Where to Get Chicago's Best Deep-Dish Pizzas
Ask any Chicagoan what food their city is best known for, and the answer is unanimous: deep-dish pizza. The city has laid claim to countless variations of gooey pies since the 1940s, and while the crust, cheese and sauce remain a mainstay, the styles are as varied as their histories (and toppings, for that matter). From exclusive sausage blends to caramelized crusts, here are 10 of Chicago's best pies to try right now.
Only two people are tasked with making the dough for all six locations of this pizza haven, and it's that crispy, airy crust that's the trademark here. A balanced cheese-to-sauce ratio also makes Pizano's pies lighter than some Windy City heavyweights, leaving you able to down a second slice.
Whether it's Oprah or local culinary legend Charlie Trotter, this pizza spot (and its signature stuffed pies) has its fair share of famous fans. That's due to the team's dedication to only the highest-quality ingredients, like the Italian sausage, mushrooms, green peppers and onions that go into the Bacino's Special.
Deep-dish fanatics nationwide go wild for this local institution. Its success is easily credited to hand-selecting California vine-ripened tomatoes, its exclusive sausage blend made to precise specifications and the same small-dairy cheese it's used for the past 40 years.
Founder Larry Aronson is a fourth-generation baker, so it's only natural that he had a knack for pizza making when he opened his doors in 1971. His staff still puts a meticulous emphasis on the pies, sourcing ripe San Marzano tomatoes, making the dough for their tender crust daily and calling upon artisanal, locally made mozzarella. Bonus: Each delivery comes with its very own mini pizza cutter wheel, ensuring seamless serving.
This pizzeria has spent nearly 30 years serving its namesake, gaining plenty of followers, as well as first place in the Chicago Tribune's deep-dish pizza contest. Chalk all that success up to heaping amounts of earthy sauce, rich cheese and a flaky crust it's been mastering for the past three decades.
Founder Brian Tondryk tested hundreds of recipes before opening this Roscoe Village pizzeria, where he focuses on deep-dish pies with cracker-thin crusts. Tondryk sources all the cheese from the same Wisconsin dairy and spent a year perfecting his slightly sweet and spiced sauce.
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Nearly 70 Giordano's locations have popped up nationwide since brothers Efren and Joseph Boglio opened their original South Side spot in 1974, meaning one thing: The deep-dish demand is real. And these pies aren't just deep dish—they're stuffed, with an extra layer of dough baked in for a hearty and ultra-filling dining experience.
If you weren't crazy about crust before, you will be after a visit to this Lincoln Park staple. Just one bite of these bready pies—which have a halo of caramelized mozzarella blanketing the homemade dough, a secret sauce and a proprietary sausage blend—and you'll soon understand why the lines snake out the door.
Many a slice has been modeled after this shop that first opened in 1943. Today, it has more than 130 locations worldwide, all baking up tall, buttery pies that hold a sauce loaded with Italian seasonings and a generous layer of gooey cheese. But even if you don't live nearby an Uno, you're still in luck: It can ship a 10-inch 'za anywhere in the States.
Two cab drivers opened this pizza go-to back in 1966, and now there are several locations nationwide. A thick, golden crust houses whole-milk mozzarella and a sweet sauce that's best enjoyed on-site: The restaurant has become known for its walls, which are covered in signatures and sayings from guests since the 60s.
Nicole Schnitzler is a Chicago-based freelance writer who covers travel, food, and drink. Follow her on Twitter at @write_to_eat.
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