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Looking for really good Chicago style deep dish pizza in Jersey

We are having a very un-fulfilled craving for some deep dish pizza, and Pizzeria Uno is not doing it for us...does anyone have a place to recommend?

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  1. As a native South Philadelphian/South Jersean - I can tell you - you will not get 'real' Chicago-style pizza in New Jersey. I just got back from Chicago (2nd visit) and there is absolutely nothing like it. I ate at Lou Malnati's and Giordanos pizza - both were awesome - and I cannot find anything like it anywhere near our area. If you do find it - let me know. Also, you won't find their awesome Italian beef sandwiches around here.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Xena060870

      Being a Chicagoan who moved to Jersey, I can tell you how much I miss Italian Beef. I was suggested to try a Philly Cheese Steak, but it just tastes like an Italian Beef with different seasonings and dry. Perhaps Portillo's will open up out here someday.

    2. http://www.tastesofchicago.com/

      No problem they will ship Deep Dish Pizza anywhere!

      1. Giordano's will ship and it cooks perfectly if you follow the directions. Pizzeria Uno just isn't right... then again the City mainly focuses on Stuffed pizza now (Nancy's, Giordano's, Rosati's).

        You will have more trouble if you try to find Chicago-style Thin Crust... the people outside of the midwest don't even understand what it is let alone know where to find it.

        7 Replies
        1. re: Ameise

          Some of us understand it. But NJ doesn't have much if any.

          Conversely, if you could work to understand the various types of NJ pizza, you might actually come across something you enjoy. There's plenty of crap out there, but plenty of exceptional pizze.

          1. re: tommy

            Indeed, some of us understand it, and others obviously don't. True Chicago deep-dish pizza is wonderful, sheer heaven in all its glory. There are two styles - the single-crust "pizza in the pan" served by the original locations of Uno and Due*, Lou Malnati's, and Pizano's; and the double-crust "stuffed pizza" served by Giordano's, Bacino's, and Edwardo's. I absolutely love both of them, and am thrilled that I live in Chicago and can get them any time I want. Once I tasted Chicago deep-dish, there was no way I was ever going to be satisfied with the NY/NJ-style thin crust I grew up with. Deep-dish all the way!!!

            Here's an interesting fact about deep-dish: Uno (1943) and Due (1955) were started by Ike Sewell, and owned by his wife. After Ike died, she sold the franchise rights which became the chain Uno's Chicago Grill. Part of the sale included a requirement that the original recipe would continue to be used in the two original locations of Uno and Due in Chicago's River North. That's why the pizza is dreadful in their franchise locations but still great in downtown Chicago.

            1. re: nsxtasy

              Debating which is better is pointless.

              The point is, an awful lot of people have had Chicago pizza in Chicago, and "understand it."

              I don't have much of a sampling size, but my friends and family in Chicago tell me that the franchise does indeed serve something utterly different from the original Uno and Due.

              1. re: nsxtasy

                The crust on stuffed pizza is a completely different animal than the crust for either deep-dish or thin crust pizza. I've been making all three for decades, and there's little similar about the stuffed pizza dough except it's dough. It's much softer and more pliable.

                Reading this thread makes me want to go home and make a deep dish pizza... Uno's style.

                Oh, and I thought Uno's shipped also. Or do they just have carry out on the raw pizza?

                1. re: ChefJune

                  ChefJune, please, share your secrets. Have made numerous attempts over the years with varying success, close but no cigar!

            2. re: Ameise

              >> Giordano's will ship and it cooks perfectly if you follow the directions. Pizzeria Uno just isn't right... then again the City mainly focuses on Stuffed pizza now (Nancy's, Giordano's, Rosati's).

              That last part is not really true; single-crust deep-dish pizza in the pan is as popular as ever in Chicago, although double-crust stuffed pizza is also very popular. However, just to give a bit more overview...

              Thick crust pizza in Chicago comes in two primary varieties. The original "deep-dish" "pizza in the pan" uses a single crust, and its construction is described very well below by jfedorko. This was first created by Pizzeria Uno in Chicago in 1943 and they opened Pizzeria Due a block away in 1955. Both remain in the same locations. In their early decades, one of the primary workers/managers there was Rudy Malnati Sr. and his sons worked there for many years as well. In 1971 his son Lou opened his namesake restaurant which now has several dozen locations in Chicago and its suburbs. In 1991 another son Rudy Jr. opened Pizano's which now has three locations in Chicago and its suburbs. There are other places in the Chicago area which also serve similar single-crust deep-dish, notably Gino's East.

              In the early 1970s, the second variety, called "stuffed pizza", was introduced in Chicago, first by Nancy's and shortly thereafter by Giordano's, both based on family recipes from the Torino (Turin) area of Italy. This double-crust pizza starts with a bottom crust, then has a layer containing the cheese and added meats and vegetables (they're not on top so the word "toppings" doesn't really fit), then has a second crust on top of that, and the tomato sauce on top. Giordano's is the most well-known place for stuffed pizza in Chicago, but there are others, including Nancy's, Bacino's, Edwardo's, and Carmen's.

              As for thick pizza being similar to a casserole, there's one place in Chicago whose pizza resembles a casserole or a "pizza pot pie", and that is a place called Chicago Pizza and Oven Grinder Company. It's been around a long time but they have only one location and I'm not aware of any others that have copied them.

              There are other varieties of pizza in Chicago, of course, including various types of thin crust ("New York style", as the foldable thin crust predominant in NJ is typically called; "Chicago style", which is thin crust with a crackerlike consistency and typically cut into squares; certified authentic Neopolitan pizza similar to Ah Pizz in Montclair and A Mano in Ridgewood; etc).


              1. re: nsxtasy

                You just made me want to move back home to DuPage County. Thanks :P.

            3. I posted before and it never got posted.....Try VALENTINO'S in BELFORD NJ, the MIDDLETOWN SECTION......they have what you are looking for.

              1. Having been on this quest myself for many years I feel the need to try and clarify what a "Chicago-style Deep Dish Pizza" is and is not. Born and raised in Monmouth county I've also spent a few years in the midwest. Many restaurants around here tout what basically amounts to a round sicilian pizza in a pan as a "Chicago pan pizza". The pie has a typical Sicilian style thick crust (thick meaning a good 1/2 to 1" thick). This is NOT Chicago-style Deep Dish Pizza!
                One midwest restaurant likened their Deep-Dish pizza to being more like a quiche. I've even gone the Lou Malnati Taste-of-Chicago mail order route but you'd think there would be someone in the tri-state area that could produce an authentic Deep-Dish Pizza. I understand that most east-coasters would look at a traditional Deep-Dish pizza as an abomination but with the various transplants around the area I would hope such a pizzeria could survive.

                The Chicago pizza is most often made using what many (but granted not all) around here would consider "upside down" order of assembly. The crust is shaped to the bottom and sides of the pan like a quiche or a cheesecake (NOT the thickness of the pan). Next is a quite generous topping of cheese followed by hearty tomato sauce which has the consistency more of a stewed tomato based pasta sauce than the thin strained pizza sauce used locally. Toppings are mixed in with the sauce or layed on top.

                30 years ago or so there was a branch of My Pi (the mathematical symbol Pi) on Long Island, but I've since found out that the whole chain of My Pi's have been reduced to just the original hole-in-wall in Chicago.

                Please, if you do find a REAL Chicago-style Deep Dish pizza anwhere locally keep us informed!

                3 Replies
                1. re: jfedorko

                  Gem's Pizza in South Seaville, Cape May County has a Chicago Style Deep Dish pizza. You can see a picture of it on their website, www.gempizza.com - it's the third picture in the slide show on the main page. I haven't actually tried it myself, but I am planning on doing so next week.

                  You can also see a picture here: http://www.gempizza.com/menu - it's the third picture on the first row.

                  1. re: cg41386

                    hmmmmm not going to travel all the way to Cape May for Chicago style pizza when I can make it myself.

                    If I were closer by, that's a different story.

                    1. re: ChefJune

                      I don't have the resources to make one myself. I actually work sort of near where Gem's is, so it's not a huge issue for me.

                2. The closest and best I have had in NJ is by ordering Lou Malnati's online and making it at home. It does the job, but still mkt better than having it there

                  1. By far one of the things I miss most about HOME is deep dish. Pizzeria Uno, as well as Due were my favorites. Lou's was always good, as were Gino's and Giordano's! YUM!

                    Definitely no true Chicago style deep dish in New Jersey, or anywhere on the East Coast for that matter...and least not that I have found. The Uno chains are garbage.

                    Even the thin crust out here is different. Don't get me wrong, there is good thin crust here, and outstanding tomato pies here, however, sometimes you just want some good old Rosati's from back home! Was so good when I had it over the holidays while back in Barrington, IL.

                    As for other delights, I finally found a true Chicagostyle Vienna beef dog in Trenton of all places. All genuine ingredients, with the exception of the buns, though the buns are poppy seed and baked fresh daily locally. I am actually talking to the owner to see if he can get Italian beef from the vendor he buys his dogs from, so stay tuned! More to come there!

                    TastesofChicago.com does indeed do the trick. I receive Lou's pies from there every Christmas from my sister, and it is the best option I've found to have deep dish here on the East Coast. Thank God for them, and worth the price of admission IMHO... -mJ

                    5 Replies
                    1. re: njfoodies

                      njfoodies - what's the Trenton hot dog joint?

                      1. re: jsfein

                        D'oh, I forgot to mention it. It isn't actually really a hot dog joint, more of a restaurant and bar called 11 Front. It is located at 11 Front Street in Trenton, and is a great little spot to stop for a drink...and a Vienna beef dog! Heck of a great resource to have so close by! Note that they are only open lunch til about 8PM. I would get there by 7PM to ensure that the kitchen is still taking food orders. -mJ

                        1. re: njfoodies

                          This place is a few minute walk from my office and I had no idea it was even there. Will hit it up this week for sure.

                          1. re: jsfein

                            It's a great little spot actually. Nice little wine list, good draft and bottled beers, and genuine Vienna beef hot dogs! It's heaven, all the way down to the sport peppers, celery salt, and neon green relish! I've know about the place for almost a year, but didn't go until the last 2 weeks. Had I known they had Chicago dogs, I would have been there the day they opened. I'm sure I'll be back again one night this week...LOL! -mJ