Take a cue from the age-old Cubs-White Sox rivalry, and it’s clear Chicagoans love nothing more than a little competition. Nowhere is this more evident than in the ongoing contention among Chicago’s best deep-dish pizza shops.
Here, the five best places to taste what real deep-dish is all about.
Serving deep-dish pizza for nearly 50 years, Lou Malnati’s has 45 locations across the greater Chicagoland area. When it comes to flavor and freshness, there is no disputing that this pizza chain comes out on top. The recipe has remained unchanged for decades: Expect a thick and buttery crust, a gooey mozzarella base, and a generous layer of tomato sauce on top. Each pie takes 30 to 40 minutes to make, but we promise it’s worth the wait.
At Pequod’s — a Windy City favorite with locations in Lincoln Park and Morton Grove — the crust is king. Its unique caramelized taste is characterized by a thin rim of blackened mozzarella that enhances the rest of the ingredients. Pro tip: Add the roasted sausage and pepperoni toppings for serious flavor.
The Art of Pizza
It’s not easy to regulate your intake at The Art of Pizza, a perennial favorite. Here, we like to stick to the basic cheese pizza, which packs enough flavor to stand on its own. With only one location, this local hotspot maintains excellent standards of consistency and quality.
Louisa’s Pizza & Pasta
Head to the southern suburb of Crestwood for the much-lauded deep dish at Louisa’s Pizza & Pasta, where owner Louisa DeGenero has been serving the Chicago staple since 1981. What stands out here is the light and puffy crust, the result of a dough recipe that’s heartier than that of other restaurants. Loaded with part-skim mozzarella, Anichini sausage, and California vine-ripened tomatoes, these babies will have you coming back for seconds.
Bartoli’s is one of the city’s newest deep-dish haunts. With roots at Gino’s East — which claims to be the home of the “original Chicago deep-dish pizza” — Bartoli’s knows a thing or two about the city’s signature pie. The crust is light and crunchy and cradles a sweet, seasoned homemade sauce, topped with melted mozzarella.