Brought out in a cast iron pan, sliced at the table and lifted onto your plate with a picture-worthy cheese pull, there are few Chicago foods as dramatic — and iconic — as a deep dish pizza. And for those looking to try the best of the best in the city, there’s no shortage of spots that fit the bill — in fact it can be overwhelming to pick just one to try. From the original version to the totally decadent (stuffed crust or spinach and three-cheese, anyone?) here are the best places to try deep dish pizza in Chicago.
Uno Pizzeria & Grill
First opened in 1943, Pizzeria Uno was Chicago’s first deep dish restaurant. There are now plenty of Unos restaurants across the country, but there are only two places to taste the original deep dish in Chicago — both locations are in the River North neighborhood a block away from each other. Unos serves deep dish in the classic style — thin but sturdy crust, mozzarella, toppings, and tomato sauce on top of it all — but they also offer unique interpretations like a pizza topped with chicken tenders or stuffed with Italian beef — another Chicago specialty.
Lou Malnati worked at Pizzeria Uno before creating his eponymous restaurant in 1971. The Lincolnwood spot soon boomed into a 52-location franchise, with stores all around the Chicagoland area. Lou Malnati’s prides itself on specially sourced Californian tomatoes and Wisconsin mozzarella. For the authentic deep dish experience, order the Chicago Classic which comes with extra cheese, sausage and the restaurant’s signature buttercrust. If you’re in a rush, ask the restaurant to put your pizza in the oven 45 minutes before your arrival to cut down your wait time.
The Boglio brothers brought a unique spin to deep dish pizza in 1974 when they opened the first Giordano’s pizzeria on the South Side. Their claim to fame is the stuffed pizza, based on their mother’s Easter pizza pie. The bottom crust is filled with cheese and toppings before another layer of dough is added on top, creating a literal pizza pie. Sauce and parmesan is added on top of this upper layer to complete the the famed stuffed pizza. Giordano’s pizza has a mild, flaky crust that’s high in gluten, Californian tomatoes, and Wisconsin mozzarella. The joint also has a pre-order option if you want to cut down your wait time at the restaurant.
Gino’s East has been making deep dish since 1966 and the Streeterville shop quickly became a favorite among locals. Gino’s uses a top secret dough recipe that makes an extra golden, extra flaky crust. While there are locations dotted around the city, visit the original Superior Street restaurant to sign your name on the wall. Head to the Lasalle Street location for a craft beer specially brewed by Gino’s Brewing Company to pair perfectly with your pizza. After your meal, catch a show at The Comedy Bar on the building’s third floor.
Connie’s opened in the Bridgeport neighborhood in 1963 and has been serving pizzas ever since. The restaurant sells four types of pizza: thin crust, pan, deep dish and stuffed. The owner of Connie’s feels that the most important part of a pizza is its crust, so the restaurant makes sure that the dough is perfect before assembling. Regardless of which pizza you order, it comes with pureed San Marzano tomatoes, aged Wisconsin mozzarella and the toppings of your choice. You can even order a pie online — Connie’s will ship a pizza anywhere within the U.S. for delivery within 48 hours of ordering.
If you’re in the mood for some deep dish pizza, but not for a long wait, Ricobene’s is the place for you. The shop sells pizza by the slice with over-the-top topping combos like spinach lasagna with ricotta, mozzarella, provolone and spinach, but whole pies are also available (a 45-minute wait applies here). But this no-frills establishment is even more famous for its breaded steak sandwich, which comes slathered in sauce and cheese in both regular and “king” sizes.