When you come to Chicago it’s likely you’ll have a long list of new things to try and do. I can guess that at least one item on that list is trying a slice of the city’s famous deep-dish pizza. And for good reason! There’s nothing quite like it. It’s certainly a food that both locals and visitors enjoy.
For those who don’t already know, deep-dish pizza is inverted, that is, the cheese comes first and then the sauce. If it sounds weird, just wait until you try your first slice.
Also, a caution for you: don’t let your eyes be larger than your stomach. Sure, you may be able to eat three to four regular slices, but when it comes to deep dish, cut that in half. These pizzas also take a long time to cook, so expect to be waiting at least 45 minutes to try a bite, depending on where you go.
Here, pizza is serious business. People are passionate about their favourites. As a lifelong Chicagoan, I set high standards when it comes to choosing a favourite pizza place. I enjoy a rich crust with a tangy sauce, and just the right amount of thick cheese. With that, here’s my list of recommendations for where to get a good slice of deep dish in the city.
1. Pequod’s Pizza
Hands down, my absolute favourite place for deep-dish pizza. I’d go so far as to say it’s life changing. Pequod’s Pizza has the perfect ratio of pizza ingredients, and to top it off, a crispy caramelised cheese crust.
If you’re in town during the week, they have a daily lunch special that includes an individual-sized pizza and a drink, and the wait tends to be shorter on weekdays as well.
2. Pizano’s Pizza
Pizano’s is another of my favourites. They have a convenient location in downtown Chicago, as well as a few others throughout the city. Their flaky crust is a bit thinner than most others, but it’s rich in flavour. For a little spice, don’t miss their pepperoni deep dish!
Photo credit: Pizano’s Pizza and Pasta
3. Gino’s East
If you want to go to one of the more popular deep-dish chains, I’d suggest Gino’s East. Their buttery crust beats out other chains such as Lou Malnati’s and Giordano’s.
If you’re getting the deep dish, be sure to try it with the sausage patty so you get all the layers of flavour at once. I can’t say it beats out the first two, but it’s definitely a name that will be recognised when you head home.
Photo credit: Gino’s East
Not into deep dish?
So, maybe deep dish isn’t your thing. If that’s the case, there are plenty of good places in the city to get a great slice that’s still uniquely Chicago. My personal favourite? Frank’s Pizzeria & Restaurant on the Far Northwest Side. Their sauce is tangy with a hint of sweet, and they add just the right amount of cheese.
Regardless of where you decide to try your slice, no place does pizza like Chicago. Enjoy the layers of flaky crust, cheese and sauce, with toppings to your liking. In no time at all, I’m sure you’ll have a few recommendations of your own!
Jaclyn Crawford is a freelance writer and blogger based in Chicago, Illinois. She loves playing badminton, hosting Airbnb guests, spending time with her dog, Sundae, and going thrift shopping with her husband.
Opening photo credit: Gino’s East