Deep-dish is pizza, but not as you know it. If you’re used to the deliciously long and thin slices you can buy for two dollars in New York City, you’re in for a big shock. Deep-dish is the type of pizza that most obviously resembles the old phrase “pizza pie.” It’s made in a deep pan, with the dough layered with cheese first, then toppings, then tomato sauce. It’s a bit upside down, but the taste is out of this world. There is a fierce debate between New Yorkers and Chicagoans as to which pizza is best, but while we could never make that call, we’ve rounded up some of the best deep-dish joints for you in Chicago, including the place where deep-dish is rumored to have been invented!
Giordano’s is a nationwide chain but has secured its place as one of Chicago’s most beloved pizza parlors. Its famous recipe is based off a secret family recipe that originated in a small town near Torino in Italy. By the time Giordano’s opened in 1974, the recipe was so perfect that it went down a treat with Chicago’s locals. Nowadays, the restaurant is all over the country and you can even order its famous pizza to be shipped to you in case you’re unlucky enough to live too far away from one of their branches.
- Bartoli’s Pizzeria
Bartoli’s is famous for providing a delicious deep-dish pizza, but they are also famous in Chicago for going against the grain in cooking thin crust too. Heresy, of course, but hear us out! While it’s essential to try deep-dish, it’s an epic feast and it isn’t for everyone, so if you’re with someone who isn’t up to the challenge, Bartoli’s is the perfect spot for you. It’s cozy and friendly and the deep-dish is to die for. We love a classic pepperoni, but there’s a topping for everyone.
- Lou Malnati’s Pizzeria
Another beloved Chicago chain restaurant is Lou Malnati’s. It is named after its founder, who is rumored to have invented the recipe for deep-dish pizza while working in Pizzeria Uno. While this cannot be verified, Lou did decide to go solo and opened his first restaurant in 1971. He sadly died in 1978, but his wife Jean and son Marc kept the business going and now it has 49 locations in Chicago and its surrounds. Like Giordano’s, they’ll send their pizza to you if you’re not near them and they pride themselves on using the freshest ingredients.
- My Pi
My Pi isn’t a sit-down restaurant but a cute counter joint. Don’t let this fool you, ’coz it’s serving some of the best deep-dish that Chicago has to offer. With the most delicious ingredients and a to-die-for dough based off a recipe by a baker, the good people at Pi have been making the people of Chicago happy since 1971. They expanded rapidly into Illinois and surrounds, but when the founder decided to retire, he closed all but one location, which now serves as a memorial to the others.
- Pequod’s Pizza
One of the downsides of ordering deep-dish is that it takes a little longer to cook than other styles of pizza. This translates into long waiting times, which can often leave customers frustrated. Pequod’s have come up with the ideal solution to this long-time problem. It sends its customers to their bar, Whale Tale, where they can wait with a beer while their deep-dish cooks to perfection. Along with their sit-in and takeout options, Pequod’s is the perfect place for customers who want a bit of flexibility.
- Pizzeria Uno
Uno’s is famous for being the alleged birthplace of the deep-dish pizza. While the actual inventor is subject to some debate, the location is widely agreed to be Uno. They claim Ike Sewell came up with the delicious idea in 1943 and then opened Uno to publicize his invention. Another chain restaurant, you can even get Uno in Kuwait, as well as 21 U.S. states and other international locations. While they’ve gone international, the recipe features the same buttery and delicious dough that it did back in the forties. Like other locations, they’re willing to share the love and you can even send Uno pizza as a present to a loved one.
Louisa’s is technically in Crestwood, a suburb of Illinois, but this hidden gem is too good to pass up. Owned by Louisa DeGenero, another former Uno’s employee, this spot is serving up deep-dish that needs to be tasted to be believed. It has the charm of a small, family-run restaurant, but the food is so good that you won’t mind the drive out to the suburbs. The crust is light and fluffy and she even seasons her sauce with herbs fresh from the garden.
- Burt’s Place
Burt’s Place is an adorable hipster joint that stays true to the hippie roots of its original owner. While Burt died in 2016, his restaurant stays as cozy and delicious as when he first opened in 1989. A former employee of Pequod’s, Burt wanted to open somewhere welcoming but with the freshest food possible. Nowadays, they’re still serving delicious pizza alongside yummy appetizers and a creative but delicious wine list. Burt is still a part of the place: a cartoon version of him, including his long white beard, features as the mascot of the restaurant.
If you manage to finish a full deep-dish pizza, your friends will definitely be impressed. Make sure you document everything on Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, and Instagram – and don’t forget to wear elasticated pants!