Authentic Chicago deep-dish pizza
April 3, 2018 1:00 AM   Subscribe

My mom and I are meeting up in Chicago in a couple weeks and I'd like to find a non-touristy place to get good deep-dish pizza. I've been to Chicago once and she's never been there. It looks like we'll be near the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center and we'll have all day Saturday and Sunday morning there. Nothing more inside except pizza in ma belleh.
posted by bendy to Travel & Transportation around Chicago, IL (17 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: While I'm a Gino's East guy, there's a Giordano's just up the road that should do you nicely.

(And if you're in the city, Lou Malnati's is also always a solid choice)
posted by Seeba at 1:04 AM on April 3, 2018 [6 favorites]

Best answer: Giordano's isn't really traditional Chicago-style deep dish, it's a stuffed pizza. Thin layer of crust, huge layer of cheese, thin layer of crust, then topped with their bitter, bitter sauce and your selected toppings. Chicago-style is crust->cheese->toppings->sauce. Stick with Lou's or Gino's for deep dish. Any of the locations will make more-or-less the same pie.

Will you have a car for your trip? Are you going into the city or staying in Rosemont the whole time?
posted by hwyengr at 5:12 AM on April 3, 2018

I would agree that Lou Malnati’s is the best traditional deep dish, and although it is a local chain, all of the locations outside of the Loop/West Loop/River North are not particularly touristy.

I would be remiss, though, if I didn’t mention Peqoud’s. It’s not exactly a traditional deep dish (it more closely resembles a round Detroit-style pizza), but I’ll be damned if it’s not the best pizza casserole In Chicago.
posted by daniel striped tiger at 5:30 AM on April 3, 2018 [1 favorite]

If you don't want to travel much, I'd suggest the Gino's East on Devon or Giordano's on Higgins, both close to the convention center.

If you have a car, my personal favorite is the Lou Malnati's on Lincoln Ave. in Lincolnwood, which is almost directly east of Rosemont. Great atmosphere, walls lined with old Chicago sports memorabilia, as local and non-touristy as it gets. If the weather's good, check if the mini-golf course a couple blocks south is open. A fine day!

If you want to fit touristy stuff in, take the Blue Line from Rosemont to the Loop. There's a Gino's East and a Malnati's that could be paired with a visit to the museum campus, or Pizano's near the Art Institute, or Gino's East and Uno's near the Museum of Contemporary Art.

(Note that there are a couple of Malnati's off the Blue Line between the Loop and Rosemont, but they are carryout/delivery only.)

Pequod's is awesome but inconvenient to Rosemont.
posted by chimpsonfilm at 7:07 AM on April 3, 2018

Pequod's is probably the best in the city.

If you can't get there, head out to Taylor Street, and go to Damenzo's Pizza.
posted by dis_integration at 7:29 AM on April 3, 2018 [1 favorite]

By the way, there's a Pequod's in Morton Grove, which is very close to Rosemont if you don't want to head all the way to west Lincoln Park. I haven't been to that one, but I imagine it's just as good
posted by dis_integration at 7:32 AM on April 3, 2018 [1 favorite]

Chicago DDP is weird. For most foods in most places, you want an off-radar gem. But in this rare case, the dinosaurs are truly best.

+1 on Gino's East, but any of the big names will do you right. I know this sounds like a cop-out. It's more that residents would never support any place not up to snuff, so the places that survive/thrive have insanely high standards and consistency. Sort of like Philly cheese steaks.

Lots of people don't like Chicago DDP, but that's a separate question. If you like the style, you'll love Gino's, Lou's, Giordano's.

It's like Beethoven, Bruckner, and Brahms....there are lots of perfectly worthy lesser lights, but you'll never ever go wrong with the big three....
posted by Quisp Lover at 7:35 AM on April 3, 2018 [1 favorite]

Pequod's is non-traditional, though great. If you want solid, classic DDP, that's not where you should go.
posted by Quisp Lover at 7:39 AM on April 3, 2018 [1 favorite]

Go to Lou's. That is all.
posted by hijinx at 8:08 AM on April 3, 2018 [2 favorites]

If you have a car, my personal favorite is the Lou Malnati's on Lincoln Ave. in Lincolnwood,

And as a bonus, that's the original Lou Malnati's.
posted by hwyengr at 8:15 AM on April 3, 2018

I recently went to Pequod's for the first time and I was pretty underwhelmed. A well-done Lou's Chicago Classic with extra sauce is still the pie to beat in my book.
posted by protocoach at 9:04 AM on April 3, 2018

The answers here are all on point, so I am mostly echoing them. I just want to emphasize that "non-touristy" deep dish is not really a thing, but that's also okay. Gino's East, Lou's, and Giordano's are all "touristy" and often crowded, and they are also the real deal and where Chicagoans go for deep dish. People overemphasize the difference between deep dish and stuffed; they will both give you the Chicago experience you want. Pequod's is not real deep dish.
posted by capricorn at 10:06 AM on April 3, 2018

If you can get to Morton Grove, try Burt's. Although it is not really Chicago Style Deep Dish, it is close and it is FANTASTIC. And endosed by Bourdain, if it helps!
posted by indianbadger1 at 3:48 PM on April 3, 2018 [1 favorite]

FYI - deep dish / stuffed takes a long time to bake. For any of these places, if you're even slightly in a rush, try to call in your order in advance.
posted by kickingtheground at 4:00 PM on April 3, 2018

Response by poster: Oh thanks so much for all the great suggestions! I wasn't sure if "deep-dish" was the right word but it sounds like it was.

No car.

Giordano's sounds familiar, that may be where I went on my solo trip... I might have gone to the South Loop location.

Anyway, I'm very much looking forward to the cheesy tomato-y goodness that awaits us!
posted by bendy at 7:49 PM on April 3, 2018

Burt's is also excellent. The style of pizza there is the same as Pequod's and Gulliver's — all created by the legendary Burt Katz (R.I.P.).
posted by daniel striped tiger at 8:36 PM on April 3, 2018

Response by poster: It all went well! We went to the Giordano's location closest to the MCA. I had just bought some silly toys at the gift shop so we had time to play around with them.

The pizza was so cheesy and the crust was so tasty.

We stopped at the kitchen window and talked to the bakers for a few minutes.

We had one slice left over and I put it in a to-go box and gave it to the first homeless person I saw.

Then I made us stop at a convenience store for beer. The store was cramped and my mom stayed outside. She missed me teasing a very large Chicago cop for buying Dum-dums.
posted by bendy at 9:04 PM on May 17, 2018

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