Sunday, November 1, 2009

Chicago Pizza

Get together any group of true blue Chicagoans, and ask the simple question, “Who has the best pizza?” and you will get answers that are both diverse and fueled by heated opinions. After all, pizza is important to Chicago. So who, indeed has the best pizza? Lou Malnati’s, with their butter crust that melts in your mouth? The original flavor of Uno’s pizzeria? Or the recipe created by an actual Italian immigrant at Giordano’s?
Before answering this question it is important to note that if you ask a Chicagoan about pizza, you are asking about deep dish pizza. We don’t allow that thin crusted, prissy New York style thin crust to even enter into consideration. To us, that is merely an outdated ancestor of what pizza is. We Chicagoans are not clean, weak slices of pizza. We are hearty and strong pieces of pizza. We do not confuse our desserts (pie) with our pizza (pie.) A pizza is deep dish, and a pie is apple.
The story of how deep dish pizza came to Chicago is a much disputed one. The popular myth is that a G.I., returning from duty in Italy during World War II, opened a bar and grill. Remembering a dish the Italians served called, “pizza,” the ex G.I. turned entrepreneur decides to alter the pizza a bit in order to, “Chicagoanize” it. He added more crust, and a lot more cheese, and deep dish pizza was born.
This myth, however, is a lie. Deep dish pizza was actually created by a Texan named Ike Sewell. In 1943, Sewell found himself opening a restaurant, called Uno’s, on the corner of Wabash and Ohio streets in Chicago. Sewell believed that if you altered the classic Italian pizza by adding more cheese and sauce, you could create a food that would take America by storm (or at the very least differentiate Uno’s from other pizza places.)
The rest is history. The pizza was so popular, the son one of Sewell’s employees, Lou Malnati, opened up a pizza place that made a special kind of crust, in which loads of butter was added to the mixture, giving birth to the concept of a “butter crust,” and pleasing many a diner since.
And, just for the record, who has the best deep dish pizza? Pequod’s pizza in Lincoln Park, featuring a delicate caramelized crust. Have a different opinion? Well, you’re wrong.


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  2. Man it looks like a good time for chicago pizza lincoln park! Deep dish is so much better than New York style thin crust. I've been making this stuff for years and it's still my favorite.