There are few things that go as hand-in-hand as the city of Chicago and deep dish pizza. From crispy, crunchy crust to gooey cheese and mouth wateringly savory tomato sauce (on top, of course) – just thinking about a deep dish pizza from one of Chicago’s famous pizza joints is enough to make anyone’s mouth water. In fact, Bill Murray, a native of the Chicago suburbs, has been known to say that, “unless you are a pizza, the answer is ‘yes’, I can live without you,” and it’s hard to argue against that kind of thinking. But with all the options to chow down on in Chicago, it can be challenging finding that perfect slice! To help, here is our list of the best deep dish pizza in Chicago you must try while visiting the Windy City.
You can’t start a list of the best deep dish pizzas in Chicago without starting with the original. Pizzeria Uno – or just “Uno’s” to locals – opened its doors back in 1943 on the corner of Ohio St. and Wabash Ave. and they still have a location there today! Thanks to founder Ike Sewell’s recipe, the popularity of Uno’s buttery crust and high-quality tomato sauce helped make Uno’s one of the top pizza destinations in the city for locals and tourists alike, with some happy customers going so far to say a visit to Uno’s is as popular of a Chicago attraction as Navy Pier or Wrigley Field. It’s so loved by those who chow down on the original slice of deep dish that Sewell had to open a second restaurant called Pizzeria Due (the number Two in Italian) right across the street to help fit all the customers they were getting. In fact, their popularity has officially gone world-wide, having opened 100 locations in 20 US states as well as in the District of Columbia, Honduras, India, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia!
29 E Ohio St, Chicago, IL 60611-2707
While Uno’s was the first place to serve deep dish pizza in Chicago, there is some discrepancy about who really can be considered the creator of the original deep dish pizza recipe. In fact, many argue that a man named Rudy Malnati Sr., an employee of Uno’s at the time, was the one who created the original deep dish pizza instead of Sewell. However, while we may never really know who came up with the delicious creation first, what we do know is that Rudy’s son, Lou, took what he learned from his father as well as his own experience working in the deep dish business and opened his own place, Lou Malnati’s, in 1971.
Today, Lou Malnati’s is run by Lou’s sons, Marc and Rick, who have been continuing the family pizza tradition in what is now their 50th anniversary! Since their opening in the northern Chicago suburb of Lincolnwood, Lou Malnati’s has become world renown with their signature buttery, flaky crust that is so popular that countless food blogs, home cooks, and professional chefs have tried to recreate it, to no avail! If that doesn’t get your mouth watering, don’t forget to add their signature “sausage patty” that is any meat-lover’s dream to go along with the fresh slices of Wisconsin mozzarella cheese and handpicked, vine-ripened California tomatoes for what Lou’s calls the perfect “sweet and tangy taste”. Instead of being sprinkled on in small pieces, as more traditional sausage pies do, Lou’s spreads their ‘exclusive sausage blend’ in a single layer on top of the cheese – all but ensuring a burst of flavor in every bite. And if you can’t get enough Lou Malnati’s pizza after your visit to Chicago, they will deliver a frozen pie to anywhere in the country!
439 N Wells St, Chicago, IL 60654-4512
Believe it or not, Pizano’s is run by another Malnati! Opened in 1991 by Rudy Malnati Jr., Rudy Malnati’s son and Lou Malnati’s half-brother, this local establishment helps make the Malnati family truly some of Chicago’s deep dish royalty. Like his half-brother, Rudy Jr. took what he learned from their father and incorporated it into his business. Many of the same processes are still being used today, like having a Malnati-family signature buttery crust, to using only high-grade canned tomatoes (never tomato paste, per their website), slices of mozzarella, and always topping their pizzas with Parmesan cheese and oregano before being cooked in a scorching 600-degree oven! They even had their own deep dish secret weapon in Rudy Jr.’s mother, Donna Marie “Momma” Malnati, who would spend nights making the top-secret pizza dough before her passing in January of 2020. If by some chance you find you’re not in the mood for a classic deep dish, try out their thin crust that is so good, it just so happens to be Oprah’s favorite pizza!
864 N State St, Chicago, IL 60610-8691
Opened in 1966, Gino’s East has the title of being the second oldest deep dish pizza in Chicago, and was founded by entrepreneurs and taxi drivers, Sam Levine and Fred Bartoli. The pair, along with their friend George Loverde, felt that having a strategically placed pizza joint off Chicago’s famous ‘Mag Mile’ would attract mobs of hungry shoppers – and they were right! While the flagship location has moved slightly from the original spot, Gino’s East is still known as one of Chicago’s favorite spots for a bite to eat.
However, while Sam, Fred, and George were spot-on in picking a location, coming up with a recipe that would keep customers coming back was a different story. Thankfully, Alice Mae Redmond, a chef at Uno’s of over 17 years, decided to join the newly established Gino’s East and brought her own twist on Uno’s classic crust. Over the next 23 years, Redmond carefully crafted the pizzas at Gino’s east using a combination of her unique dough recipe – a meticulous process using fresh ingredients, and something that Gino’s calls their ‘secret dough conditioner’ to help create their unique crusts and delectable pies. The recipe is so secret in fact that Alice’s nephew, Glenn Hudley, worked as a kitchen manager after Alice’s retirement to help make sure that recipe was passed on correctly and on a strictly “need to know” basis.
162 E Superior St, Chicago, IL 60611-2916
Originally a hidden gem in the northwest suburbs, the deep dish pizza (also known as ‘pan pizza’) at Pequod’s has become one of the culinary staples for locals and visitors alike in the Chicagoland area. Founded in 1970 in Morton Grove, Illinois, Pequod’s garnered what they call a ‘cult-like’ following for their signature caramelized crust edges – they take their fresh mozzarella cheese and cook it along the edge of a cast-iron pan. The result is a crispy, crunchy, and cheesy crust that can satisfy anyone’s cravings. In fact, the deep dish ‘pan pizza’ was so popular that they never even had a more traditional thin crust pizza for their first few years!
2207 N Clybourn Ave, Chicago, IL 60614-3011
Last, but certainly not least when it comes to the best deep dish pizza in Chicago, is Giordano’s. Since 1974, this pizza powerhouse has been serving Chicagoans and tourists by the millions, thanks to Efren and Joseph Boglio’s family recipe for their mother’s “Italian Easter Pie”. Today, Giordano’s is known as one of Chicago’s “Best Pizzas” by the likes of NBC, the New York Times, the Chicago Tribune and more. One of the main reasons for the success of Giordano’s famous pizza is that it is considered a ‘stuffed deep dish pizza’. Unlike the normal layering of dough, cheese, toppings, and then sauce, Giordano’s starts with a layer of dough, toppings, fresh Wisconsin mozzarella cheese, ANOTHER layer of dough, sauce made from hand-picked tomatoes, and finally a sprinkling of parmesan cheese. This unique style of pizza has become so renowned that the Magnificent Mile location alone has a 4.5 rating and over 9400 reviews on Tripadvisor! Talk about a must-see attraction.
730 N Rush St, Chicago, IL 60611