Chicago pizza has become famous worldwide. Within the United States in particular, it is often weighed up against New York pizza. As opposed to New York pizza, which is typically of the thin crust variety and can easily be folded, Chicago pizza comes in the form of deep-dish pies that are much thicker and heftier. Regardless of your preference, both of these kinds of pizza can be very satisfying, so when you find yourself in either city, feel free to indulge.
Chicago Style Pizza
Chicago Style Pizza Image: tonnoro (flickr)
Neither Chicago nor New York City is limited to just one pizza style. Quite the contrary, as you can find all kinds of pizza in either city. That being said, both cities are best known for specific styles. In Chicago, the style of pizza that reigns supreme and is most associated with the city is deep-dish pizza. This kind of pizza has a crust that rises up around the other ingredients. This is achieved by pressing the dough up onto the sides of a deep-dish pan. The dough more or less acts as a bowl to hold the other ingredients. Most common among these other ingredients are large amounts of cheese and a healthy dose of chunky tomato sauce. From there, you can add sausage, vegetables, and other ingredients. In some cases, Chicago pizza also incorporates a second layer of dough, which is typically a top layer that is poked with a hole and covered with tomato sauce before baking. When Chicago pizza is served, the finished product looks almost like a cake or pie. This is different than the stereotypical style of New York pizza, which is more of a flatbread concoction.
Chicago Style Pizza Image: Lou Malnati's Pizzeria (flickr)
If you are wondering about the origins of Chicago pizza, the style was invented at the original Pizzeria Uno in 1943. You can still find this pizzeria in the downtown Chicago area neighborhood of River North. According to some reports, it was Pizzeria Uno’s founder – Ike Sewell – who originally came up with the idea to make what is now known as Chicago style pizza. However, a Chicago Daily News article from 1956 asserts that it was actually Uno’s original pizza chef who created the style. The name of this chef was Rudy Malnati. Rudy’s son – Lou Malnati – co-managed Pizzeria Uno with his father in the 1950s, and in the early 1970s, he opened his first Lou Malnati’s Pizzeria in the Cook County village of Lincolnwood. To this day, Pizzeria Uno and Lou Malnati’s Pizzeria figure among the best-known local lines of pizza in the Windy City and are great bets for where to go to get your pie while in town. Other major players in the Chicago pizza game include Giordano’s Pizza and Gino’s East. Most Chicagoans have a preferred brand in the long run. As a side note, Lou Malnati died of cancer in 1978. Since then, the Lou Malnati’s Pizzeria chain has been overseen by Malnati’s wife and two sons.