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Nov 1, 2011 11:19 AM

Chicago deep-dish pizza

Yes, I know that I can just search for old posts, but some of these posts date as far back as 1999, so I would like to have a new take on this. A group of 9 of us are getting together in Chicago this week. 4 of us are from NY, so I am not sure that you can really get better than some of our pizza, although we don't do deep dish the way they do in Chicago.
We will be staying pretty close to Uno and Due, so would like to know if the restaurants themselves are really as bad as some of the reviews sound, and the wait as long, or should we go for it because these are your originals? Any suggestions as far as their specialty pizzas if we don't want just the traditional ones?

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  1. The original locations of Uno and Due are still very good indeed. So are the various locations of Lou Malnati's (there's one a few blocks west of Uno/Due, another about 1/2 mile north) and Pizano's (there's one about 1/4 mile north of Uno/Due, another in the Loop). These locations are shown on the map on the right. All of these are very good; if I had to choose one, it would be Lou's, but all three are quite similar. And that similarity is no coincidence; they share a family relationship. Lou Malnati's and Pizano's were both founded by sons of Rudy Malnati Sr., one of the principal characters in the early decades of Uno and Due, where all three worked together for many years. It takes 30-45 minutes to bake; to avoid waiting that long while you're there, I believe you can phone ahead with your pizza order at Malnati's and Pizano's but not Uno/Due.

    As to what to get on your deep-dish, that's entirely up to you; you can get whatever you like. However, I think it comes through best without piling too many toppings on, no more than 2-3 so they don't overwhelm the crust/cheese/sauce.

    As to the endless New York vs Chicago debate, everyone has an opinion. Mine? I grew up on the foldable, overly-greasy, oregano-laden New York style pizza, and I think it's dreadful. Once I moved here and tried our delicious deep-dish, there was no going back to that crap. But you're welcome to your opinion! :)

    Pizzeria Due
    619 N Wabash Ave, Chicago, IL 60611

    Pizano's Pizza & Pasta
    61 E Madison St, Chicago, IL 60603

    Pizzeria Uno
    29 E Ohio St, Chicago, IL 60611

    Pizano's Pizza & Pasta
    864 N State St, Chicago, IL 60610

    Lou Malnati's Pizzeria (River North)
    439 N Wells St, Chicago, IL 60654

    Lou Malnati's Pizzeria (Gold Coast)
    1120 N State St, Chicago, IL 60610

    1. I went to Uno once when I first moved to Chicago. Pizza was pretty good yet not worth the wait. NY and Chicago pizza should never even be compared in my opinion. "Thin crust/NY Style" in Chicago is (with few exceptions) a truly thin cracker crust which is absolutely disgusting in my opinion. The pizza sauces in Chicago also generally taste like Prego spaghetti sauce. True NY pizza is unique and delicious. I'd take a NY slice over any Chicago pizza. That said, I really enjoy Lou Malnatti's and especially Pequod's. If you get a chance, check out Pequod's deep dish pizza:
      Have a wonderful visit.

      4 Replies
      1. re: layne123

        >> "Thin crust/NY Style" in Chicago is (with few exceptions) a truly thin cracker crust which is absolutely disgusting in my opinion.

        That's not true, IMHO (other than your opinion, which is of course whatever you feel it is). It sounds like you may be confusing two different types of pizza. "New York style" pizza, as it is known in Chicago, is just as it is served in New York City. The crust is only somewhat thin, not overly thin; it has to be thick enough (and soft enough - NOT crispy like a "cracker crust") so that the outer edge of the crust part can be used as a holder for folding the pizza slice in two without having it break apart. And it's generally loaded with oregano, and often a lot of grease, as I mentioned. There are places that specialize in it, such as those mentioned in this topic:

        What is meant by New York pizza....and does it exist in Chicago as I recall it? -

        By contrast, your mention of a "truly thin cracker crust" sounds like pizza the way it is served at some places in Chicago's south side and suburbs. It's often cut into squares.

        1. re: nsxtasy

          As an aside, Jimmy's Cafe, a relatively new spot on Lincoln and Foster, does a decent New York style slice. And beignets.

          1. re: ferret

            Theres no PM option here. I wanted to thank ferret for his recommendation. I will definitely try it soon. Thanks! (Sorry for the hijack)

          2. re: nsxtasy

            I didnt want to thread cap yet I grew up in NY and I know what NY pizza is (I go back every summer and all I eat is NY cheese pizza slices, garlic knots, and REAL bagels). I also have spent years in Chicago trying to find NY Pizza. I have tried nearly all of the the places in the thread you list, and some are cracker crust while others get close yet drop the ball in flavor or consistency. The absolute closest place ever to NY Pizza went out of business years ago. It was a Lincoln Square place called Godfathers with HUGE (maybe 24"?) pizzas. The closest pizza places I have found for true NY pizza are Gigios on Broadway and Pizzaco's on Ashland. And for the record almost every time when Chicagoans say "If you like NY Pizza, you have to try <insert restaurant here>", the pizza is cracker crust crap; I even hear it from people that _swear_ they know what NY pizza is. Trust me. I know the difference. I live on the north side and I have tried probably every pizza place in a 5 mile radius as well as many many others. I can attest that someone recently said "If you like NY Pizza you MUST try Pete's". Pete's is cracker crust. It's not me - it's the locals! That said I may have to give Luigi's another try..
            Anyway for the OP, maybe try Pequod's! Again. have a great trip.