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Deep Dish Sauce

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First off, thanks to all the Chicago posters out there! I will be in your fine city for 5 days in late August and have some great ideas based on all that I have read! Sounds like 5 days isn't nearly enough to try all that I would like.

From what I can gather, most of the deep dish places sound like winners, but what about the sauce? I personally am a fan of a zestier, more savoury sauce and tend to dislike the sweeter variety. Does the deep dish style of pizza have a characteristic sauce or do they differ?

I am staying at the Sheraton in Streeterville and have eyed up Lou Malnati's, Gino's East on Wells, Uno, Giordanos and Pizanos. Who has the best sauce (keeping in mind my preference)?!

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Gino's East
8725 W Higgins Rd Ste 100, Chicago, IL 60631

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  1. The sauces do differ, but not a whole lot. (Keep in mind that the same family was instrumental in Uno/Due, Lou Malnati's, and Pizano's, so their similarity is not a coincidence.) I'm not sure which one has a sauce with a more concentrated tomato flavor, which seems to be what you're looking for; hopefully someone else can answer that.

    If you are only trying one and you've never been here before, I would recommend the classic deep-dish style with a single crust, and not Giordano's and its double-crust stuffed pizza. Don't get me wrong; I love Giordano's every bit as much as the others. But for a first-timer, start with the classic, which means one of the other four you mentioned.

    1. I'd say that if you want "zesty," you might actually be better off going with the stuffed pizza at Giordano's. The sauce at Pizano's and Uno's is mostly just crushed tomatoes (slightly seasoned, and good quality tomatoes), but certainly not "zesty" (though all of them provide oregano, hot pepper flakes, and cheese at the table). It's been so long since I've been to Lou Malnati's or Gino's East that I don't want to make a blanket statement about their sauce (not that those places don't have great pizza!)

      1 Reply
      1. re: pamiam

        That crushed, seasoned tomatoes thing is characteristic of the iconic Chicago deep dish pizza, along with a patty of Italian sausage that covers the pizza and the cheese layer beneath. If it's not what you're looking for, I agree with the others: try Giordanos version of the stuffed pizza -- another Chicago original.

      2. I second Giordanos for their sauce, though I think a better overall pizza is to be had at Uno, Gino's or Malnati's. Not a huge difference in my opinion though, so if sauce is what you're most concerned about I think you'll be happy with Giordanos.

        1. it's not the closest, and it's not traditional deep dish/stuffed, but it's unique to chicago and I like it a lot: pequod's on clybourn (and pequod's in morton grove + burt's in morton grove) has a very nice, very zesty sauce.

          1 Reply
          1. re: gleam

            The sauce at Pequod's is much more "zesty" (more tomato-ey and concentrated) than at Burt's.

          2. Thanks for the replys guys! Always appreciate your responses and time. I'll report back on my experiences.