There are a few important things to remember when discussing deep-dish pizza, no matter where your allegiance lies. First, deep-dish is not for everyone. Second, deep-dish shouldn’t be compared to thin crust, particularly New York style slices - it’s a unique fork and knife experience.

And if you’re looking for classic deep dish, Lou Malnati’s is the move. And if you want Lou Mal’s straight from the pan (you do) go to the restaurant in River North. Keep in mind that when the Wells St. location opened in 1986 River North was a neighborhood full of adult video stores, not bottle service. The point is, Lou Mal’s on Wells is from a different era, and looks like it. And we apppreciate the old school feel of a cozy bar and dining room with sports jerseys hanging on the walls.

As far as the pizza goes, Lou’s is classic Chicago-style pizza. Meaning the 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. In other words, after a trip here you might want to make sure your schedule is light the rest of the day.

Food Rundown

Chicken Wings

Throwing a party? Get some chicken wings involved. It’s more so a buffer to keep you from eating entirely too much pizza. Choice of “BuffaLou” or “Bar-B-Lou” are both good.

Lou Malnati’s review image

Malnati Salad

Salad always pairs well with pizza, and the Malnati salad is the way to go. Romaine lettuce, tomatoes, black olives, mushrooms, salami, gorgonzola, romano cheese, and a sweet vinaigrette dressing. The dressing is rather sweet.

Lou Malnati’s review image

Deep-Dish Pizza

It’s deep. It’s filling. It’s delicious. Go with whatever toppings you like, but we generally like to get sausage or pepperoni.

Lou Malnati’s review image

Thin Crust Pizza

The thin crust here is actually great, and if you’re not feeling the deep dish but want pizza, then by all means get involved. If you’re ordering a few pizzas for a group of people, it’s always a good idea to get a mix of both thin crust and deep-dish.

The Lou

A Lou Mal’s favorite with spinach, mushrooms, and sliced roma tomatoes covered in mozzarella, romano, and cheddar cheese. No substitutions allowed with this one, so you either want it as is or you don’t.

Lou Malnati’s review image

Featured in

Chicago’s Delivery & Takeout Options For Every Situation guide image
Chicago’s Delivery & Takeout Options For Every Situation

Find something great to eat for dinner at home, and support Chicago restaurants while you’re at it.

The Chicago Greatest Hits List guide image
The Chicago Greatest Hits List

Our guide to the 26 quintessential restaurants that make Chicago dining what it is.

Where To Have An Affordable Group Dinner guide image
Where To Have An Affordable Group Dinner

Check out these spots when you want to go out with your friends, but don’t want to spend a lot of money.

Where To Get An Affordable Lunch In River North guide image
Where To Get An Affordable Lunch In River North

Where to have lunch when you don’t want to spend a lot of money.

Suggested Reading

Chicago Pizza And Oven Grinder Co. review image
Chicago Pizza And Oven Grinder Co.

A Lincoln Park classic serving pizza pot pies.

Spacca Napoli review image
Spacca Napoli

Arguably the best pizza in town. Spacca Napoli is doing Neapolitan pies the way they're meant to be done.

Forno Rosso review image
Forno Rosso

Forno Rosso is a casual and excellent Neapolitan-style pizza restaurant in the West Loop.

Bob’s Pizza review image
Bob’s Pizza

Bob’s is a fantastic BYOB pizza place in Pilsen.