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Aug 14, 2012 07:00 PM

Lou Malnati's

Which location is the original or best one to go to?

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  1. Same answer to both of your questions---Lincolnwood

    2 Replies
    1. re: cito4633

      That said, there is no reason to drive to Lincolnwood if you are downtown. River North, Gold Coast and Lincoln Park all have a branch and they are all really good.

      1. re: jbontario

        Advantage of Gold Coast location on a busy summer night is that when there is a 45-minute wait you can go and sit in Viagra Triangle under the pretty trees and observe the goings-on.

    2. I have eaten at at least half a dozen of their locations, and they all seem to be pretty much the same. I have found no consistent pattern in which any one location is better than any other one. I've noticed some slight variations in quality, but they seem to be random and not related to location.

      9 Replies
      1. re: nsxtasy

        We were thinking about one for atmosphere but after some more research, we're going to do Pizano's and pick up a frozen Lou's DDP. Do they carry them just in their restaurants or do other places have them too?? (Local Costco, etc)

        1. re: itryalot

          I have not seen frozen Lou's anywhere except at their restaurants. However, I have seen Gino's East deep-dish pizzas in my local supermarket (Dominick's).

          1. re: itryalot

            A frozen Lou's is good but it's not the same as the restaurant pizza.

            1. re: ferret

              I know...there's only so much we can eat in three days! LOL

              1. re: itryalot

                Report back how Pizano's is (it looks a little soupy, or loose, compared to Lou's). I have lived in Chicago my whole life and never even heard of Pizano's.

                They only sell frozen Lou's at Lou's. I know a lot of people that go at 11am (basically breakfast) and then eat a late lunch and late dinner--but I agree too much of one food gets me down. Also they do ship nationwide.. so that might be easier than carrying it around.

                1. re: GraceW

                  >> I have lived in Chicago my whole life and never even heard of Pizano's.

                  Really? Here's the background. Uno and Due were the first to sell deep-dish pizza, in 1943 and 1955, respectively. In their early decades, one of the main employees working there (often described as the manager) was Rudy Malnati Sr., and when his sons were old enough, they worked there with their dad. In 1971, Lou Malnati, one of the sons, opened the first of his namesake restaurants in Lincolnwood, and Lou Malnati's now has 34 locations in the Chicago area (soon to be 35). In 1992, Rudy Malnati Jr., Lou's brother, opened his first location of his Pizano's restaurant, and Pizano's now has 4 locations in the Chicago area (soon to be 5). Lou Malnati's started in the suburbs and added locations in downtown Chicago relatively recently, whereas Pizano's started in downtown Chicago and has only one location in the suburbs, in Glenview.

                  1. re: nsxtasy

                    Thank you, nsxtasy: that was very helpful. And since they are related, it makes me think I should check out Pizano's and see what the nuances are next time I trek to Glenview.

                    1. re: nsxtasy

                      That was a great history! I would now like to hear about all those pizzerias with your opinions on their chowhound-worthiness.

                    2. re: GraceW

                      Will report back for sure. We're going to have Neopolitan Pizza too. I am thinking we should try the Oprah fave at Pizano's too. Thin crust, BBQ chicken. Too many pizzas not enough time!

            2. I am glad this post is up. I remember as a kid going to Uno and then Due in the 80s and loving their deep dish pizza. The lines were so damn long but the pizza was so perfect. The cheese and sausage was piled on thick in the pan and the meats had such a distinctive heavenly flavor. You could not get that certain flavor anywhere else including Gino's East. Then at some point Uno/Due lost it in the 90s and beyond. I don't know why they were cutting corners- maybe the costs of the ingredients went up or maybe they got greedy, but the pizzas became a quarter of the thickness they use to be and more wet. What a loss to the city. Anyway I've tried Uno/Due a handful of times in the last couple of decades and have always come away disappointed.

              Why do I bring Uno/Due up in a Lou Malnati thread?
              Because I remember going to my first Lou Malnati's pizzeria in the late 90s, the Naperville location and ordering a deep dish pizza that blew my mind; it tasted just like Uno and Due back in the 80s! I don't know if the Naperville location is still churning out the same amazing pizza or not but I've tried 3 of the other Malnati locations and just found them ok.

              2 Replies
              1. re: Urgency

                The original locations of Uno and Due still use the original recipe for deep-dish pizza; it has not changed at all, unlike all the franchise locations of Uno Chicago Grill. This was specified in the contract in which Ike Sewell's widow sold the rights to the Uno name to the corporation that franchises it.

                1. re: Urgency

                  Unless your memory of Malnati's is being processed through a nostalgia filter, there shouldn't be any variation by location or time frame. I've been eating Malnati's almost since it opened in the early 70's. It was my go-to spot through high school and mostly ever since. They are all company-owned and unless someone's going rogue there shouldn't be any noticeable difference between locations.

                2. May I recommend Medici's in Hyde Park. Parking is street only, but it's an institution. AMAZING pizza with great taste.

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: chicagothr

                    I was recently in your great city and always hated deep dish pizza it was the worst thing I ever tasted. Dominos pizza hut etc...were the only ones I had ever tried. But we went to Lou Malnatis gold coast. And what a revelation deep dish pizza is the bomb. It was great I can truly say now chicago is the gold standard for this dish.

                    1. re: joedontexan

                      Domino's and Pizza Hut do not serve Chicago-style deep-dish pizza. The deep-dish pizza has nothing in common with the pizza served by those chains, including their thick-crust styles.

                      It's like saying that you always hated a 75-day aged porterhouse steak because the burgers at McDonald's and Burger King were the only ones you ever tried. :)

                      1. re: nsxtasy

                        I stand corrected sir. And oh by the way Ike Sewell a native Texan is the inventor of your chicago style deep dish pizza.

                        1. re: joedontexan

                          Ike Sewell was indeed one of the main people behind Uno and Due; he and Ric Riccardo developed the original recipe. But his wife, Florence (nee Davis), owned the restaurants and their liquor licenses, right from the start. She was from Kansas and came to Chicago as a teen.