Uno Pizzeria and Grill is now a nationwide franchise. Here is where it all began, in 1943, when former football star Ike Sewell and restaurateur Ric Riccardo opened Pizzeria Uno. They originally had planned to open a Mexican eatery, but after the place was decorated, they sampled a meal and Riccardo became ill. It is said that he fled to Italy, then finally returned, at which point the partners stripped away Hispanic décor and made their place a pizzeria. They decided that normal pizza, as then served in a handful of Italian restaurants around town, wasn't hefty enough for Chicago appetites. So they came up the recipe for deep dish.
Cooked in a high-walled round pan, deep dish pizza verges on being a casserole, its crust thick and substantial with a profound crunch, spread out across the pan in reefs and shoals of biscuity breadstuff. It is loaded with mozzarella cheese and chunked tomatoes. Big sheets of fennel-spiked sausage are a common option. As in any pizza parlor, many ingredients are available, including anchovies and broccoli, extra garlic and extra cheese.
Warning: Even on a slow night, you will wait a minimum of forty-five minutes from the time you walk in the door until the pizza arrives at your table. These big circular meals are that thick, and unlike traditional flatbread pizzas, need to be slow-cooked like the savory pies they are.
"This is a single individual pizza. You don't see the sausage, which is spread in abundance under the thick tomato topping. In our opinion, it's the rich, crumbly crust that puts this one in a league of its own."
"Until you've eaten at the first Uno, you cannot know the true glory of Chicago deep-dish pizza. Uno franchises around the country are mere shadows of the original."
"In the history of pizza in America, this corner bar is a landmark: home of thick-crust pies ... and the beginning of Chicago's rich pizza culture."