photo credit: Holly Liss
Masa of Echo Park Bakery & Cafe
When it comes to unnecessary food rivalries, none has wasted more of our collective time than the NYC pizza vs. Chicago deep dish pizza debate. So let’s save you the time - it doesn’t f*cking matter. Why? Because both can be done incredibly well and both can be done horribly. Trust us, we’ve had plenty of each in both categories. So whether you prefer your pizza to be massive thin triangles from heaven or three-inch concrete blocks of gold, just know this - the Chicago-style deep dish at Masa of Echo Park is delicious.
And that's hardly the only reason you're there. Located right on Sunset in the heart of Echo Park, Masa is one of those rare, family-owned spots that absolutely everyone finds a reason to go to. Just look around when you get there - you’ve got a family with little kids enjoying a rare night out of the house, a casual first date happening in the corner, a wine-drenched 45th birthday party by the bar, and a bunch of friends who all forgot to make reservations, but thankfully still found a table. Everything feels familiar here - like your weird aunt’s house in the suburbs that’s needed a paint job since 1996, but nobody’s ever said anything because deep down the orange paint feels right. If you grew up in the midwest, or were raised to respect the importance of deep dish and artichoke dip, everything here will feel like home. If you didn’t, it’s time to learn.
photo credit: Holly Liss
The service is phenomenal, and not in the over-trained-by-a-restaurant-consultant-from-Miami kind of way either. In the way that they’re just naturally good people. They talk to you like they actually know you, and seem genuinely bummed when you leave. Don’t worry, you will be too.
The food, of course, will always boil down to the deep dish. Having eaten at all the great Chicago spots, we can confidently say this is as good and authentic as you’ll find outside Cook County. The Traditional with sausage and mushroom is the obvious go-to, but don’t overlook the Classic Vegetable either. It’s still massive, but just slightly less of an undertaking. And then there’s everything else - the Manchego salad, the artichoke dip, the bread pudding. Is anything new or unusual? No. And it sure better not be. When we’re at home, we want to eat like we’re at home.
So please, if you’re still wasting time debating which style of pizza is the correct pizza, please burn it into your diary blog somewhere else. Masa isn’t looking for your rivalry, it’s looking to be that neighborhood spot that always feels like home.
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If you’re looking to load up your deep dish with all the meat in the world, Masa will let you. Just don’t overlook this absolutely phenomenal vegetable version too. The mushroom layer on top essentially works as a protein, but far less meat sweats in the end.
You need a little bit of health, right? Right. Either way this manchego salad is a must. This town is full of fancy salads, so it’s nice just to eat one that’s simple and delicious. And also one with a giant slice of cheese on top.
This thing is just so good. Real, massive chunks of artichoke, and a football-sized block of bread to eat it all with. You can work out tomorrow.
The Traditional (deep dish)
Sausage and mushroom - don’t break what’s not broken. But if you eat more than two pieces of this, send for help.
We have mixed feelings on this. It’s no doubt delicious, but we unsure if there’ll ever be a world where eating this after deep dish pizza will feel good.