Though Chicago is synonymous with deep dish when it comes to pizza—and for good reason—that isn't the only style you can find throughout the city. In addition to thick slices of butter crust filled with cheese, assorted meats and vegetables, and topped with sauce, there's also pan pizzas with crispy cheese edges and thin, coal-fired crusts with a nice char from 800-degree ovens. Assemble a group of friends and hit up all of these classic Chicago pizza joints the next time you're craving a pie.
What Our Inspectors Say: "Value, friendly service and delicious deep-dish pizza make Giordano’s a crowd sweetheart. With locations dotting the city and suburbs, this restaurant has been gratifying locals with comforting Chicago-style Italian-American fare for years. Come during the week—service picks up especially at dinner—to avoid the cacophony. The menu includes your typical salads and pastas, but you'd do well to save room for the real star: the deep-dish. Bring backup because this pie could feed a small country. The spinach version arrives on a buttery pastry crust, filled with sautéed (or steamed) spinach with tomato sauce, and topped with mozzarella and parmesan. For those cold, windy nights, opt for delivery—their website sketches a detailed menu."
What Our Inspectors Say: "Sure, you could come for a salad, but the focus here is on pizza—and yours should be, too. The dining room is cozy, showcasing an open kitchen where pie production is on full display for all to see. And in a playful bit of recycling, empty tomato sauce cans placed on each table become stands for sizzling pizzas churned straight from the 800-degree coal-fired oven. This hot spot has its ratio down to a fine art and knows not to burden its thin and crispy crust that’s blackened and blistered in all the right places. The mortadella is a delight, with chopped garlic and gossamer slices of peppercorn-flecked sausage. But if you wish to go your own way, build the perfect pie with toppings that run the gamut from decadent Gorgonzola to tangy goat cheese."
What Our Inspectors Say: "Pizza pilgrims continue to make the trek to the original location of this renowned deep-dish chain, where a 45-minute wait is worth every second for freshly baked, steaming pies. The walls, scribbled with years of graffiti, are nearly as iconic as the high-walled pies themselves, whose crusts get their signature crunch from cornmeal and searing-hot metal pans with two inch-high sides. Filled with heaps of mozzarella and toppings, like the “Meaty Legend” lineup of spicy pepperoni, Italian sausage, and both Canadian and regular bacon, it’s hard for some to eat more than two wedges here. The Chicago Fire layers hot and spicy flat sausage, fire-roasted peppers, and red onions for a kicky pie. Nonconformists can opt for thin-crust pies, but why?"
Hero image courtesy of Giordano's.