When you think about the food scene in Chicago, what’s the first thing that comes to mind? We’re no psychic, but we bet you’re thinking about the iconic deep-dish Chicago-style pizza the city is known for.
Chicago’s food culture is founded on the classic dishes the city has made unique in its own way. From a signature hotdog piled high with condiments and toppings to the delis with specialty sandwiches, the city is a food lover paradise. But among the variety of famous meals, none is more renowned than the deep-dish Chicago-style pizza.
Let’s explore some of the greatest and best spots to enjoy this Chicago classic in The Windy City where it all began.
The Ultimate Deep-Dish Experience in Chicago
While pizza has its origins in Italy, Chicago has made these savory pies a staple of the local cuisine — and all have a unique twist. There are several different kinds of Chicago-style pizza, like the Chicago thin or artisan. But deep-dish remains a favorite for its one-of-a-kind look and chunky tomato sauce.
Next time you’re in the city for a business trip, vacation, or layover, make sure to check out these famous deep-dish pizza places to grab a slice.
Located in the Magnificant Mile of downtown Chicago, Gino’s East has been feeding tourists and locals alike for over half a century. Not only is it close to some of the city’s well-known attractions, but it’s also within walking distance from some of the best hotels in Chicago, including the Hilton, Four Seasons, Langham, and so many more.
With a menu that includes Chicago favorites like Italian sandwiches, subs, and soups, it’s no surprise the restaurant specializes in deep-dish pizza. One look at the mouthwatering selection and you know that your tastebuds are in for a treat. Craving something savory? The Meaty Legend is filled with pepperoni, bacon, and sausage. If you want a full meal from your pizza, try the Burgers and Fries pie that is loaded with ground beef, french fries, chopped onions, tomato slices, dill pickle chips, and shredded lettuce all topped with thousand island dressing.
At Labriola’s on Michigan Ave, a passion for creating pizza runs in the family. As a child, chef-owner Rich Labriola remembers hiding in the back seat of the car while his father drove their family pizzeria so he could work with him for the day.
In the kitchen, he learned that there are no shortcuts when it comes to creating great quality pies and that delicious food can feed your soul. He strived to create his own business based on these values, and the rest is history. By testing hundreds of recipes, finding the finest ingredients, and experimenting with aging his own flour, Rich created his signature recipes that the cafe is known for.
If you visit, don’t miss his deep-dish pizza creations. The restaurant’s focaccia-style pan dough is double proofed and lined with mozzarella to create a caramelized cheese crust that is crispy on the outside and light and fluffy on the inside.
Pizano’s Pizza and Pasta
Another deep-dish joint with family roots is Pizano’s Pizza and Pasta. With four locations around the city that are open for dine-in and delivery, make sure to stop by to try a specialty pie and learn some more about the restaurant’s history.
The creation of Pizano’s started in 1943 when Rudy Malnati Sr. managed one of the first restaurants to offer deep-dish pizza, Pizzeria Uno (which also makes this list). Malnati is credited with creating the deep dish pizza Chicago is known for, successfully transforming food that was usually considered a snack into a full-blown meal. His love for authentic recipes and quality ingredients inspired his son, Rudy Malnati Jr. to open his own restaurant, Pizano’s, in 1991.
The Malnati legacy is the foundation of Pizano’s incredible menu of Italian eats and deep-dish pizza. And while the restaurant is known for its wide array of pies, the famous thin crust pizza has garnered national recognition after Oprah called it her favorite!
No matter what you order at Pizano’s, you know you’ll be eating a meal steeped in Italian tradition, skillfully prepared from the freshest ingredients, and perfected over the decades.
Lou Malnati’s Pizzeria
As you’ve probably figured out by now, deep-dish pizza has a rich history in Chicago. Lou Malnati’s Pizzeria is considered the oldest family name in Chicago pizza — but doesn’t that name sound familiar?
Yes, Lou Malnati (the founder of this particular pizzeria) is Rudy Malnati’s first son and part of the Chicago deep-dish dynasty. Lou grew up around these savory pies and witnessed the popularity of the deep-dish variety rise first-hand. After his first restaurants were met with enormous success, Lou ventured to open other locations in Illinois, and eventually Chicago.
Today, Lou Malnati’s Pizzeria has locations in four states, including an astounding 57 in Illinois alone. While Lou sadly passed away in 1978, his legacy continues with his sons, Marc and Rick, who still run the family business with national acclaim.
If you visit the Michigan Ave location in The Windy City, make sure to try The “Lou”. Only the most delicious deep-dish could be given the name of the founder, and that’s what the combination of spinach, mushrooms, tomatoes, and a blend of cheeses in a caramelized crust delivers.
Proudly claiming to be Chicago’s best deep-dish pizza, Pequod’s on Clyborne Ave most definitely has a mouthwatering menu that lives up to the hype. If the name sounds familiar, you’ve likely heard it featured on several food and restaurant television shows or highlighted in national print media.
While Pequod’s has earned many local and national food honors, it’s most proud of its pizza. You can create your own pan pizza with a selection of toppings as it’s truly a canvas for your creativity and cravings.
If you’re craving a deep-dish pizza while strolling through Chicago’s famous Millennium Park, you should stop at Giordano’s on Randolph St. It comes as no surprise that pizza is the star of the menu at the restaurant that boasts the title of “Chicago’s Best Pizza Since 1974.”
According to Giordano’s website, their chefs don’t serve the kind of pies you can find all over Chi-Town. Six artisans layer each pizza with the most flavorful and fresh ingredients at the restaurants. This includes fluffy and savory mozzarella cheese made exclusively for them by a small farm in Wisconsin, to ripe tomatoes, rich meats, and fresh vegetables. All of the pies are baked slowly to bring out the flavors and texture that make for a perfect bite.
While you can’t go wrong with any of the pizza creations at Giordano’s (like the stuffed double-crust pie), you have to try their famous stuffed deep-dish pizza that’s served up with signature toppings or the option to choose your own favorite ingredients.
Perhaps the most well-known deep dish pizza joint in the U.S. has its roots in Chi-Town. According to the official Uno’ssite, the pizzeria was first opening in 1943 when Ike Sewell developed deep-dish pizza and opened a restaurant to feature it. The buttery crust, high walls, and massive amount of filling soon made the pie popular among locals and hungry visitors.
If you’re thinking about how we just explained how Malnati is credited with the creation of deep-dish, you’re not wrong. The origins of this Chicago staple are still disputed today. But no matter who’s the brilliant idea it was to put a spin on a traditional pizza, it did all begin at Pizzeria Uno (where Malnati and Ike worked).
You can still visit the original Pizzeria Uno on East Ohio St. that’s serving up deep-dish pizza with dough that’s made fresh each morning.
The Best Pizza in Chicago
Wondering which one of these locations is serving up the best pizza in Chicago? Well, you’ll have to find out for yourself. With so many varieties, toppings, and secret recipes for sauces and crusts at each location, only you can judge which restaurant takes the crown.
For an adventure to the top pizza places in Chicago, book a 2-hour, self-guided tour from Lip Smacking Foodie Tours. You will get a taste of three Magnificent Mile pizzeria landmarks while skipping the lines and the wait for your deep-dish creation.
Contact us today to learn more!