Daniel and I just spent a week in Chicago. Though we spent our time doing amazing things (like scoring free tickets to a Second City performance, spending a morning sketching at the Art Institute, and capsizing our jet ski in 56 degree water), we have to get the most important blogpost out of the way: where can you get the best deep dish pizza while in Chicago? Deep dish. Basically, it is a gift graced unto humankind by a very merciful God. Thick, perfect layers of flakey crust, with pounds and pounds of gooey cheese and an assortment of your choice of toppings, all covered with fresh and robust tomato sauce and then put together into a casserole resembling pizza. (Only a run-on sentence can truly describe its perfection.) If you don't have to eat it with a fork, it ain't deep dish.
So where can you get the most authentic, most delicious deep dish in the City of Deep Dish? First, let's take two options off the table: Uno Pizzeria and Grill is a (basically offensive) deep dish chain and we just - hand's down - wouldn't recommend it. And if you go to Gino's East, then you're going to the well-marketed, tourist-y and not-as-delicious option that fools many tourists into thinking it's the real deal.
Where you have to go for this taste of heaven is to one of two options: Lou Malnati's or Giordano's. They have surprisingly different interpretations of deep dish, so pay attention to the details and you'll be able to plan your deep dish adventure accordingly:
Lou Malnati's has flakey 'butter crust' - nearly comparable to a pie crust. The tomato sauce is so obviously fresh that it is full of pieces of the tomatoes that they used to make it. We got our Lou Malnati's with Italian sausage, which mixed perfectly with the inches of melted cheese sandwiched in between the crust and sauce. Of the two options, Lou Malnati's was closer on the 'casserole' end of the scale.
Giordano's was more like the traditional pizza that every American is used to, but with perks. The soft, thick crust and delicious-but-normal pizza sauce was layered around an overly-abundant amount of cheese and that night's toppings of choice: peppers and onions. Both, however, were nearly 2 1/2 inches thick and both needed to be eaten with silverware.
What it came down to for Daniel and I, when deciding on our favorite, was simply flavor. I opted for Giordano's more traditional crust and sauce, whereas Daniel really enjoyed the flaky butter crust that Lou Malnati's offered. Though it was a close race for both of us, we did come to one (very obvious) conclusion - deep dish beats out any other pizza, easily. No questions asked.
However, out of respect for where our true allegiance lies, we will be highlighting our favorite New York-style pizzas in the near future (ironically, one of those New York-style pizzas that we really enjoyed, we got in Grand Rapids, Michigan - can we really call ourselves New Yorkers?!) Stay tuned. And go get yourself a slice, since you've got to be craving it by now!
*Totally and obviously not my own photos.