Pizza in Chicago

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TJ Jackson
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2004/01/08 10:58:31 (permalink)

Pizza in Chicago

As I mentioned in another thread, I will be in Chicago for a training class in a week or so, and will pretty much be downtown (hotel is on West Adams) without a car -- ie any food experiences will generally be after 5pm and It'd be best if I can walk there rather than try and learn the transit system.

So -- one stop I wish to make is for a real chicago style deep dish pizza. I am leaning towards Lou Malnati's, but am looking for recommendations.

(edited for spelling - and I don't mean Tori Spelling)
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    wanderingjew
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    RE: Pizza in Chicago 2004/01/08 11:03:53 (permalink)
    Lou Maltnati's is a good choice, a great alternative is Gino's East.
    #2
    TJ Jackson
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    RE: Pizza in Chicago 2004/01/08 11:14:22 (permalink)
    Is Gino's East closer/same distance/farther away than LM's?

    (I'm taking it as a given that you prefer Ginos East over LM's)
    #3
    saps
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    RE: Pizza in Chicago 2004/01/08 11:15:08 (permalink)
    Personally, I would stick with Lou's at this point. I used to like Gino's East better, but I have had two bad experiences at the Ontario Street location and one bad one at the Wheaton location. It seems like they have forgotten what made them great and the pizzas just aren't what they used to be.

    Don't waste your time at Pizzeria Uno- the most overrated pizza in the city.

    You might want to stop at Miller's Pub on Wabash and Adams for a beer and a greek salad served ice cold on the way out to get pizza, or stop there later int the evening. It's a good local joint, although I probably wouldn't recommend the rest of the food there.

    John
    #4
    Grampy
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    RE: Pizza in Chicago 2004/01/08 11:20:00 (permalink)
    I would also say Pizzeria Due, but do try Rick Bayless's Topolobampo for Mexican (or his more upscale Frontera Grill if you want to pay more).
    #5
    tsores
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    RE: Pizza in Chicago 2004/01/08 11:23:35 (permalink)
    I agree with the above. Lou Malnati is good. Gino's is, also. Pizzaria Uno and its sister, Pizzaria Due, are the same and overrated.
    #6
    TJ Jackson
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    RE: Pizza in Chicago 2004/01/08 11:29:28 (permalink)
    Great input!

    Let me add here that I really don't like chunky-style pizza sauces, and am really looking for a smooth sauce. Does the pizza at LM's use a smooth sauce or a choice of sauces where smooth is available?

    If not, does Gino's East or one of the others offer a smooth sauce?
    #7
    wanderingjew
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    RE: Pizza in Chicago 2004/01/08 11:30:16 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by TJ Jackson

    Is Gino's East closer/same distance/farther away than LM's?

    (I'm taking it as a given that you prefer Ginos East over LM's)


    I went to the Gino's East location @ 633 Wells Street. I went there this past May and it was as good as ever. I haven't been to LM's since 2000, so I guess I'm going with the one I most recently remember, however Lou's was good too.

    As far as the sauce, they all use a chunky sauce, it's part of the Chicago deep dish tradition. If it doesn't have the chunky sauce then it's not a Chicago Deep Dish Pizza!
    #8
    Jim Ross
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    RE: Pizza in Chicago 2004/01/08 11:35:42 (permalink)
    I'd probably go with Lou Malnati's. Unfortunately the area around Sear's Tower is not a good one for pizza. The Lou Malnati's on 400 block of N. Wells is a pretty long hike, but not a bad cab ride. I'd really recommend the medium crust special at Connie's as the best pizza in town, but it's in a bad location for you and it would be hard to get a taxi back.
    #9
    TJ Jackson
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    RE: Pizza in Chicago 2004/01/08 11:36:54 (permalink)
    Thanks WJ, but let me ask this, then: do they put the same chunky sauce on thin crust pies? In Cinti, you only tend to see a chunky style sauce on deep dish pies....so I am thinking the smooth sauce is available as long as they also serve a thin crust style pie?
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    TJ Jackson
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    RE: Pizza in Chicago 2004/01/08 11:39:35 (permalink)
    On the Malnati website, there is talk of chunked sausage and patty sausage, and that they use a sausage that it exclusive to them.

    I'd love to hear some elaboration on this aspect...which of the two is better, etc.

    Something about "buttercrust" as an option....anything you could all tell me about this as well?
    #11
    saps
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    RE: Pizza in Chicago 2004/01/08 11:54:00 (permalink)
    The buttercrust is good; it is what the name says- a buttery flavored crust.

    Regarding the sausage, I'm not much of a sausage-on-pizza guy, but I would go with the pieces of sausage rather than the patty. The patty is a sausage disk that covers the diameter of the pizza. Although it may be homemade, it has a processed look to it and kind of dominates cheese and the sauce. I do like their pepperoni, however.

    Just my opinion.
    #12
    wanderingjew
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    RE: Pizza in Chicago 2004/01/08 13:16:23 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by TJ Jackson

    Thanks WJ, but let me ask this, then: do they put the same chunky sauce on thin crust pies? In Cinti, you only tend to see a chunky style sauce on deep dish pies....so I am thinking the smooth sauce is available as long as they also serve a thin crust style pie?


    Sorry TJ, can't comment on thin crust pies. I never had them in chicago.
    #13
    Cosmos
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    RE: Pizza in Chicago 2004/01/08 17:29:55 (permalink)
    You will find thin crust pies in the neighborhood joints. Not all Chicago pie is deep dish or stuffed. I'm sure its long gone now, but when I was in Chicago from '79 to '86 my neighbohood joint was LoGalbos on Southport, North of Belmont. Their dough was run though a rolling machine that looked like it came off an old washing machine. They'd toss a ball of dough in it, run it through twice, and put a topping on it. The crust was thin and crisp, akin to a New York pizza. They cut it in squares. It wasn't world class but really hit the spot, a 12" spinach and pepperoni was my fav, (I'm sure they'd have to run out the back door to the Convenient Store under the El to get the frozen spinach every time I called).

    I've had medium crust pies in Chicago too, there are thousands of neighborhood joints out there.

    #14
    TJ Jackson
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    RE: Pizza in Chicago 2004/01/08 21:18:03 (permalink)
    I took a look at LM's menu online (http://www.deepdishpizza.com/restmenu.html) and they have a thin crust pie available, so I am hoping they have the smooth sauce for those.....

    Any other suggestions?
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    glennpan
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    RE: Pizza in Chicago 2004/01/09 10:01:22 (permalink)
    TJ,

    If you don't like chunky sauces (I prefer smoother sauces myself), you probably won't care for any of the Deep dish pizzas that much. Malnati's, Gino's, Uno's, Due's, Nino's, all have that style of sauce. The only place with a deep dish with a smoother sauce that I have found is Beggar's which has several locations in the South Suburbs (which it doesn't sound like you will be visiting, they are my personal favorite).

    If the sauce is a big thing, try the stuffed pizzas by Giordano's or Nancy's. I like stuffed pizzas better than their deep dish cousins anyway. For a sicilian style (square cut) pan pizza, Pompeii's is also very good.
    #16
    TJ Jackson
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    RE: Pizza in Chicago 2004/01/09 10:27:57 (permalink)
    This is the STYLE of pizza I am hoping to sample while in Chicago



    I am not sure if this is considered deep dish or stuffed....as I am still learning the lingo....but this is "cheese on the bottom, sauce on top" style pizza.

    Can someone define for me the difference between "stuffed" and "deep dish"? I thought these terms were synonymous, but it appears I am wrong....eager to learn the differences though :-)
    #17
    wanderingjew
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    RE: Pizza in Chicago 2004/01/09 11:06:45 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by TJ Jackson

    This is the STYLE of pizza I am hoping to sample while in Chicago



    I am not sure if this is considered deep dish or stuffed....as I am still learning the lingo....but this is "cheese on the bottom, sauce on top" style pizza.

    Can someone define for me the difference between "stuffed" and "deep dish"? I thought these terms were synonymous, but it appears I am wrong....eager to learn the differences though :-)

    That is a deep dish pie which will have the chunky sauce. Stuffed pizza is usually double crusted.
    #18
    TJ Jackson
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    RE: Pizza in Chicago 2004/01/09 11:09:15 (permalink)
    Thanks WJ

    I just checked for reviews of Pizza joints in Chicago on this site...and was amazed! Only one real review? (the other place appears to be more of a grocery)
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    glennpan
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    RE: Pizza in Chicago 2004/01/09 12:12:48 (permalink)
    TJ,

    Here is a brief rundown of the differences between deep dish (also called pan) and stuffed. The picture that you have there is a stuffed pizza.

    Both styles usually have sauce on top, although Connies (one of the major Chicago chains) has cheese on top of their DD (I am not a fan of this style. The sauces used on this variety of pizza are generally chunky, and the crust is thick, and raised. Examples of this type are Gino's East, Uno's, Due's, Lou Malnati's, etc.

    Stuffed pizza always has a sauce on top, quite often a smoother sauce although chunky is not that uncommon. It is a much thicker pie. Underneath the sauce is a very thin layer of dough (to keep everything together) followed by the toppings, and a few pounds of cheese (which makes up the bulk of the pie). The crust on the bottom and sides is much thinner than of the deep dish variety. The average person will eat maybe 1-2 slices of this for a meal. It is exceptionally filling. Examples of this style are Giordano's, Nancy's, Superrosa.

    Hope this helps. We should get a little Roadfood Chicago pizza outing together one of these days.
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    hawkeyejohn
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    RE: Pizza in Chicago 2004/01/09 12:25:10 (permalink)
    TJ, I would hit Gino's for pizza. Lou Malnati's is good, but not up to Gino's in overall quality. Just my 2 cents worth.
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    glennpan
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    RE: Pizza in Chicago 2004/01/09 12:30:00 (permalink)
    WJ,

    After looking closer at the picture, I am positive that it is stuffed. In fact, unless I am mistaken, it is the picture from the Giordano's ads. The sauce on top is smooth.

    TJ, if that is the type of pie you want, go to Giordano's. I know they have locations downtown. Try their website.

    Glenn
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    TJ Jackson
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    RE: Pizza in Chicago 2004/01/09 13:03:52 (permalink)
    Lou's does a thin crust pizza as well. Isn't the sauce on the thin crust pizza a smooth sauce?
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    wanderingjew
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    RE: Pizza in Chicago 2004/01/09 13:12:17 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by glennpan

    WJ,

    After looking closer at the picture, I am positive that it is stuffed. In fact, unless I am mistaken, it is the picture from the Giordano's ads. The sauce on top is smooth.

    TJ, if that is the type of pie you want, go to Giordano's. I know they have locations downtown. Try their website.

    Glenn


    Glenn,

    This looks exactly like the pie i ordered at Gino's last may and it definetely wasn't stuffed. The stuffed Pizza's I've seen always had a crust on top, without sauce (the sauce was beneath the crust)
    #24
    Cosmos
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    RE: Pizza in Chicago 2004/01/09 13:37:16 (permalink)
    Sorry dudes Chicago stuffed has sauce on the top, that is a stuffed pizza pictured, I'm quite sure of it.
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    TJ Jackson
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    RE: Pizza in Chicago 2004/01/09 13:52:58 (permalink)
    It sounds like stuffed and deep dish are more or less equally beloved inside Chicago. I will probably have to order a smaller sized pie of each type to form my own opinion, but then again it sounds like the pizza joints offer only one or the other....who offers both?
    #26
    hawkeyejohn
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    RE: Pizza in Chicago 2004/01/09 14:38:59 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by glennpan

    WJ,

    After looking closer at the picture, I am positive that it is stuffed. In fact, unless I am mistaken, it is the picture from the Giordano's ads. The sauce on top is smooth.

    TJ, if that is the type of pie you want, go to Giordano's. I know they have locations downtown. Try their website.

    Glenn


    That looks like the picture from the cover of the Giordano's carry-out menu.
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    glennpan
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    RE: Pizza in Chicago 2004/01/09 16:47:31 (permalink)
    WJ,

    I am a Chicagoan, born and raised, and have Never seen a stuffed pizza without sauce on the top of it. HawkeyeJohn was right, if you go to www.giordanos.com you will see the exact pizza picture in question, described as a stuffed pizza. The next time you visit Chicago let me know, and we can go for some of the good stuffed.

    TJ, most places have either stuffed or deep dish, and you are correct that both are equally loved in Chicago. You can always have one of each delivered to your hotel.
    #28
    Cosmos
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    RE: Pizza in Chicago 2004/01/09 17:32:15 (permalink)
    In Central New York they sell lunas, which are like Chicago stuffed but without sauce on it. The sauce if requested, is served on the side, which is not as good an arrangement IMHO.
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    TJ Jackson
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    RE: Pizza in Chicago 2004/01/12 09:26:30 (permalink)
    The deliver both to the hotel room idea sounds kinda good :-), although I'd miss out on the experience of actually being there.....I'll think on that one.

    Anyone ever tried to order a deep dish or stuffed pizza with smooth sauce instead of chunky?
    #30
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