Guide to Chicago Pizza

If there is one type of food that Chicago is known for I would have to say it’s pizza. We are definitely the pizza capital of the Midwest if not the US. I mean come on we even have the pizza museum here. Most people only know Chicago for its deep dish but there is so much more to Chicago pizza than that!

Deep Dish

Let’s start off with the big boy. There are so many different deep dish options and if you ask any Chicagoan they have their favorites and have very strong opinions about why it’s the best. Chicago deep dish is typically a nice crust that goes all the way up the sides of that pizza pan followed by the mozzarella cheese then toppings and sauce. The sauce is more often than not chunks of tomato type of sauce. This is usually why I’m not a fan of Chicago style deep dish. As well all know I have issues with hunks of tomatoes. There are some places that do their own takes on the Chicago deep dish. Here are my top picks in the deep dish category.

Lou Malnati’s

Lou’s is the best. As I mentioned everyone has their own favorite and what they think is the best deep dish place and we are a Lou’s family. It’s really in the crust. Their butter crust is a-freaking-mazing. You can even get it half-baked or frozen to heat up at home. Not from the area or planning a visit? No worries you can have it sent to you!


I think most people I know who aren’t Lou’s fans are in the Giordano’s camp. They are famous not only for their deep dish but for their stuffed deep dish. Who wouldn’t love extra cheese goodness? Yeah that’s right no one. More cheese is always better.

Gino’s East

Another of the big three Chicago deep dish kings. If you’re looking for that stereotypical old school pizza experience head to Gino’s East Magnificent Mile. The atmosphere is fantastic and you can really leave your mark, along with everyone else on their walls!

Pequod’s Pizza

Chicago & Morton Grove
A lot of people consider their pizza more of a pan pizza than a Chicago deep dish but I’m keeping them in the Chicago deep dish category. I love their pizza. They have an amazing sauce and their known for their caramelized crust. I just found out looking at their website for this post that they actually get the caramelization from adding mozzarella on the crust! Knew I loved it for a good reason. They have a fantastic lunch deal too.

Thin Crust

Most people don’t realize that Chicago has a second amazing style of pizza and that’s the Chicago thin crust pizza. You’ll find this style of pizza at just about every local pizza joint in the Chicago land area. It’s a thin, crispy crust. Sometimes people refer to it as a cracker crust.

Dan’s Pizza

I had to throw in my own hometown favorite. Dan's has been rocking out the pizza scene in Lisle/Downers Grove for forty years! They've got the Chicago thin crust down pat but my favorite part is their sauce. It's sweet but in a good tomato sauce way. All in all it's the perfect Chicago thin crust pizza. Worth the hike if you're coming from the city!

Aurelio’s Pizza

With locations all over the Chicagoland area as well as several different states there is no excuse not try Aurelio's Pizza. They're not the cracker thin but they've got a great mouthfeel. They're a great option if you need a consistently great Chicago thin crust pizza. They can also hook you up with the amazing Bosco breadsticks.

The Crazy Pizzas

In addition to the main two of Chicago pizza there are plenty of pizza places who are cooking to the beat of their own drum. These are places making their own style of crust and toppings or are doing something totally different. Either way they make the Chicago pizza landscape a lot of fun.

Chicago Oven Grinder & Pizza Co.

Tucked right along Lincoln Park this place has been an institution for almost 50 years now. You won’t actually find your typical pizza here. The main staples of the menu are their oven grinders which are Italian loafs stuffed with all sorts of fantastic toppings. The star of their menu is actually the pizza pot pie. They start with cheese on the bottom of the bowl then the gobs of veggie and meat toppings with the crust on the top. You get a show when it comes out and the server pops it out for you! Be sure to bring some cash since that’s all they accept.

Roots Pizza

Roots takes special pizzas to a whole other level with their chef collaborations. With some big names like “Jimmy Bannos Jr’s Purple Pig ‘Nduja Sausage Pizza” and “Rick Ortiz’s Antique Taco Chili Cheese Curd Pizza” you know these pizzas are going to be like nothing you’ve tried before. With four locations around the city there is no excuse not to get to Roots and try one of these chef created masterpieces.

Parlor Pizza

From a pizza with Brussel sprouts and pancetta to one piled high with Maine lobster Parlor Pizza definitely shows up when it comes to unique pizzas. The crust is super crispy and has great flavor. You’ll keep coming back because you just have to try all of the different types. Make sure to save room for dessert because they have amazing dessert tacos. Don’t believe me check out their mouthwatering Instagram. It’s the stuff of a dessert lover’s dreams.

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1 comment
  1. Have to put in a shout out for Nick and Vito’s (or Vito and Nick’s depending on when you started going there). Best. Thin crust. EVER. They make their own sausage (fennel heavy) as well as their own sauce. Love the ambiance as much as the food.