uno's (the original and Due's) are also very good. Just google their websites.