Pizza is almost universally loved and comes in as many varieties as there are people who make it. The deep-dish pizza originating from Chicago in 1943 challenged the status quo of pizza making. The basic idea is the same; cheese and sauce baked on top of dough until melted and delicious, but instead of rolling the dough flat, it’s placed in pan with high edges. This allows for even more cheese, sauce, and toppings. A far cry from the foldable, hand-held pizza slices of New York, Chicago deep-dish all but requires silverware to enjoy it. And while many critics deride deep-dish as more of a casserole and not a true pizza, they tend to agree it is delicious. Here are some of the best places in Chicago to grab a deep-dish pizza.
1. Pizzeria Uno
Located in the River North neighborhood, Pizzeria Uno is the birthplace of deep-dish pizza. In 1943, Uno’s invented deep-dish pizza making it the go-to pizza joint for tourists and native Chicagoans alike. Due to its popularity, the lines at Uno Pizzeria are always long, but the staff well is well prepared to deal with the crowds. Also, the pizza here makes for a heavy meal. In particular, customers who order the delicious sausage pizza won’t need to eat until the next day, if not longer.
2. Burt’s Place
Crust is the unsung hero of any great pizza. Burt Katz knows all the cheeses, sauces, and toppings need a worthy vehicle to deliver their flavors into hungry mouths. His pizzeria in Morton Grove, Burt’s Place, has made some of best pizzas with some of the best crust since 1989. Burt’s technique bakes the dough perfectly so that the bottom is firm and crispy, but then immediately softens to a light interior. The edge of the crust, that meets the pan, gets coated in parmesan cheese that caramelizes during baking, providing a delicious taste to an often discarded part of pizza. Burt is also the only chef at Burt’s Place so all pizzas get made by the master himself.
3. My Pi
Uno’s may have invented deep-dish, but the staff at My Pi in Bucktown may have perfected it. In contrast to the many dense deep-dish pizzas in Chicago, My Pi’s offerings are refreshingly lighter. My Pi stresses quality over quantity to deliver their best deep-dish pizzas. All the cheese used comes from Wisconsin, while the famous chunky sauce contains only vine-ripened California tomatoes. The crust is no slouch either, as it gets raised three times before baking, giving it a unique bite. With so much effort placed into every part of their pizza, there’s merit to My Pi’s claim of having better ingredients than Italy.
Disregarding the Second City’s unique take on the beloved pizza pie is a mistake. Whether or not the purists consider it real pizza does not matter. It is a delicious entry into the American food culture, and is deserving of its many fans across the world. The three places listed are the best starting points to get acquainted with Chicago’s deep-dish pizza.
Image via Flickr by punctuated