As a local food expert in Chicago, I have had the pleasure of trying and testing numerous deep dish pizza restaurants in the city. And let me tell you, there is no shortage of options when it comes to this iconic dish. But with so many restaurants claiming to have the best deep dish pizza, it can be overwhelming to decide where to go. That's why I have narrowed down the top picks for you.
The History of Deep Dish Pizza in ChicagoBefore we dive into the best restaurants for deep dish pizza in Chicago, let's take a quick look at the history of this beloved dish.
Deep dish pizza was first created in 1943 by Ike Sewell and Ric Riccardo at their restaurant, Pizzeria Uno. They wanted to offer a pizza that was different from the traditional thin-crust pizzas that were popular at the time. And thus, deep dish pizza was born. Deep dish pizza is known for its thick crust that is formed in a deep pan and filled with layers of cheese, toppings, and sauce. It is often referred to as a "pizza pie" due to its resemblance to a pie.
The toppings are placed on top of the cheese, and then the sauce is poured on top, creating a unique and delicious flavor profile.
The Best Restaurants for Deep Dish Pizza in ChicagoNow that you know a little bit about the history of deep dish pizza in Chicago, let's get into the main event - the best restaurants for this iconic dish.
Lou Malnati's PizzeriaLou Malnati's is a household name in Chicago when it comes to deep dish pizza. This family-owned restaurant has been serving up their famous pizza since 1971. Their secret recipe for the buttery crust and tangy tomato sauce has remained unchanged for over 50 years, and it's what keeps customers coming back for more. Aside from their classic deep dish pizza, Lou Malnati's also offers a variety of specialty pizzas, including their "Malnati Chicago Classic" which features sausage, extra cheese, and vine-ripened tomato sauce. They also have gluten-free and vegan options, making it a great choice for those with dietary restrictions.
Gino's EastGino's East is another iconic deep dish pizza restaurant in Chicago. It was founded in 1966 and has since expanded to multiple locations throughout the city.
Gino's East is known for its graffiti-covered walls, giving the restaurant a unique and quirky atmosphere. When it comes to their deep dish pizza, Gino's East does not disappoint. Their crust is crispy on the outside and soft on the inside, and their sauce is made with fresh tomatoes and a secret blend of spices. They also offer a variety of toppings to choose from, including their famous "Meaty Legend" pizza which features pepperoni, sausage, bacon, and Canadian bacon.
Pizzeria UnoAs mentioned earlier, Pizzeria Uno is where deep dish pizza was first invented. This historic restaurant still serves up their famous deep dish pizza to this day.
The original recipe has remained unchanged, and customers can still taste the same delicious flavors that made this dish so popular. In addition to their classic deep dish pizza, Pizzeria Uno also offers a variety of other dishes, including pasta, sandwiches, and salads. But let's be real - you're here for the deep dish pizza.
Pequod's PizzaIf you're looking for a unique twist on deep dish pizza, then Pequod's Pizza is the place to go. This restaurant is known for its "caramelized crust" which is created by sprinkling cheese on the edges of the pan before baking the pizza. This creates a crispy and slightly sweet crust that is unlike any other. Pequod's also offers a variety of toppings to choose from, including their popular "Meat Lovers" pizza which features pepperoni, sausage, bacon, and Canadian bacon.
They also have a great selection of craft beers to pair with your pizza.