The Best Deep Dish Pizza In Chicago guide image


The Best Deep Dish Pizza In Chicago

Some people say deep dish isn't pizza. We aren't those people.

Ah, deep dish. Some people claim it’s not even pizza. Those people are wrong, of course (The Chicago Department Of Pizza Style Regulation And Licensing validated it back in the 1940s). There are many versions—the classic Chicago-style, pan, stuffed—each as beautiful and full of cheese as the city that created it. This list includes all of them. Whether you’re a tourist or a Chicagoan who is deep dish-curious, use this guide to find the best.

And if you prefer tavern-style we have a guide for that, too.


Pequod's Pizzeria

Whenever an out-of-towner asks us where they should get deep dish, we say “Pequods”—usually before they finish their question. Pequod’s serves pan-style pies, with sauce underneath the toppings (unlike traditional Chicago-style deep dish, which has sauce on top). What sets Pequod’s apart from the average pan-style is its “caramelized” crust, also known as the burnt edges of crispy cheese surrounding the pie. The crust itself is thick and airy with a great crunch, and the pies only have a little bit of sauce.

Milly’s is a small Uptown pizza place taking its inspiration from Pequod’s. This means Milly’s has the same kind of pan-style deep dish with a caramelized crust that we all know, love, and keeps increasing our census numbers. What makes Milly’s different is that this pie has dollops of fresh mozzarella, making it a bit cheesier. They only make 45 pies a day, so you should place your order a day or two in advance.

As we mentioned, Pequod’s is our favorite deep dish in Chicago. But as the ’90s Bulls can attest, dynasties end, and George’s is legitimate competition. The reason is that this Edgewater spot uses a 48-hour cold-fermented sourdough. It creates a deliciously yeasty crust that’s very similar to focaccia, and has a crispy cornmeal base. There’s a fantastic balance of cheese to sweet tomato sauce, and like a traditional deep dish, the cheese is underneath the sauce.

This counter-service spot in Clearing has been around since the ‘60s, and specializes in stuffed deep dish that we describe as "tidy." It’s not a cheese bomb, but has enough stretch to remind you that you are, in fact, in Chicago. The sauce is fresh and acidic, so it cuts through the richness of the cheese, and the flaky crust has a buttery flavor. Plus, the ingredients go all the way to the end of the crust, so you don’t have a boring breadstick waiting for you at the end. Also worth noting is that this place is right next to Midway, so please come here instead of the Home Run Inn on Concourse B.

Lou Malnati’s is the best version of classic Chicago-style pizza, meaning its sauce is on top with the cheese and toppings underneath. The crust is buttery and flaky, there’s a ton of cheese, and the whole thing is pretty much a gooey and delicious mess. The weight of it when a delivery person puts it in your arms might make you nervous, but just go with it. Treat it like it’s your baby and you’ll be fine.

My Pi Pizza's Chicago-style deep dish will make you risk getting tomato sauce all over your dashboard. The sauce is sweet, zesty, and not too soupy, with juicy chunks of San Marzanos. The chewy crust has a yeasty flavor and a crispy edge. And the cheese-to-sauce-to-toppings ratio is perfect—each bite is loaded without feeling overwhelming. If you can’t wait to eat at home but don’t want your car to look like a murder scene, there’s a makeshift picnic area in the parking lot.

Unlike New York, Chicago doesn’t have a lot of slice shops. And eating an entire deep dish pizza by yourself can make you feel like you’ve inadvertently entered a competitive eating contest. Luckily there’s Art of Pizza, which offers some very good deep dish by the slice. The best is their stuffed pizza, which has an extra layer of dough on top. It’s a counter-service operation, BYOB, and their Lakeview location feels like a partially finished basement from the ’80s. But it’s large and great for groups, or even just a slice or two by yourself.

Chase Sapphire Card Ad

photo credit: Kim Kovacik

The Best Deep Dish Pizza In Chicago guide image