The Pizza Debate: Find the Best Chicago Has to Offer
Welcome to the ultimate quest for pizza perfection in the Windy City! Chicago is a city that takes its pizza seriously, and the legendary deep-dish style is a source of fierce debate among locals and visitors alike. From the classic, gooey cheese and tomato-filled creations to inventive twists on tradition, Chicago is home to some of the best pizza joints in the nation. Join us as we embark on a mouthwatering journey to discover the best pizza in Chicago and settle the debate once and for all.
Before we can come to any real conclusions, we have to take it back to the very beginning. It’s important to understand the origins of Chicago-style deep dish pizza. Invented in 1943 by Ike Sewell and Ric Riccardo at the original Pizzeria Uno, deep dish pizza quickly became a Chicago culinary icon. Featuring a thick, buttery crust that can hold generous amounts of cheese, sauce, and toppings, this hearty pizza is more like a pie than its thin-crust cousins. What seems commonplace today was revolutionary for the time. Now that we’ve covered the basics, let’s dive into the heart of the debate and explore some of the city’s best pizza establishments.
Giordano’s: The Stuffed Pizza Pioneer.
Giordano’s may not have invented the stuffed pizza, but they certainly helped popularize it. Founded in 1974, Giordano’s is famous for its stuffed pizza – a unique variation of deep dish with two layers of crust and an abundance of cheese and toppings. With locations throughout Chicago, Giordano’s is an essential stop for anyone seeking the ultimate deep dish experience. Be prepared to wait for your pizza, as it takes time to cook these hefty masterpieces to perfection, but trust us, it’s worth the wait.
Lou Malnati’s. A Family Tradition
Another contender in the deep dish debate is Lou Malnati’s, a family-owned pizzeria that has been serving Chicagoans since 1971. Lou Malnati’s is known for its signature buttercrust, made with the perfect balance of flakiness and crunch. Fans rave about their consistent quality, generous toppings, and the rich tomato sauce that graces each pizza. Don’t forget to try their Malnati Salad, a delicious accompaniment to your deep dish feast.
Pequod’s Pizza: A Caramelized Crust Delight
Venturing beyond the downtown area, Pequod’s Pizza in the Lincoln Park and Morton Grove neighborhoods offers a unique spin on the traditional deep dish. Known for its caramelized crust – the result of cheese baked directly against the edges of the pan – Pequod’s has garnered a loyal following. The gooey, cheesy interior and crispy, caramelized edges create a delightful contrast that will have you coming back for more.
The Art of Pizza: An Under-the-Radar Gem
The Art of Pizza is a lesser-known, yet equally delicious contender in the deep dish debate. Located in the Lakeview neighborhood, this unassuming spot offers a variety of pizza styles, but the deep dish is the star of the show. With a light, airy crust and a perfect balance of cheese, sauce, and toppings, The Art of Pizza is a hidden gem that’s worth seeking out.
However, it’s important to remember that even though Chicago pioneered the deep dish pizza, it’s now known for more than just that. Any true pizza lover making his way through the city will be forced to stop and try one of the other beautiful creations this culinary powerhouse has to offer.
Paulie Gee’s: A Brooklyn Legend in Chicago
Though originally hailing from Brooklyn, Paulie Gee’s has made a significant impact on the Chicago pizza scene since its arrival. Nestled in the Logan Square neighborhood, this pizzeria offers a delicious alternative to the deep dish experience. While they do serve a delectable Chicago-style thin crust, the real star of the show is their Neapolitan-style pizza. With a perfectly charred and chewy crust, topped with the freshest ingredients and imported Italian tomatoes, Paulie Gee’s pizzas are a must-try for any pizza enthusiast. Their inventive toppings, such as the “Hellboy” with spicy honey drizzle, add a unique twist that sets them apart from the competition. Pair your pizza with one of their craft beers or cocktails for an unforgettable dining experience.
Piece Brewery & Pizzeria: Award-Winning Pies and Brews
Another noteworthy addition to the Chicago pizza landscape is Piece Brewery & Pizzeria, located in the bustling Wicker Park neighborhood. Focusing on New Haven-style pizza, Piece has gained a reputation for its thin-crust pies with crispy edges and a slightly chewy center. The toppings are abundant and thoughtfully selected, allowing you to create your perfect pizza combination. The white pie, a sauceless pizza with mozzarella, garlic, and olive oil, is a favorite among regulars. In addition to their mouthwatering pizza, Piece is also an award-winning brewery. Their wide selection of in-house brewed beers offers the perfect accompaniment to your pizza feast, making it a must-visit spot for pizza and beer lovers alike.
The Windy City’s pizza scene is as diverse as it is delicious. From the classic deep dish to Neapolitan and New Haven-style pies, there’s something for every pizza lover in Chicago. With so many incredible options, the only way to determine your personal favorite is to embark on a pizza adventure of your own. So grab your friends, family, or fellow pizza enthusiasts, and explore the amazing world of Chicago pizza.