Tuesday, July 29, 2014

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Weighing In on the Chicago Deep Dish Battle

I've been in Chicago for three weeks now (!!!) and I did not waste any time in finding out which deep dish pizza was my favorite. Before moving up here I had heard about Gino's East and Giordano's, but in the past two weeks I had heard a lot about Lou Malnati's. After much negotiation (I'm lying) and hair pulling (I'm really lying), I was able to convince (super lying) Alex to go with me to Giordano's and Lou Malnati's. We had already tried Gino's back in April so the goal in the past two weeks that Alex has been here has been to get to Giordano's and Lou Malnati's and survive a meal there with the girls. I say "survive" because deep dish pizzas can take up to an hour to get to your table and our girls usually max out their good behavior reserves at around the hour mark. The goal was also to try pizzas that were similar so that we could make a semi-fair comparison. So, without further ado, here are my thoughts in order of when I tried each pizza:

Gino's East
This was the first deep dish pizza I tried in the city. My first thought was "What the hell? I need to wait 45-minutes for pizza? There is no way we are ever going to a restaurant to eat deep dish with the girls." It actually wasn't 45-minutes and ordering an appetizer was a must to help us get through the time.  We ordered a small pepperoni deep dish pizza and I was, unfortunately, disappointed. The crust tasted like yeast to me and the pepperoni tasted like salami. I don't know what I was expecting, but it wasn't what I had. (Note: I have since gone back and it was better, but still not my favorite. Their thin crust pizza was better than deep dish).

Second deep dish pizza I tried in the city and we went all the way with a true meat lover's pizza: bacon, salami, sausage, and pepperoni. Giordano's calls their pizza a "stuffed" pizza and I honestly can't think of a better descriptor. The pizza was loaded with cheese and the meats. The pizza seemed almost upside down with the order of ingredients being crust, meats, cheese, and sauce. I made it through a slice and half of this pizza and had the leftovers for lunch the next day. We waited about 35 minutes for the pizza to come out and, because we went during lunch time during the week, there was no wait for a table. The girls had a thin crust cheese pizza, but our pizza looked and tasted better than their pizza.

Lou Malnati's 
Last but certainly not least was the sausage and pepperoni pizza we ordered from Lou Malnati's. This pizza was, by far, the freshest and healthiest tasting pizza of all the pizzas. The pepperoni was so good that the girls were eating it and they haven't wanted to eat pepperoni in a very long time (they also devoured their thin crust cheese pizza). There are two things that I really liked about Lou Malnati's that the other two restaurants don't offer: (1) personal-sized pizzas and (2) the ability to order your food while you wait for a table so that your deep dish pizza gets to you soon after you sit down. The only thing neither of us were fans of was the sausage as it was a sausage patty (too breakfast-y) and not sausage chunks like in the Giordano's pizza.

Which was my favorite? It's almost a toss up between Giordano's and Lou Malnati's. If it's just Alex and me (or just me), I would go to Giordano's because the level of cheese is out of this world and makes my heart happy. I also liked the way their pizza tasted the next day the best. If we are going with the girls, I would go to Lou Malnati's because I've never seen them eat pizza they way they did there (the left only three pieces of their small pizza) and because you can order your food while you wait saving time at the table.

There are still other pizza places in the city I want to try, but I'm happy I was able to make it out to these three when I did after hearing so many recommendations for them. If you live in Chicago or have been here before and have been to these restaurants, which was your favorite?

For more on my Chicago adventures, follow me on Facebook and Instagram @thecookierunner 

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