Pizzeria Uno in Chicago

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danimal15
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2005/06/16 14:11:04 (permalink)

Pizzeria Uno in Chicago

Has anyone eaten there recently? I haven't in two years, as my last experience was quite disappointing. I'd be interested in hearing from anyone who's been there lately, especially from people familiar with the restaurant in its heyday 20 or more years ago.
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    Forsyth
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    RE: Pizzeria Uno in Chicago 2005/06/17 10:55:25 (permalink)
    Uno's and Due's are tourist traps that I avoid like the plague.

    As a native Chicagoan doing a partial life-sentence on Long Island, I have a personal rule: I don't eat pizza outside of the Chicago Metro area.

    When I get back to visit, I prefer:

    1. Aurelio's (multiple locations): Thin crust, outstanding sauce and
    sausage - order well-done.

    2. Sanfrantello's (Glenwood): ditto.

    3. Papa Joe's (Originally on 63rd Street, now multiple locations): good
    quality food, simple service.

    4. Palermo's: Sauce is a little too vinegary for me, but my daughter


    3. Eduardo's: Stuffed pesto, well-done.
    #2
    tsores
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    RE: Pizzeria Uno in Chicago 2005/06/17 12:13:51 (permalink)
    They lost me as a customer a long time ago. The primary reason is that the pizza is not very tasty. It is bread, cheese and a sauce that is so bland that it tastes as though they just open a can of cooked tomatoes and pour it on. Clearly, I am in the minority considering the lines they have and the fact that the concept has been franchised around the country.

    My family prefers Lou Malnati's these days.
    #3
    tsores
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    RE: Pizzeria Uno in Chicago 2005/06/17 12:26:16 (permalink)
    Another roadfood thread discusses an Epicurious ranking of the top ten pizzas in the US. Uno made the list.

    http://www.epicurious.com/restaurants/best_eats/pizza
    #4
    StL Dan
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    RE: Pizzeria Uno in Chicago 2005/07/08 02:04:01 (permalink)
    One of my favorite pizza places is Uno's on Olive in Chesterfield, StL County.

    Their pizza and salads are very good and their desserts are fantastic.

    Here in KC, a new location was built about 2 years ago on 135th Street in Johnson County. The pizza is good, but their ribs are horrible. Flavor is bad and the meat is tougher than a Rawlings mitt fresh off the store shelf.

    Why Uno's thinks they can sell ribs in a BBQ Heaven like KC is beyond me.
    #5
    FlippyTheRed
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    RE: Pizzeria Uno in Chicago 2005/07/09 23:57:41 (permalink)
    The last few times I've been in Uno's here in Northern Virginia the service has been substandard, the pizza has been undercooked, and the enitire meal has been a waste of time.

    Understand, this is a chain restaurant, but it used to be decent. Not any more.

    Flippy
    #6
    danimal15
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    RE: Pizzeria Uno in Chicago 2005/07/10 23:01:12 (permalink)
    I'm sorry, but I obviously didn't make myself clear. I wasn't asking about the chain of Uno's restaurants around the country, which have unfortunately sullied the name of the original here in Chicago. I was only referring to the original Pizzeria Uno in Chicago and its counterpart, a block away, Pizzeria Due.

    Now any thoughts?
    #7
    sizz
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    RE: Pizzeria Uno in Chicago 2005/07/11 00:27:13 (permalink)
    Linda and I were there at Pizzeria Uno in Chicago just last year......... We made the trip specifically to sample a true Chicago style pizza and also the famous Chicago Superdawg hot-dog.
    As you can see by the photo of Linda with hers and my pizza on our table that there is a big difference from the New Your style pizza. The only similarity being they share the same name "PIZZA." I do love them both............ danimal15 I assure you Pizzeria Uno in Chicago is alive and well. I cant say the same for the chain version, as a matter of fact our waitress told us that Chicago's Uno had nothing to do with the chain.
    #8
    CraigieFresh
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    RE: Pizzeria Uno in Chicago 2005/07/19 19:22:21 (permalink)
    BJ's makes excellent deep dish. I went there with my Betty and got a medium all for myself. The waitress told me it would be too much food but I just laughed. I proceeded to eat three appetizers, the entire pizza, a slice of my girl's personal veggie pie and then three-quarters of a Pazookie (melting chocolate chip cookie in a deep dish smothered in ice cream and fudge).

    That day I won a small battle over the doubting waitresses of our fine nation.
    #9
    jeepguy
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    RE: Pizzeria Uno in Chicago 2005/07/19 20:05:02 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by danimal15

    Has anyone eaten there recently? I haven't in two years, as my last experience was quite disappointing. I'd be interested in hearing from anyone who's been there lately, especially from people familiar with the restaurant in its heyday 20 or more years ago.
    20 years ago? I ate at Uno's 40 years ago when i was seven.
    #10
    Mosca
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    RE: Pizzeria Uno in Chicago 2005/07/19 21:41:07 (permalink)
    I ate there in 1989, it was pretty decent as I remember it, but I haven't eaten there since. My sister & her hub live in Chi and we visited a couple years ago; they took us many places but not there, they indicated that it was not good.


    Tom
    #11
    Sundancer7
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    RE: Pizzeria Uno in Chicago 2005/07/20 08:36:01 (permalink)
    We have a Uno's in Maryville which is very close to Knoxville. I think they have expanded their menu beyound their capability. It is a large menu and they try to cover all the bases.

    Their place is pretty, neat and clean but the quality of the food when it gets beyond what they use to do good gets very spotty.

    Paul E. Smith
    Knoxville, TN
    #12
    carlton pierre
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    RE: Pizzeria Uno in Chicago 2005/07/20 17:33:28 (permalink)
    I have been to both Uno's and Due in Chicago and I loved both of them. I'd never had a pizza from Chicago so I have no idea if it's as good, or as overrated, as some claim.

    My understanding is the Uno's chain is noting like the original.
    #13
    Farfel280
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    RE: Pizzeria Uno in Chicago 2005/07/20 17:43:34 (permalink)
    I ate at the Chicago Uno's about 6 months ago. Pretty disappointed. The Uno's here in Manassas, Northern VA makes a better pizza, which should tell you something (as Northern VA is a pizza wasteland.)
    #14
    bxfinest
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    RE: Pizzeria Uno in Chicago 2005/08/02 17:22:26 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by Forsyth

    Uno's and Due's are tourist traps that I avoid like the plague.

    As a native Chicagoan doing a partial life-sentence on Long Island, I have a personal rule: I don't eat pizza outside of the Chicago Metro area.

    When I get back to visit, I prefer:

    1. Aurelio's (multiple locations): Thin crust, outstanding sauce and
    sausage - order well-done.

    2. Sanfrantello's (Glenwood): ditto.

    3. Papa Joe's (Originally on 63rd Street, now multiple locations): good
    quality food, simple service.

    4. Palermo's: Sauce is a little too vinegary for me, but my daughter


    3. Eduardo's: Stuffed pesto, well-done.


    Cut it out!!! You know life on Long Island is grand or you're just being a plain hater. Never the less you're on LI, NY and you don't eat pizza outside the Chicago area? Damn!!! All I can say is you're truly missing out on a real pizza experience. You should'nt limit yourself. You only live once...
    #15
    slackademic
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    RE: Pizzeria Uno in Chicago 2005/08/11 15:26:25 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by danimal15

    Has anyone eaten there recently? I haven't in two years, as my last experience was quite disappointing. I'd be interested in hearing from anyone who's been there lately, especially from people familiar with the restaurant in its heyday 20 or more years ago.


    I ate at both Uno and Due about 5 years ago and both were good. However, the Uno chain stinks. I have tried it in Austin, Orlando, and San Diego now. All three places served me a pizza that didn't resemble a deep dish and looked like a bad pan pizza.

    The best pizza in Chicago is Gino's East and Lou Malnatti's with Giordano's a distant second (taste-wise and service wise.) Stay away from Uno's when you are in town. You can have their pizza in your neck of the woods.
    #16
    TJ Jackson
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    RE: Pizzeria Uno in Chicago 2005/08/24 16:14:06 (permalink)
    Of some possible interest - the local Uno's locations have severed their ties to the national franchisee and have named their restaurants simply "Za".

    I walked by today at the downtown location on Walnut between 6th and 7th, and the Uno's sign is covered with a large sack and the new menu - posted as always on the window outside the door - resembles the old one strongly without having the actual Uno's logo on it.

    The lunch specials are even the same....pizza and a salad or soup for 6.99.
    #17
    slackademic
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    RE: Pizzeria Uno in Chicago 2005/08/24 16:51:22 (permalink)
    That's interesting. I wonder is that is just a Cincinnati thing...
    #18
    Pizzafiend
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    RE: Pizzeria Uno in Chicago 2005/09/13 00:39:39 (permalink)
    Uno's est.1944 was one of the best deep dish in town but when they francised they became a shell of what it once were
    The ORIGINAL Gino's on Rush in Chicago est.1954 is one of the last family owned Pizza joints in Downtown Chicago Lou Malnati's established in the 70's is one of the last family owned in the chicago land area as well they both still use daily fresh ingrediants uno's is all manufactured now directly from there own manufacture but the business idea the corporation that bought out Uno's had to francise nationwide was a great idea and to manufacture and distribute themselves nationwide was Genious.Unfortinately the quality suffered but if you dont live in Chicago at least you can get a pizza that is somewhat Chicago style elsewhere.
    #19
    omearacs
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    RE: Pizzeria Uno in Chicago 2005/09/15 11:47:20 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by danimal15

    Has anyone eaten there recently? I haven't in two years, as my last experience was quite disappointing. I'd be interested in hearing from anyone who's been there lately, especially from people familiar with the restaurant in its heyday 20 or more years ago.


    I was born in Chicago in 1953, and my family ate at Pizzaria Uno (and Due) regularly when I ws growing up. I returned to Uno about 1-1/2 years ago, and I can attest that the pizza is not nearly as good as it once was. It is OK as deep dish pizzas go, but the original had no equal.

    What has changed?

    1. The crust is definately different and the method for placing the crust in the pan is different also. The original crust was richer, less bready,and the crusts were crisp with a fried bread crispiness. The dough was pushed into the pans by hand, creating an irregular base with crusts that had a thin edge at the top where they were pressed against the pans.

    2. The original was sausage, cheese and tomatoes only. No mushrooms, onions or other items were included. The sausage was real italian sausage, uncased, and was pressed into very thin and large rounds.

    3. The service was right out of the oven and fast, so the pizzas were still very hot when they came to the table. In those days, Uno's was very crowded, and the waitresses used to hold the pizzas in front of them (they had special handles with clips) and push against the crowd of people yelling "Hot Stuff!! Comin' Thru!!". It was amazing how quickly a hole opened for them, even in the tightest crowd.

    4. The old ovens are gone. (I bet they were gas guzzlers!)

    I was not surprised. It almost impossible to have a restaurant of such longevity without changes. The original cooks (two women in this case) are long gone: owners change, purveyors change, ingredients change, recipes change, tastes change; and you wind up with a different product. Maybe better -- maybe not. In any case, memories always seem better than reality.
    #20
    danimal15
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    RE: Pizzeria Uno in Chicago 2005/12/28 13:58:21 (permalink)
    Thanks, everyone, for your replies. I'm heading back to Pizzeria Uno in Chicago tonight, and I'll be back with my impressions soon.

    Dan
    #21
    Theedge
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    RE: Pizzeria Uno in Chicago 2005/12/28 14:51:04 (permalink)
    I had it in Kansas City this summer. It was edible and that was about it.
    #22
    TJ Jackson
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    RE: Pizzeria Uno in Chicago 2005/12/28 14:57:54 (permalink)
    The Uno in Chicago and the Uno elsewhere are two different danimals, err animals

    Don't measure the original by the franchise locations
    #23
    Ashphalt
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    RE: Pizzeria Uno in Chicago 2005/12/28 15:54:07 (permalink)
    Yes, if it helps to make it clear, Uno and Due in Chicago are based in Chicago. The Uno chain found elsewhere in the country is based in Boston (actually West Roxbury). Bought the license from the original Chicago restaurant in the late 70s, I believe. Pizza is lousy, but our local has a decent burger.
    #24
    danimal15
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    RE: Pizzeria Uno in Chicago 2005/12/29 12:14:39 (permalink)
    Well, we tried to go to Uno and Due (down the street) last night, but the long lines discouraged us. So we ended up at Lou Malnati's on Wells instead. Avoid this location of Lou's if you can. I've been there three times in recent months and haven't been impressed at all with the pizza quality. It's as if some magician in the kitchen waved a wand over the pizza to suck out all the taste. The bottom crust is like bread, and the cheese is flavorless. The side crust lacks flavor, as well. You can definitely do better at the original Lou Malnati's in Lincolnwood.

    I'll try to circle back to the original Uno on Ohio Street after the holidays, when the tourists have gone back home.
    #25
    bjanuary
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    RE: Pizzeria Uno in Chicago 2006/03/11 10:47:42 (permalink)
    Uno's or Malnati's (same recipe as Uno's) may taste good to a tourist, but that's about it.

    I won't set foot in either of them-awful stuff!
    #26
    BTB
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    RE: Pizzeria Uno in Chicago 2006/04/08 11:23:54 (permalink)
    Because of the not-so-good reputation that the nationally franchised Pizzeria Uno's has given to Chicago deep dish pizza, I feel I need to attempt to clear the record here regarding Pizzeria Uno on the near north side of the Chicago River North area with the facts as I have been told.

    Ike Sewell (now deceased) started his very famous deep dish pizza at Pizzeria Uno in a garden level (i.e., basement) restaurant in 1943 across the street from Medina Temple in Chicago. It was an immediate hit and it's success and big crowds cause them in the 50's to open their "sister" restaurant, Pizzeria Due, a block away and also directly across the street from Medina Temple. Their expansion was caused by the lack of room in the original restaurant, but their sister restaurant, Due's, was a little larger than the original, but also on a garden level (i.e., basement).

    As a young teenager and later as a college student, I frequented the Chicago Rush Street area where I first got hooked on Gino's deep dish pizza and later learned about and came to love the pizza at Pizzeria Due's, and occasionally at the original Uno's. I still liked my neighborhood thin crust pizzas, which were and still are the "predominant form of pizza in Chicago," but loved the occasional variety that was deep dish pizza.

    At Pizzeria Due, I got to make friends with many of the staff and waitresses there and still talk with some who remain there after 30-some years whenever I would occasionally visit there. Since I tried and was extremely disappointed in the deep dish pizza at several Pizzeria Uno's franchises across the country, I asked them what is the story with this Pizzeria Uno franchise (now Uno's Chicago Bar and Grill) who make a not-so-good imitation of a deep dish pizza nowhere like the original. One elderly blond waitress there that I knew when she was very young and curvaceous (now with curves in other locations), and a close friend of Ike Sewell, told me that Sewell formed a unique "business arrangement" with a group of investors out of Boston for them to use the original Pizzeria Uno name, logo and reputation to sell, introduce and promote a similar deep dish pizza franchise across the country. This when deep dish pizza became a new fad in places that hadn't seen it before. Sewell did not want to sell his deep dish pizza recipe, though, and surprisingly the Boston group really didn't want it anyway, thinking they could save money in not buying the recipe and make something nearly as good anyway. So it was financially advantageous for Sewell and his investors.

    Well, as the story goes, their attempt to make a deep dish pizza anything like close to the original failed miserably. The ONLY similarity between their deep dish pizza and that at the original Pizzeria Uno's is . . . . . that it is round ! ! Other than that, the taste and flavorings and crust and sausage and other ingredients are very, very different. The franchised deep dish pizza IMHO is not very good, to say the least, and nothing like the great, delicious original pizza at the good old "Uno's and Due's." I have to admit in recent visits back to Pizzeria Due's that they haven't been as consistently good as they used to be, but then again what is. BUT they are definitely superior to and taste so much different from the outlying suburban and national Uno's franchises.

    The original Uno's and Due's served and basically still serve only pizzas, whereas the franchised restaurants, now named Uno's Chicago Bar and Grill, serve steaks, ribs, chicken, and a lot of other food items besides their deep dish pizza. They did this IMHO because they could not survive with just selling or emphasizing their brand of pizza. I seem to note, too, that more of their restaurants are closing up than new ones opening up, but I am not certain about that.
    #27
    bjanuary
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    RE: Pizzeria Uno in Chicago 2006/04/16 11:27:48 (permalink)
    Even the original Uno's has gone way, way downhill. Greasy stuff, with watery veggies. The Sun-Times recently did an article about their decline.
    #28
    phatphil
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    RE: Pizzeria Uno in Chicago 2006/04/16 13:57:03 (permalink)
    ike is going to haunt them if they dont get their franchise ways out of downtown chi town
    #29
    jkml
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    RE: Pizzeria Uno in Chicago 2006/04/18 20:34:54 (permalink)
    Uno's is not so hot franchise pizza out here in Eastern PA, Langhorne, but we haven't found anything for transplanted Chicagoans. Lou Malnati's was ok but bland, Gino's decent, and Giordano's ok. We ordered deep dish frozen to be delivered last year to friends who had moved to SD, and they loved it. We may have to do that ourselves once in a while.
    #30
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