As clam chowder is to Boston and cheesesteak is to Philadelphia, deep dish pizza is Chicago’s iconic food. The creation of this artery-closing meal can be traced back to Pizzeria Uno in 1943, although whether that restaurant or a lesser-known chain can lay claim to the innovation remains unknown. What is not in question is that it first appeared in the Windy City, forever labeling it Chicago-style pizza.
What differentiates deep dish pizza from other versions of the dish is, as logic would suggest, the deeper pan in which it is cooked. The depth of the pie necessitated other changes to the pizza’s structure. There is a longer bake time required to thoroughly cook the ingredients. Those ingredients, however, would burn if they were assembled in a traditional pattern. So, the pizza is arranged “upside-down,” starting with the cheese, followed by meat, other toppings, and finally coated in a liberal layer of tomato sauce.
History aside, deep dish pizza can be found anywhere in Chicago, with a few pizza joints that are guaranteed to provide a delicious pie. Pizzeria Uno, Gino’s East and Giordano’s have the best known and generally excellent quality deep dish. If you have a spare three hours and a burning need to hit up a diverse array of pizzas, Chicago Pizza Tours will take small groups to neighborhoods around Chicago to enjoy local spins on the classic.