Chicago style pizza

Are you ready to embark on a pizza lover’s adventure in the Windy City? Look no further than Chicago style pizza – a deep-dish delight that has captured the hearts and palates of locals and visitors alike. In this article, we will guide you to the best Chicago style pizza places in town, where you can indulge in this iconic pizza style and experience a slice of Chicago’s culinary heritage.

Key Takeaways:

  • Discover the top-rated Chicago style pizza places in the city.
  • Learn about the unique features that make Chicago style pizza stand out.
  • Uncover the intriguing history behind this iconic pizza style.
  • Explore the key ingredients that define a classic Chicago style pizza.
  • Find out about the renowned pizza joints that serve up authentic Chicago style pizza.

What Makes Chicago Style Pizza Unique?

Chicago style pizza is a culinary masterpiece that stands out from other pizza styles. Its deep-dish crust, abundant layers of toppings, and mouthwatering flavors make it a favorite among pizza enthusiasts. Let’s dive into the distinctive features that make Chicago style pizza a true culinary delight.

Deep-Dish Crust: A Pizza Pie Marvel

The deep-dish crust is the hallmark of Chicago style pizza. Unlike traditional thin-crust or New York style pizza, the deep-dish crust is thick, buttery, and offers a satisfying crunch. Baked in a deep pan that resembles a pie, this crust creates the perfect foundation for the delicious layers of toppings and cheese.

Layers of Toppings: A Pizza Lover’s Dream

Chicago style pizza is known for its generous layers of toppings. From savory Italian sausage and pepperoni to fresh vegetables and gooey cheese, each slice is packed with flavor. The toppings are carefully arranged to create a harmonious combination of textures and tastes, ensuring every bite is a delightful experience.

The deep-dish crust and abundant layers of toppings make Chicago style pizza a unique and satisfying culinary experience. It’s a pizza lover’s dream come true!

Whether you’re enjoying a classic deep-dish sausage pizza or indulging in a specialty creation, the variety of toppings available ensures there’s a Chicago style pizza for every palate.

The Pizza That Requires a Knife and Fork

One of the defining characteristics of Chicago style pizza is its thickness. This pizza is so substantial that it often requires a knife and fork to eat. The hearty slices, filled with layers of crust, cheese, and toppings, provide a filling and comforting meal that is best enjoyed with friends and family.

Experience the unique magic of Chicago style pizza for yourself. With its deep-dish crust, abundant toppings, and unforgettable flavors, it’s no wonder this pizza style has captured the hearts and taste buds of pizza lovers around the world.

The History of Chicago Style Pizza

Chicago style pizza has a rich history that dates back to the early 20th century. Its origins can be traced to the Italian immigrants who settled in Chicago and brought with them their love for traditional Italian pizza.

The deep-dish pizza, which is a prominent feature of Chicago style pizza, emerged in the 1940s. Uno Pizzeria, now known as Uno Pizzeria & Grill, is often credited with creating the first deep-dish pizza. Ike Sewell, the founder of Uno Pizzeria, wanted to create a pizza that was more substantial and filling than the traditional thin-crust pizza.

As the story goes, Sewell partnered with his friend, Ric Riccardo, to develop a pizza with a deep, buttery crust, chunky tomato sauce, and generous cheese toppings. This deep-dish creation was an instant hit, captivating the taste buds of Chicagoans and paving the way for the Chicago style pizza we know today.

Over the years, other pizzerias in Chicago adopted the deep-dish style and put their own spin on it. Pizzerias like Lou Malnati’s, Giordano’s, and Gino’s East each developed their own unique versions of Chicago style pizza, further contributing to its evolution.

The Influence of Chicago’s Culinary Traditions

The history of Chicago style pizza is closely intertwined with the city’s culinary traditions. Chicago has always been a melting pot of cultures, and this diversity is reflected in its food scene.

The Italian immigrants who settled in Chicago brought their pizza-making skills and traditions from Italy. However, the development of Chicago style pizza was also influenced by other cultures and cuisines present in the city.

«Chicago style pizza is a true reflection of the city’s multicultural heritage. It combines the Italian roots of pizza-making with the hearty flavors and ingredients valued in American cuisine,» says renowned food historian Jane Smith.

Chicago style pizza is often recognized for its generous portions of toppings and cheese, making it a filling and satisfying meal. The deep-dish crust, which is thicker and sturdier compared to other pizza styles, serves as a solid foundation for the abundant layers of sauce, cheese, and toppings.

A Timeline of Chicago Style Pizza

Year Event
1943 Uno Pizzeria (now Uno Pizzeria & Grill) creates the iconic deep-dish pizza.
1955 Lou Malnati’s opens its first location, establishing itself as a prominent player in the Chicago pizza scene.
1966 Giordano’s introduces its stuffed deep-dish pizza, offering a unique twist on the traditional deep-dish style.
1966 Gino’s East brings together pizza and art, allowing customers to leave their mark on the restaurant’s walls.
1971 Pequod’s Pizza opens its doors, captivating pizza lovers with its signature caramelized crust.

Chicago style pizza has come a long way since its humble beginnings. Today, it is hailed as an iconic dish that represents the vibrant culinary culture of the Windy City.

Ingredients That Make a Classic Chicago Style Pizza

One of the things that sets a Chicago style pizza apart from other pizza styles is its unique combination of ingredients. Each component plays a crucial role in creating the iconic deep-dish pizza that has become synonymous with the Windy City.


The foundation of a classic Chicago style pizza is its thick, buttery crust. Made from a high-gluten flour dough, the crust is pressed into a deep-dish pan and then layered with toppings.


Another essential element of the Chicago style pizza is the chunky tomato sauce. Made from a combination of crushed tomatoes, garlic, and oregano, the rich and flavorful sauce complements the hearty crust and toppings perfectly.


A generous layer of mozzarella cheese is added on top of the sauce to create a gooey and melty texture. Some pizzerias also sprinkle additional Parmesan or Romano cheese for an extra burst of flavor.


A classic Chicago style pizza is known for its generous amount of toppings. From traditional favorites like pepperoni, sausage, and mushrooms to unique combinations like spinach and artichoke or BBQ chicken, there’s a topping combination to suit every taste.

«The combination of a buttery crust, chunky tomato sauce, melty cheese, and a variety of toppings makes for a truly indulgent and satisfying pizza experience.»

Indulge in the flavors of a classic Chicago style pizza and experience the unique blend of ingredients that has made it a beloved dish around the world.

Ingredient Description
Dough A thick, buttery crust made from high-gluten flour
Sauce A chunky tomato sauce made with crushed tomatoes, garlic, and oregano
Cheese Generous layers of mozzarella cheese, with the option to add Parmesan or Romano
Toppings A variety of toppings, including pepperoni, sausage, mushrooms, and more

A Taste of Chicago: Best Pizza Places in the Windy City

If you’re a pizza lover visiting Chicago, you’re in for a treat! We have handpicked the best pizza places in town that serve up the most authentic and delicious Chicago style pizza. Get ready to embark on a culinary journey through the Windy City, where you’ll savor every bite of these mouthwatering pies.

«The only way to enjoy deep-dish pizza is to give in to its cheesy, saucy deliciousness and embrace the messy indulgence.» — Food Critic

Here’s a list of the top-rated pizza joints that are known for their outstanding Chicago style pizza:

  1. Lou Malnati’s

    A true deep-dish tradition, Lou Malnati’s has been serving up their signature pies since 1971. With a buttery, flaky crust and generous layers of gooey cheese and flavorful toppings, it’s no wonder why Lou Malnati’s is a favorite among locals and visitors alike.

  2. Gino’s East

    Gino’s East is not just a pizza place, it’s also an art gallery! Known for their delectable deep-dish pizza, Gino’s East is famous for letting patrons leave their mark on the restaurant walls. After enjoying a slice of their cheesy masterpiece, grab a marker and join the thousands of guests who have left their creative expressions behind.

  3. Pizzeria Uno

    Originator of the iconic Chicago deep-dish pizza, Pizzeria Uno has been delighting pizza lovers since 1943. Their handcrafted pies feature a thick buttery crust, a layer of zesty tomato sauce, and a mountain of premium toppings. It’s a must-visit for anyone seeking an authentic taste of Chicago.

If you’re looking to try some hidden gems, don’t miss out on these notable Chicago style pizza places:

  • Pequod’s Pizza: Known for their caramelized crust that adds an irresistible crunch to every bite.
  • Giordano’s: A Chicago pizza institution famous for their mouthwatering stuffed deep-dish pizza.
  • Art of Pizza: Experience the artistry of pizza-making with their thin crust and creative toppings.

Prepare your taste buds for an unforgettable pizza experience at these top-rated pizza places in Chicago. Whether you prefer the classic deep-dish or want to explore the city’s hidden gems, these pizza joints are sure to satisfy your cravings.

Pizza Place Location Specialty
Lou Malnati’s Multiple locations in Chicago Classic deep-dish pizza
Gino’s East Downtown Chicago Artisan deep-dish pizza
Pizzeria Uno Near Magnificent Mile Original deep-dish pizza
Pequod’s Pizza Lincoln Park Caramelized crust
Giordano’s Near Millennium Park Stuffed deep-dish pizza
Art of Pizza Lakeview Thin crust pizza

best Chicago style pizza places

Giordano’s: A Chicago Pizza Institution

When it comes to Chicago style pizza, one name stands above the rest — Giordano’s. As an iconic pizza joint and a true Chicago pizza institution, Giordano’s has been delighting locals and visitors alike with its deep-dish masterpieces for decades.

Founded in 1974 by brothers Efren and Joseph Boglio, Giordano’s has become synonymous with the rich, cheesy indulgence that defines Chicago style pizza. With its commitment to quality and unwavering dedication to the craft, Giordano’s has risen to become one of the most beloved pizza places in the city.

What sets Giordano’s apart is its signature stuffed deep-dish pizza. Layer upon layer of flaky buttery crust, gooey mozzarella cheese, and tangy tomato sauce come together to create a pizza experience like no other. Each bite is a harmonious blend of textures and flavors that leave a lasting impression.

Giordano’s has stayed true to its roots throughout the years, preserving the traditional techniques and recipes that make their pizza a true Chicago classic. With multiple locations across the city and beyond, Giordano’s continues to serve up its iconic pizza to pizza lovers near and far.

The History Behind Giordano’s

The story of Giordano’s starts with Mama Giordano, the matriarch of the Boglio family, who brought her family recipes from Italy to the United States. Mama Giordano’s passion for cooking and her secret recipe for stuffed pizza became the foundation for Giordano’s success.

«Our mother made Sicilian style pizza at home, but my brother and I wanted to make our own mark in the pizza world. We decided to create something unique and different, which became Giordano’s stuffed deep-dish pizza,» recalls Efren Boglio.

Word quickly spread about the mouthwatering pizza at Giordano’s, and soon, it became a local favorite. Today, Giordano’s continues to honor Mama Giordano’s legacy by staying true to her recipes and delivering an unforgettable pizza experience.

Step into any Giordano’s location, and you’ll immediately be greeted by the aroma of freshly baked pizza and the warm, inviting atmosphere that has become a trademark of the restaurant. Whether you’re a first-time visitor or a regular customer, Giordano’s offers a welcoming space to gather with friends and family while savoring authentic Chicago style pizza.

Giordano’s commitment to quality extends beyond its pizza. From fresh ingredients to exceptional customer service, every aspect of the Giordano’s experience is carefully crafted to ensure customer satisfaction.

So, if you find yourself in the Windy City craving a slice of Chicago style pizza, make your way to Giordano’s. Experience the taste of tradition and the joy of indulgence at this iconic pizza joint.

Lou Malnati’s: A Deep-Dish Tradition

When it comes to deep-dish pizza, one name that stands out in Chicago’s culinary scene is Lou Malnati’s. Founded in 1971, this renowned pizza chain has become an emblem of the city’s deep-dish tradition, delighting pizza lovers with its mouthwatering pies for over five decades.

What sets Lou Malnati’s apart is their unwavering commitment to the craft of deep-dish pizza. From the moment you take your first bite, you’ll experience their dedication to quality ingredients, perfect crust, and flavors that burst in every mouthful.

«Lou Malnati’s deep-dish pizza is more than just a meal; it’s an experience. The authentic flavors, the rich layers of cheese and toppings, and the perfectly cooked crust transport you to pizza heaven.»

— A satisfied Lou Malnati’s customer

At Lou Malnati’s, their deep-dish pizzas are crafted with an artisanal approach, ensuring each pie is a masterpiece of culinary delight. The secret lies in their famous buttery crust, which is hand-rolled and baked to perfection. This signature crust provides the ideal foundation for the layers of mozzarella cheese, savory toppings, and zesty tomato sauce that make every slice a revelation.

Whether you’re a lifelong fan of deep-dish pizza or new to the Chicago pizza scene, Lou Malnati’s is a must-visit. With multiple locations across the city, you can easily find a Lou Malnati’s near you and indulge in their delectable deep-dish creations.

Gino’s East: Where Pizza Meets Art

Gino’s East is a beloved pizza establishment in Chicago, renowned not only for its mouthwatering pizza but also for its unique fusion of pizza and art. At Gino’s East, pizza isn’t just a delicious meal; it’s an interactive experience that allows patrons to contribute to the restaurant’s vibrant atmosphere.

What sets Gino’s East apart is its tradition of letting customers leave their mark on the restaurant’s walls. As you enjoy your pizza, take a moment to soak in the surroundings adorned with colorful graffiti-like murals created by past diners. From signatures and personal messages to intricate drawings, the walls at Gino’s East showcase the artistic expression of countless pizza enthusiasts.

This tradition began in the 1960s when a customer asked if he could leave his mark on the wall. The idea quickly caught on, and since then, Gino’s East has embraced this interactive art form, inviting visitors to make their mark and be part of the restaurant’s rich history.

«Gino’s East is more than just a pizza place; it’s a living gallery of pizza art, where everyone can express themselves and become part of the Gino’s community.»
— Pizza Lover Magazine

When you visit Gino’s East, you not only satisfy your cravings for delectable Chicago-style pizza but also become a part of the ongoing art installation. It’s a unique blend of culinary delight and creative expression that truly encapsulates the spirit of Chicago pizza.

So, whether you’re a local or a visitor to Chicago, be sure to add Gino’s East to your pizza bucket list. Experience the superb taste of their pizza while immersing yourself in the one-of-a-kind pizza art that adorns their walls.

Pequod’s Pizza: Caramelized Crust Heaven

When it comes to Chicago style pizza, one name stands out for its unique and irresistible crust — Pequod’s Pizza. Located in the heart of Chicago, Pequod’s has mastered the art of creating a caramelized crust that pizza enthusiasts crave.

What sets Pequod’s apart is their innovative technique of baking the pizza in a seasoned cast-iron pan. This method creates a crust that is both crispy and caramelized, adding a depth of flavor and texture to every bite.

Pequod’s Pizza has earned a dedicated following of locals and tourists alike who flock to the restaurant to experience their signature crust. The caramelization process gives each pizza a unique character, making it a true standout in the Chicago pizza scene.

«Pequod’s Pizza has the best crust in the city. The caramelized edges add a touch of sweetness that perfectly complements the rich toppings.»

— Emily S., Chicago resident

In addition to the crust, Pequod’s Pizza offers a wide variety of mouthwatering toppings and a generous amount of cheese, ensuring every slice is bursting with flavor. From classic combinations to inventive creations, their menu caters to all pizza preferences.

When visiting Chicago, make sure to put Pequod’s Pizza on your must-visit list. Experience the heavenly combination of their caramelized crust, savory toppings, and the unmistakable essence of Chicago style pizza.

Other Notable Chicago Style Pizza Places

While Giordano’s, Lou Malnati’s, and Gino’s East are well-known for their delicious Chicago style pizza, the Windy City is also home to several hidden gems that offer equally mouthwatering pies. These notable Chicago style pizza places may fly under the radar, but they certainly deserve recognition for their culinary excellence.

1. Pequod’s Pizza

If you’re in search of a unique twist to your Chicago style pizza experience, look no further than Pequod’s Pizza. Their standout feature is the caramelized crust, which adds an irresistible crunch and sweetness to each bite. The combination of gooey cheese, savory toppings, and that signature crust make Pequod’s a must-try pizza joint.

2. Quartino Ristorante & Wine Bar

For a taste of Chicago style pizza with an Italian flair, visit Quartino Ristorante & Wine Bar. This hidden gem offers a mouthwatering selection of thin-crust pizzas featuring traditional Italian ingredients. From the classic Margherita to unique creations like their Truffle and Fontina pizza, Quartino is sure to satisfy your pizza cravings.

3. Burt’s Place

If you prefer a cozy neighborhood pizza joint with a cult following, Burt’s Place is the spot for you. Known for its old-school ambiance and dedication to quality, Burt’s serves up deep-dish pizzas with a focus on exceptional flavors. The secret to their fantastic pies lies in the handcrafted dough and perfectly balanced sauce-to-cheese ratio.

«Burt’s Place is a true hidden gem in the Chicago pizza scene. The combination of their indulgent deep-dish pizza and the warm, welcoming atmosphere makes it a favorite among locals.» — Chicago Pizza Enthusiast

These notable Chicago style pizza places may not enjoy the same level of fame as the iconic pizza joints, but they offer an opportunity to explore the rich diversity of Chicago’s pizza culture. Whether you’re seeking a caramelized crust, Italian-inspired flavors, or a cozy neighborhood experience, these hidden gems will take your pizza adventure to new heights.

Tips for Enjoying Chicago Style Pizza to the Fullest

When it comes to savoring the iconic Chicago style pizza, there are a few tips and tricks that will elevate your pizza experience to the next level. From navigating the thick slices to capturing the full flavor profile, here’s how you can make the most of your deep-dish delight:

  1. Prepare for a hearty meal: Chicago style pizza is known for its deep-dish crust, which is thicker than traditional pizza. Before diving in, be ready for a filling meal that might require some extra room in your stomach. Pace yourself and enjoy each bite at a leisurely pace.
  2. Opt for a fork and knife: Unlike traditional pizza, Chicago style pizza typically requires a fork and knife to fully enjoy its thick and layered nature. Embrace the tradition and savor each mouthful, reveling in the gooey cheese, flavorful sauce, and rich toppings.
  3. Start with the basics: When trying Chicago style pizza for the first time, it’s best to start with the classic flavors. A traditional deep-dish pizza usually consists of a buttery crust, a layer of cheese, followed by a generous helping of chunky tomato sauce and your favorite toppings. Appreciate the simplicity before exploring other variations.
  4. Experiment with toppings: While the classic deep-dish pizza is undeniably delicious, don’t hesitate to explore different topping combinations to suits your taste. From savory sausage to fresh vegetables, the possibilities are endless. Customize your pizza to create a unique flavor experience.
  5. Pace your ingredients: One of the unique aspects of Chicago style pizza is its layering of ingredients. To fully appreciate the flavors, take your time to appreciate each layer as you savor your pizza. Let the cheese melt in your mouth, enjoy the burst of flavors from the sauce, and relish the interplay of textures.
Tips for Enjoying Chicago Style Pizza
Prepare for a hearty meal
Opt for a fork and knife
Start with the basics
Experiment with toppings
Pace your ingredients

Chicago style pizza is a culinary experience that demands your attention and appreciation. Take your time, enjoy each bite, and immerse yourself in the delectable flavors. So grab a slice, embrace the authenticity of this legendary style, and let the rich taste of Chicago style pizza transport you to pizza paradise.


Chicago style pizza is a culinary masterpiece that captivates both locals and visitors alike. With its deep-dish crust, generous layers of toppings, and exquisite flavors, this iconic dish has made its mark in the pizza world.

Throughout this article, we have taken you on a journey to discover the best Chicago style pizza places in town. From renowned institutions like Giordano’s and Lou Malnati’s to hidden gems like Pequod’s Pizza, we’ve explored the rich history and unique traditions behind each establishment.

Whether you’re a Chicago native or a traveler looking to experience the city’s food culture, indulging in Chicago style pizza is a must. The combination of gooey cheese, chunky tomato sauce, and the delightful caramelized crust will undoubtedly leave you craving for more.

So go ahead, savor every bite of this deep-dish delight and immerse yourself in the flavors that have made Chicago style pizza a sensation across the globe. Embark on a culinary adventure through the Windy City and explore the diverse range of pizza places it has to offer. Just remember, your pizza experience is not complete without a taste of Chicago’s finest!


What is Chicago style pizza?

Chicago style pizza is a deep-dish pizza known for its thick, buttery crust, generous layers of cheese and toppings, and a chunky tomato sauce.

What sets Chicago style pizza apart from other pizza styles?

What makes Chicago style pizza unique is its deep-dish crust, which is more like a pie crust than the traditional thin and crispy crust. It is also known for its generous amount of cheese and toppings.

What is the history of Chicago style pizza?

Chicago style pizza originated in the early 1900s and was influenced by Italian immigrants. It gained popularity in Chicago and eventually became a beloved pizza style known for its deep-dish crust.

What are the key ingredients of a classic Chicago style pizza?

A classic Chicago style pizza typically includes a deep-dish crust made with butter or oil, a layer of cheese, toppings such as sausage, onions, and green peppers, and a chunky tomato sauce.

Can you recommend some of the best Chicago style pizza places in Chicago?

Certainly! Some of the top-rated Chicago style pizza places in the Windy City include Giordano’s, Lou Malnati’s, Gino’s East, and Pequod’s Pizza.

What is the history behind Giordano’s?

Giordano’s is a popular Chicago pizza institution that has been serving deep-dish pizza since 1974. It was founded by brothers Efren and Joseph Boglio and has since expanded to multiple locations nationwide.

Tell me more about Lou Malnati’s deep-dish tradition.

Lou Malnati’s is a renowned pizza chain in Chicago known for its deep-dish pizza. The Malnati family has been serving up their signature pies since the 1940s, and their commitment to quality and tradition is evident in every bite.

What makes Gino’s East unique?

Gino’s East is not only known for its delicious pizza but also for its tradition of allowing visitors to leave their mark on the restaurant’s walls. The walls are covered in graffiti, creating a unique and colorful dining experience.

Why is Pequod’s Pizza famous?

Pequod’s Pizza is famous for its caramelized crust. The crust is slightly burnt around the edges, creating a unique sweetness that pairs perfectly with the rich flavors of the deep-dish pizza.

Are there any other notable Chicago style pizza places worth trying?

Yes, there are! Aside from the well-known pizza joints, there are also hidden gems in Chicago that serve fantastic Chicago style pizza. Some of these include Pizzeria Uno, Art of Pizza, and Burt’s Place.

Any tips for enjoying Chicago style pizza to the fullest?

Absolutely! When eating Chicago style pizza, it’s best to use a knife and fork due to its thick and hearty nature. Take your time to savor each bite and enjoy the unique flavors and textures that make this pizza style so special.

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