Chicago - Best Deep Dish Pizza, and the specific locations that are best to have it at?
I always look at this site, a great place to gain foodie knowledge. I've been looking at the Chicago Forum for the best Chicago Deep Dish Pizza. Yummy! (made me hungry :) )
Anyway, based on the tally it seems that Lou Malnatti's, Gino's East, Due and Uno's rate quite high for you experts. Please let me know if you differ in opinion though. Always interested in hearing all sides. :)
I am still trying to decide which to go to, I am traveling to Chicago in July and want to go to at least 2 places while I'm there. First time in Chicago. I want to do this right. Please let me know what are the best locations of these establishments to go to to have the best Chicago deep dish pizza. I know that some or all of these pizzerias have multiple restaurants/chains. I figure not all chains are created equal... and I don't want to miss out by going to the 'wrong address' of these fab pizza places. so would appreciate your insight of the specific locations of Lou's, Gino's East, Due and Uno's to go to, for the best quality deep dish.
I will be staying near the Water Tower but I don't need to eat right near there. Thanks in advance for your help. I'm looking forward to your feedback.
I'm really surprised that everyone is such big fans of these places...I find both Giordano's and Lou Malnati's to be bland and pretty much the "fast food" of Chicago-style pizza.
My advice: get yourself a car and go to Burt's Place in Morton Grove. Everyone who eats there, myself included, agrees that there is nothing better. But make sure you call ahead, or you will probably end up leaving hungry, because they only make so many pizzas a night. (Fresh ingredients bought daily makes a heck of a big difference, it turns out.)
For weekends, you might want to call the day before or as soon as you'll know you want a table. Otherwise, earlier in the day or even the day before. Burt's is a small, hole-in-the-wall spot with minimal staff and beware that they don't always answer the phone when slammed.
That being said, I agree that Burt's is excellent. But I'm also a big fan of Pizano's and Malnati's and I think they also offer excellent deep dish pizza.
If you are going on a weekend, I would call the day ahead. Last time I was there, a Sunday, I called it in on Saturday afternoon. Make sure to tell them how many people you are coming in with, as there are a limited number of tables.
If you are eating during a weeknight, you can call it in at lunch. But the point is, call ahead -- I saw a couple sit at a table for two hours because they hadn't called in a pizza ahead of time.
The trip is entirely worth it, I promise you!
as far as the traditional Chicago deep dish, I do prefer Giordano's, but I eat at both Giordano's and Lou's regularly...mostly in the suburbs. I'm getting married in September...I'm having part of my bachelor party at Lou's and my rehearsal dinner at Giordano's....I don't think you can really compare the two. They're two different style pizzas. I like both and even alternate on which one I order and have shipped up here to the pizzaless wasteland of Mid-Michigan.
My favortie pizza in Chicago though is not the traditional "Chicago-style." I'm a huge fan of the cracker thin crust they do on the southside of town and the south suburbs. I like Vito & Nick's...and love the Italian beef pizza, but had better service and almost the same pizza at Vito & Nick's II in Tinley. Still, my number one choice for pizza in Chicago is Palermo's 95th in Oak Lawn. If you've eaten at a Palermo's not in Oak Lawn or bought a frozen one from the grocery store, it's not the same....Palermo's 95th has the best sauce in Chicago
Palermo's 95th Pizza & Restaurant
4849 W 95th St., Oak Lawn, IL 60453
Vito & Nick's Pizzeria
8433 S Pulaski Rd, Chicago, IL 60652
Vito & Nick's II
7020 183rd St, Tinley Park, IL 60477
Great stuff!! Thanks for taking the time to weigh in on this. Decisions, decisions!! So many interesting choices. Muffs, your reply was hysterical. :) You Chowhounders really make me smile. Now a few more places are added to the mix. I will certainly have to extend my pizza experience while I'm there.
Another thing I like about Uno's and Due's is that despite being on the gold coast they do not charge gold coast prices particularly at the bar. when i was last to Due's a few months ago, my wife and I each had a drink and a beer, we shared a large garbage salad and a small "special", the signature pizza (plenty for two) and were out of there for less than $50. Other than the Italian beef and hot dog places a few blocks west you really cannot have dinner anywhere on the gold coast without spending at least twice that. And It was a very satisfying meal to boot! If i still lived in chicago I would go all the time.
i vote for lou malnati's. i wouldn't say that other places are necessarily bad. i just think that lou malnati's is equally good, if not better than, others and is less touristy than some of the other joints in chicago. uno or due is fine, but the wait can be ridiculous, samething with gino's east. the giordano's i've had at hyde park is good, but since it's so ubiquitous, it feels less special when i go there.
Gino's does not belong in the same conversation as Lou Malnati's and Uno/Due. Gino's used to be very good but in recent years they changed the cornmeal crust (its now too dry) and got sloppy with the quality of the sauce and toppings. If you insist on going anyway go to the one to the one a few blocks west of your hotel because it has the original decor. IMHO the best true deep dish in Chicago is Uno's and Dues the originals that started it all. Incidentally, the house salad there is a fantastic starter for the pizza.
As soon as I read this and the replies you got I knew I had to register and save you. I've lived in Chicago my whole life, I've had pizza EVERYwhere. Why did no one mention Giordano's? The crust is unique and buttery, very tasty, and their ingredients are by far the most fresh I've encountered. The cheese is quite different too.
Please, as a restaurant and food connoisseur, let me save you from the pitfall of Lou's! The slices are too big and overly filling. Their sauce is mediocre, I guess the crust and cheese are fine. Don't get me wrong this place is bad, but if you're looking for the best,
don't go here.
My rating would go as follows:
Giordano's (consistently delicious!)
Uno/Due (same thing)
Actually, what I don't like about Giordano's is that I find the ingredients are anything but quality. All too often, tomato and other vegetables of a quality I'd expect to see at a low-end fast food restaurant, soggy crust, etc. I also find that their sausage is the blandest of the various deep dish pizza joints in town. That being said, there are about 50 Giordano's locations and I've had better experiences at some of their locations, but I had a terrible experience at their location on Rush St. in the city.
Just to clarify something:
There are different locations for Lou Malnatis (I"ve never noticed a difference between them).
Gino's East also has a couple of locations. I can't speak to them b/c I haven't eater their pizza in many years (perhaps that is an opinion in itself).
There is only one Uno's and Due's. They originated deep dish pizza in the 40s. They are virtually one block apart. Uno's is the original. Due's opened a bit later is a tad bit bigger. Both serve the same pizza.
That being said, there is a chain called Uno's Chicago Grill that also markets a frozen "Chicago-style" pizza. The chain and the frozen pizza bear little-to-no resemblance to the real Unos or Dues. The menu, the recipes and the ambiance are totally different.
All three chains have locations close to where you are staying.
Chicgail, Thank you for your response. To clarify, yes, I noticed there's multiple locations, so I'm asking which location of each pizzeria would be the best to go to. I didn't want to go to the 'wrong' Lou's, etc as there are multiple locations of it in Chicago, ditto for the rest. My thinking is that probably all locations weren't created equal. So looking for insight on which location of each establishment would give me the best pizza. Your answer on Gino's East had me cracking up. :) Thanks also for your insight that Lou's no matter which one you go to, is a solid pizzeria. Thank you for clarifying that Due and Uno's just has one location a piece, so no confusion in going there.
Hey Chowhounders, so concensus so far is that any Lou Malnati's is a safe bet for yumminess, Gino's East is still up in the air as far as best location to have their pizza at. Agree? :) Curious also, your thoughts on the pizzerias I've narrowed the visit down to as well...
Thanks in advance for taking the time to share your insight. I am so excited to try the deep dish! I had it once....ummm in Boston. :) I know, I know, not the same.... :)
Definitely Malnati's. Although there is a Pizano's in the Loop area and not far from the Mag Mile area and Pizano's and Malnati's are almost identical, so either one will work. I prefer them to Gino's and Uno's and Due's (Gino's would be my last choice of these 3).
Also, at both Malnati's and Pizano's, I recommend ordering with the buttercrust. It makes the crust a bit shorter, crunchier.