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12 Most Iconic Chicago Pizzerias: What's Your Favorite Slice?

World renowned pizza connoisseur and critic, Rusty has been touring the World... okay fine not professionally but I sure "like-a-da-pizza"!

Slice of Pizzeria Uno deep dish pizza overlooking Chicago

Slice of Pizzeria Uno deep dish pizza overlooking Chicago

Who Makes the Best Deep Dish Pizza in Chicago?

When you ask Americans what their favorite food is you’ll get as many different responses as there are Americans. While you can’t beat a good burger and a slice of warm apple pie, if you ask Chicagoans what their favorite food is you’d be given a swift boot in the keister if you didn’t say deep dish pizza.

Chicago is known for their amazing take on this American classic, so whenever you get a chance to visit this city you’d better stop by some of the most iconic pizzerias for a slice (or two or three). Here are 12 pizzerias I've had the pleasure of enjoying over various trips through the Windy City.

These are also widely recognized by locals and tourists as the best deep dish pizza on the planet. If you don't have plans to visit Chicago any time soon, never fear because many of these pizzerias will ship to your door!

These twelve are by no means ranked in order of best to worst - you really can't go wrong with any of these options. In fact, at the end of this article you can pick your favorite - we'll let Worldwide foodies decide which one comes out on top. If your favorite isn't selected as the best then make sure you vote!

1. Lou Malnati’s

Heaven in a dish is what it should be called. Malnati’s is known for their buttery crispy crust and chunky vine-ripened tomato sauce on top of hot melted cheese. Lou Malnati started making pies in the 1940s in Chicago’s first deep dish pizzeria. He created his own legacy in 1971 with the first Lou Malnati’s pizzeria.

With 57 locations around Chicago you are sure to find one during your next visit. While there is nothing like sitting down for a hot pizza in the heart of Chicago's Gold Coast restaurant district this amazing pizza can also be enjoyed in your own home all over the U.S. They ship their pizza across the country, too!

Lou Malnati’s Flagship Location:

1120 N. State Street
Chicago, IL 60610

Ship a Pizza? Yes

2. Pizzeria Uno

Do you remember that pizzeria Lou Malnati learned his passion for deep dish? Pizzeria Uno is that place. Opened in 1943 by Ike Sewell and Ric Riccardo (the two of whom are credited for inventing deep dish style pizza), Pizzeria Uno has always been known as the Chicago pizza.

Fun fact: It was originally called "The Pizzeria" and then briefly became Riccardo’s Pizzeria. It didn’t become Pizzeria Uno until it became so popular they had to open a second location. The two locations were then named Pizzeria Uno and Pizzeria Due. Their flagship original location lies in River North, right near the Mag Mile.

Enough history—what about the pizza, you ask? This “more than a mouthful” of deliciousness is one of the best pizzas in Chicago. But be warned a single slice of their Chicago Classic isn’t for the lightweight pizza lover. It clocks in at a whopping 2300 calories; about a full days worth. But you just can’t beat the layer of crumbled sausage topping between two layers of mozzarella cheese and chunky tomato sauce.

Pizzeria Uno Flagship Location:

29 East Ohio St.
Chicago, IL 60611

Ship a Pizza? Yes

3. Pizzeria Due

Pizzeria Uno part Due. Do you really need to eat at the iconic Pizzeria Uno, or will you settle for pizza that is basically the same? If so, around the corner lies Pizzeria Due. Some even say Due has one-upped Uno on taste.

Many tourists go to Uno because of the history (many Chicagoans, too), but down the block you get all the original goodness as Uno’s but with a shorter wait at Due’s, plus you get to enjoy it in a beautiful Victorian mansion.

Pizzeria Due Flagship Location:

619 North Wabash Avenue
Chicago, IL 60611

Ship a Pizza? Yes (via Uno's)

4. Pizano’s

Good pizza is in the blood, and Rudy Malnati Jr. hails from legends in Chicago pizza history. Rudy Malnati Sr. and his son Luo Malnati (yes that Lou who branched off into his own famous pizzeria) managed the fore mentioned Pizzeria Uno—Chicago’s deep dish history is a pretty tangled web isn’t it? Rudy Malnati Jr. created Pizano’s in 1991 and quickly carried on the historic pizza tradition he learned from his family.

Pizano’s deep dish has roots in the legendary genesis of deep dish pizzas but at a more manageable size. A buttery mouthwatering bite with caramelized edges and a smoother yet still amazing tomato sauce covers a slightly thinner deep dish crust.

Perhaps even better is their thin crust pizza which many say rivals their deep dish. Even Oprah Winfrey has labeled it the “best thin crust pizza in Chicago.” With four Chicago locations you are sure to find one just in time for a delightfully delicious meal.

Pizano's Flagship Location:

864 N. State Street
Chicago, IL, 60610

Ship a Pizza? Yes

5. Gino’s East

Many Chicagoans swear by Gino’s pizza. Opened in 1966 by a couple of Italian taxi drivers (Sam Levine and Fred Bartoli) and a grocer friend who was sick of getting sick because of the freezing meat coolers, Gino’s East has its roots in the origins of Chicago deep dish pizza, but not in a way you’d expect.

Alice Mae Redmond developed the dough recipe for the original Pizzeria Uno’s. She worked at Pizzeria Uno for 17 years, but she spent the next 23 years making pizzas for Gino’s East. Taking what she developed at Uno’s she worked her magic in a new direction for Gino’s creating a unique crust like no other. The yellow cornmeal crust and a sweet sauce round out the main features of this deep dish classic.

Their thin crust pizza is perfect if you’re with a lot of people because it’s saucy and crunchy and the cheese is melt-in-your-mouth awesome. With four locations in Chicago, including the iconic Magnificent Mile, there are plenty of locations to choose from.

Gino’s East also will ship a frozen pizza so you can give it a try from anywhere in the U.S. And if you’re inside one of their restaurants and see some writing on the walls, feel free to add your own artistic touch!

They also have their own brewing company so if you are in the mood for a craft brew made especially to pair with their delicious deep dish pizza, Gino’s East might just top your list of must-go pizzerias.

Gino's East Flagship Location:

162 E Superior St
Chicago, IL 60611

Ship a Pizza? Yes

6. Pequod’s

Some know, many have heard, but few have tried. Pequod’s grew a cult following because of their take on the Chicago deep dish pizza. Deep dish pizza + caramelized crust = pizza splendor. Yes, it’s different from Lou’s and Gino’s, but it may just be the best kind of different.

Their original location built in 1970 was hidden away in Morton Grove, Illinois, a small town about 20 minutes outside of Chicago. Pequod’s quickly grew to become the best-known secret in Chicago’s northwest suburbs.

Due to pressure from their raving fans, they eventually opened up a location a short cab ride from the Mag Mile in Lincoln Park. Of course if you don’t happen to be visiting Chicago and crave a delicious Pequod’s pizza they do ship nationwide.

Pequod’s Downtown Location:

2207 N Clybourn Ave
Chicago, IL 60614

Ship a Pizza? Yes

7. Nancy's Pizzeria

Nancy's claim to fame is the stuffed deep dish pizza. In fact, the founders of Nancy's Pizzeria claim to have created the very first stuffed pizza. Nancy and Rocco Palese immigrated to the U.S. from Italy in 1969, already masters of the Italian thin crust pizza.

In 1971 they opened their first pizzeria—Guy’s Pizza. By that time the deep dish style Chicago pizza dominated the scene so friends and family encouraged the couple to try their hand at a deep dish pizza. Rocco, not one to just copy the historic deep dish, played around with his own variation until the stuffed pizza was born.

Rocco mastered the stuffed pizza and opened Nancy's Pizzeria in 1974 in a small 35-seat shop in Harwood Heights, Illinois. After receiving the title of “The Best Pizza in Chicago” by Chicago Magazine in 1975, they began expanding all over Illinois.

Nancy's Pizzeria stuffed pizza is an amazing harmony of 2 1/2 inches of deep dish heaven. Two layers of crust stuffed with all your favorite toppings, cheese and herbs covered in a sauce that uses the same secret blend of spices Rocco originally used since its creation.

Nancy's Pizzeria Flagship Location:

1000 W Washington Blvd
Chicago, IL 60607

Ship a Pizza? Yes

8. Giordano’s

Giordano’s broke into the Chicago style pizza arena in 1974 and is now located in 67 locations all over the U.S. Italian brothers Efren and Joseph Boglio brought their Mama Giordano’s stuffed crust pizza to the historic South Side of Chicago.

Completely different from the original deep-dish style, Giordano’s has a non-crunchy crust. The deep dish tastes more like a cake rather than a pie. Gooey cheese oozes out from the layered crust and sauce. Even the smallest slice is satisfying. This is a heavy pizza, so be prepared.

Giordano’s will also ship a frozen pie to your door in case you don’t have the good fortune to be visiting Chicago any time soon.

Giordano’s Flagship Location:

730 N Rush St
Chicago, IL 60611

Ship a Pizza? Yes

9. Edwardo’s

Similar to Giordano’s doughy crust style with a twist, Edwardo’s has a doughy crust wrapped around a super stuffed inside of cheesy goodness, and topped off with a chunky style tomato sauce. This Chicago style stuffed pizza is a delicious tribute to the classic deep-dish.

The original Edwardo’s opened up in 1978 on the North side of Chicago, but now has three locations to choose from. This famous Chicago stuffed pizza is worth a try, for sure. And guess what? Edwardo’s has a “ship a pizza” option, too—guess that trend is starting to catch on.

Edwardo’s Downtown Location:

1212 N Dearborn St
Chicago, IL 60610

Ship a Pizza? Yes

10. Chicago Pizza and Oven Grinder

Pizza innovation was at its height in 1970s Chicago. Another of those innovators was the founder of the Chicago Pizza and Oven Grinder company. In 1972 the pizza pot pie was born.

Chicago Pizza and Oven Grinder is famous for their pizza pot pie; cheese, toppings, and sauce are all placed in a pot and covered in triple-raised Sicilian dough before being baked. The result is a saucy magnificent concoction of pizza. Although this isn’t typical Chicago-style pizza, people line up out the door on the weekends to sample the magnificence of this interesting pizza masterpiece.

Chicago Pizza and Oven Grinder is located in a three-story brick Victorian-style building at 2121 North Clark Street in Chicago. This building sits right across the street from the notorious building at which the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre occurred in 1929.

Al Capone’s Chicago mob is suspected in but never prosecuted for this infamous shooting of seven members of George “Bugs” Moran’s bootlegging gang. The home of this iconic pizza joint may even have been used as a lookout for these hoodlum henchmen.

Chicago Pizza and Oven Grinder Location:

2121 North Clark St.
Chicago, IL 60614

Ship a Pizza? No

11. Piece Brewery & Pizzeria

Tourists who like pizza and beer will have heard of this joint in Bucktown. Brewpub and New Haven pizza meet in this sports gathering alternative atmosphere. Pizzas are served on rectangular baking pans, and they offer red, white, or plain pizzas. It’s a solid joint and nice start to an evening in Bucktown/Wicker Park.

With in house brews with names like; Petty Cash, Double Dips, Grandpa's Baby, and Just Be Simple there's a brew with your name on it and a delicious pizza to pair with it.

Piece Brewery & Pizzeria Location:

1927 W North Ave
Chicago, IL 60622

Ship a Pizza? No

12. Spacca Napoli

Breaking from Chicago style deep dish pizza altogether Spacca Napoli is still rated as one of the best pizzerias in Chicago. Pizza Connoisseurs or foodies know this place well.

It’s the only Italian pizza on the list, but notable for fueling the fire that has inspired a growth of Neopolitan pizzerias in Chicago. A bit farther north in Ravenswood, but right off the brown line, Spacca Napoli draws a crew from all over. Come here for a date or classic pizza.

Spacca Napoli Location:

1769 W. Sunnyside Ave.
Chicago, IL 60640

Ship a Pizza? No

most-iconic-chicago-pizzerias

Time to Vote: You Pick the Winner

Based on popular demand and feedback from Chicago pizza lovers nationwide, it looks like the initial list of the 12 best Chicago pizza places has to keep growing! Keep an eye out as I add more award-winning locations for you to enjoy.

13. Pete's Pizza

Pete's Pizza is another old-school family-owned pizza restaurant that dates back to 1955. The Cirrincione family, Biagio and Guiseppina Cirrincione, brought Italian-style pizza to Chicago—and then fused it with Chicago stuffed pizza inspiration. Today Pete's serves up a pretty darn good stuffed pizza, but they may be even more famous for their amazing thin crust pizza.

Pete's Pizza has a few tasty awards to back up their claim to fame as well. With "best pizza" awards from Best of City Search and RestaurantListing.com, as well as a top-10 finish from the Rachael Ray Show, this iconic Chicago pizza restaurant is a must-stop if you get a chance.

Pete's Pizza's Best Location:

1100 W Granville,
Chicago, IL 60660

Ship a Pizza? No

Did I Miss One?

So there you have it! I may have missed a few, but I believe these are the most iconic or notable pizza places in Chicago. If I missed your favorite, leave a comment below and I’ll add it to the list.

© 2020 Rusty Quill

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