Chicago-style deep-dish / stuffed pizza?
I recently moved back home from Chicago. Food-wise, I'm much happier (Tex-Mex, BBQ, fresh Gulf seafood, boudin, etc.). Until recently, the only Windy City food I occasionally yearned for was a good Italian beef sandwich. Normally, I'm a thin-crust/cracker-crust pizza eater. Every now and then, I need a thicker-crust New York-style pizza. But now . . . maybe it's the onset of cold weather . . . I have this serious hankering for one of those heavy-weight deep-dish Chicago monsters (as in Lou Malnati's, Pizzeria Uno/Due, Edwardo's, Gino's, Leona's) or even one of the heart-stopping stuffed pizzas (double crust/cheese/sauce, as in Giordano's). Yeah, I know I have to try Chicago Pizza and Italian Beef in the Heights, but I'm near NASA and the drive plus the breadth and ambition of the menu have so far dissuaded me. Any other sightings? Even grocery-store frozen would be appreciated (in Chicago, you could often find Edwardo's and Gino's at some grocers). And yes, a lot of those Chicago pizzerias will ship frozen/ready to baked, but I'm not yet desperate and crazy enough (and may never be) to pay $20-some-odd (with shipping) for a frozen 9-inch stuffed pizza). BTW: This craving is all kinda weird to me, since about the only time I had deep-dish/stuffed pizza while living there was when I had visits from out-of-town friends who wanted to experience Chicago-style. Most everyone I knew there preferred thin/cracker crust pizza. Oh, yeah, and cut into saltine-cracker-sized squares.
Just to clarify: stuffed pizza is not the cheese-stuffed crust-edges of the pizza chains. It's more like a full-crust pie: bottom crust; fillings, sauce and cheese; top crust; more sauce and cheese. It's a knife-and-fork-thing, impossible to consume with hands alone.
I've been to the Chicago Pizza & Italian Beef restaurant and was extremely disappointed. It was as if someone in the kitchen tried to create a Chicago deep dish pizza from a photograph they had once seen in a magazine. The crust was pulled up at the sides to give the impression of being deep dish, and it was served in a deep dish pizza pan. That's as close as it got to the real thing. It was on a Monday, so perhaps the regular cook had the day off. If you try this restaurant please come back and post about it.
I haven't been but read that this place has deep dish, take out or delivery only and close to Heights so probably beyond you also:
I recently saw a frozen Chicago Deep dish - maybe Gino's?- in a local grocery. It would have been Kroger or HEB in all likelihood. If I see it again, I'll revert.
Hmmm. Veddy innaresting Lambowner. I wonder if TJ's has a version??
For the OP - the question has come up before (see the sidebar) on this and other boards. There have been a couple of places over the years that claim to specialize in it but they haven't lasted. The Chicago Italian Beef people used to have a separate location on N. Main a couple of blocks away that specialized in Chicago pizza but it didn't last and they incorporated the menu at the present location. Either it wasn't very good or just didn't go over here, or both.
Places I've seen suggested include Candelari's, Star and Barry's, with each getting raves and real negative reviews from people who either claim to be from Chicago or having eaten there. I haven't tried any of them and none of them have locations near you.
My only experience, other than 'pan pizza' at Pizza Hut I think it was, was mail order from Malnati's. A co-worker and I went in on a 2 pack plus the fixins for Chicago style dogs about 10 years ago which made the overall shipping costs more palatable. I loved the crust but otherwise I can pass on this and the dogs but my co-worker has ordered from them again.
Maybe you could order a multi pack and freeze the extras for cravings again a few months down the road and the shipping costs wouldn't be so bad?
Thanks kindly for the responses. I suppose it's like a lot of things in life: some things just don't transplant well. After posting, I DID find a frozen deep-dish Gino's East spinach/garlic pizza at my local HEB. Heated it up (with lots of anticipation), but it turned out to be easily 75% dough. That might've gotten me over the hankering for a while. I'm a pilot, and I'm thinking about flying back to Chicago come the spring thaw. When time draws near for the flight, I'll post again. I could fly back with quite a few Lou Malnati's frozen pizzas in the baggage compartment of my Cessna.
fwiw, I ordered from Pizza L'Vino the day after opening.. It was their "soft opening".. Wanted a salad and one NY style Pizza and one Chicago style pizza.. the owners have experience in both cities so I thought the pizza's might be the best of both worlds. I was warned on "pick up" that in 3 wks the establishment would be rockin on all cyclinders (ok,, expectations were lowered) He might be right about the 3 wks, but I'll never find out! the NY style pizza was not flavorful at all.. Left in the oven a tad long the cheese was overcooked, the crust, hard.. The Chi-town pizza literally feel apart out of the oven (as in, the bottom fell out). The owner decided to not charge me for this one, to his credit.. He assured me that it would taste better than it looked after reconstructing the shape on the counter in front of the oven. The crust was undercooked, so he was wrong on that count.. Was told the owner of Pizza l'Vino is the co-founder of Star Pizza. Speaking of,, i don't think the current owner of Star Pizza or Romano's Pizzeria will lose any sleep over this new competitor in the area. When you open the door for business in Houston u best be ready.. A restaurants "soft opening" or not, they should've considered having the food and drink posted on the menu ready to serve... 24 hours after opening, they apologized to me for not having a simple dinner salad available with the order.
I do wish these guys well.. Prime location but at this point, they are not ready for "prime time"..
Damn, I DO love good pizza, but there's a lot of dubious stuff out there, and, well, I like to eat pizza at home. Even the best pizza does not travel/reheat well. I've tried making it from scratch at home, but the typical home oven won't do the trick (doesn't get hot enough). Thinking about building a brick wood-fired oven for the back yard, but then I doubt I'd use it much here May-October.