Thursday, December 1, 2011

What is, and is not, a Chicago Style Pizza

I would have written this post last night.  That was the plan, anyway.  WiFi on the flight home from Green Bay, and I was going to have perfect timing and tell you all about everything, ever.  That was the PLAN.

I don't think I've ever mentioned my intense fear of flying.  It's pretty drastic.  I need a special medication to make it through even a short, calm flight.  And I used to be FINE with flying.  Totally perfect... until 3 years or so ago.  I can't even tell you what happened to make me such a air-wimp, but I can't handle it anymore without pharmacological help.

The flight last night was bumpy in the first place... but the landing... the landing... lets just say I wasn't sure this blog post was ever going to be written.  Also, I'm pretty sure I tore off Raed's arm.

Lou Malnati, will you marry me?
He seems to be recovering well.

At any rate!  Let's talk about Chicago.

A lot of people have some pretty strong misconceptions about what Chicago Style pizza is... and that's a shame.  I've been to a few places in California that claimed to have it... and what they really had was a pizza with an obscenely thick crust.  That's Not A Chicago Style Pizza.  In fact, I venture to guess that if you've never been to Chicago, you've never had it. I really think that's a shame.

Chicago style pizza has to be eaten with a knife and fork. You can not pick it up. Don't try.  I can hear you complaining, New York... but sorry to say, this pizza kicks your pizza's butt.  It needs to be eaten with a knife and fork, because it has heft. HEFT.  This picture doesn't do the thickness of this pizza justice.  It's about an inch deep.  Amazing, thin, buttery crust.  Then the cheese, a layer of casing free sausage (like, a whole, flat layer), crazy good chunky sauce, topped with parmesan cheese.  The pie (and that's truly what a Chicago Style pizza is), is so heavy that the waiters need to carry them to the table with a special pliers.  One piece is a meal... two pieces is desperation for this lovely thing that you can never, ever find if you're not in the greater Chicago area.

And for the love of decency, if you are in the Chicago area and want to find yourself a slice of this manna, DO NOT JUST GO TO UNO'S.  I really dislike Uno's.  It's the McDonald's of Chicago Style pizza (I know, I use that analogy a lot, but this big chain lost it's quality).  Ask a local.  You'll get a few different answers.  The three most suggested places in Chicago will likely be Gino's East (Really touristy, always a line, but you'll get a decent pie.  Not my favorite, but bonus: You get to sign the wall!), Giordanos (I remember it being amazing), and Lou Malnati's (This is where the photo was taken. It was the best pie I've had in Chicago).

Extra bonus, most of these places, including Lou Malnati's will ship a pizza to you if you can't get to the Windy City.  That's love.  If you think the shipping costs are a bit too steep, Lou's will even send you the material to make it at home for a much lower price.

To order from Lou Malnati's, you can visit their shipping site here:


  1. Hola Spyra-ites! It's Al. Next time you're in Chicago, try the Exchequer Pub on Wabash. Amazingly good deep dish pizza.

    Glad you enjoyed the great Midwest!