When you’re in the windy city, there’s no shortage of places to get fabulous deep dish around town. However, there are a few spots that stand out above the rest. Deep dish pizza in Chicago is unapologetically excessive: We like our crust buttery, our sauce chunky and our thick pies oozing with fresh mozzarella. And throw some sausage in the mix while you’re at it, will ya? Though most locals will turn their noses up at the city’s most notorious ‘za, we all secretly crave it every once in a while. It’s one of those local staples you just have to experience for yourself. Check out our list!
1. Burt’s Place
After temporarily closing in 2015, this iconic pizza parlor reopened in 2017, much to the delight of its longtime fans. Burt’s still takes phone orders ahead of time (highly recommended), but the building’s interior has undergone a gut rehab, adding a bar with several draft taps. Fill your pie with a hodge-podge of ingredients including sausage, onions, mushrooms, banana peppers and fresh spinach.
Not in a pizza mood? Or just hungry and ready to eat more? Burt’s has a wide array of other goodies to complement your pie. Indulge your inner Midwesterner with Cheese Curds, or go for the classic fried foods like Onion Rings, Mozzarella Sticks, or Jalapeno Poppers.
From the city, a relatively quick Metra ride will get you there in a jiffy, making Burt’s a must on any pizza lover’s deep dish checklist.
Bartoli’s owner Brian Tondryk comes from an esteemed family of pizza experts. His grandfather, Fred Bartoli, a WWII veteran, was a founder of Gino’s East, after successfully operating a taxi company, so it’s no surprise that Tondryk’s recipe produces remarkable pies with light, flaky crust and layers of mild mozzarella and sweet red sauce. There are several versions to choose from, but Nonna Bartoli’s special spinach and cheese pizza is a standout.
The hidden secret to Bartoli’s serving such a mean za’ is that there is no hidden secret. They simply source the very best local ingredients and handle them with love and care to yield the perfect product.
Tackling an entire pan pizza is sometimes a daunting challenge. Fortunately, this Lakeview favorite is a rare restaurant that sells it by the slice. The Art of Pizza’s flaky crusts hold bright tomato sauce and mounds of Wisconsin cheese, and they’re available in stuffed form, too.
They’re not only perfect for a single customer to grab a slice to-go, but for huge parties as well. The Art of Pizza has a vast catering menu, including salads, chicken wings, pasta, and even BBQ ribs.
There are additional locations in the South Loop and inside Time Out Market.
Regarded as an essential Chicago restaurant, Pequod’s sets itself apart with a caramelized crust. The airy dough is baked alongside a thin layer of cheese, resulting in crispy edges that have subtle flavor and a bit of chewiness. It serves as the perfect base for toppings including sausage, Italian beef, meatballs, giardiniera, and more. Individual-sized pan pizzas are also available for those dining solo.
Not only can you count on a fresh and crunchy pie when you dine in, but you can take your Pequod’s home for future use too…they sell frozen iterations of their cheese, sausage, and pepperoni pies.
5. My Pi Pizza
Located in a Bucktown strip mall, My Pi slings dependable pizzas that rank up there with the city’s best. My Pi has been serving ecstatic since 1971, though its original owner has been in the pizza business since the 1950s. Decades of practice make perfect!
The light and crispy crust is covered in Wisconsin cheese and sweet sauce with large chunks of San Marzano tomatoes. Not only is the pizza fantastic, but they even offer an entire vegan menu, so plant-based pizza freaks can still enjoy a delightful meal.
There’s limited seating inside the small counter-service restaurant so delivery or carry-out is recommended.
Chicago’s most ubiquitous pizza chain is also among the finest. Opened in 1971, Lou Malnati’s has helped spread the popularity of deep dish across the city and the Malnati family is purported to have participated in the invention of the dish.
Today, over 50 locations later, in 4 states, the signature “Malnati Chicago Classic” — sausage, cheese, and tomato sauce on buttercrust — continues to set the standard for an excellent pie.
While the pizza is always the move, they also have other favorites like Fried Calamari, Three Cheese Bread, and Toasted Cheddar Cubes.
Deep dish is the Chicago-style pizza that gets the majority of the attention but this famous local chain specializes in an even bigger variant: Stuffed pies. Similar to deep dish, the crust is loaded with mozzarella and toppings. An additional layer of dough above the cheese and below the tomato sauce takes it to the next level.
At Giordano’s, diners can order this whopping creation in compelling combinations such as “Bacon BBQ Chicken” (barbecue chicken, bacon, balsamic onions, and barbecue sauce) or with Impossible meat. Don’t forget to give your pizza a friend; might we suggest the Giordano’s Sampler: Boneless Chicken Nuggets (with buffalo or BBQ sauce), Mozzarella Triangles (with house-made marinara and ranch), and Cheesy Garlic Bread.
8. Pizzeria Uno
The spot that started it all back in 1943 is still one of the biggest attractions in River North. Founders Ike Sewell and Ric Riccardo are credited with creating the deep dish pizza and their famous restaurant churns out options such as the “Numero Uno” — sausage, pepperoni, mushrooms, onions, and green peppers — to hungry tourists and Chicagoans alike.
Pizzeria Uno was such a smash sensation that, rather than simply expanding, they opened up Pizzeria Due across the street. Different building, different name, same fantastic pizza.
Aspiring pizza makers can also sign up for cooking classes to learn how to master the craft. Who knows, maybe your future pizza joint will end up on our list someday…
The Magnificent Mile is full of tourist traps, but this Italian restaurant is a notable exception. Its deep dish features a caramelized, focaccia-like crust that’s crispy on the edges while light and fluffy on the inside. The pies are finished with sharp mozzarella and chunky sauce, and the best-selling combination — “Danny’s Special” — adds fennel sausage, mushrooms, green peppers, and onions into the mix.
Labriola has a strong cocktail selection as well. Get a twist on an Italian classic with the Limoncello Slushie with mint syrup, or enjoy a pick-me-up with an Espresso Martini.
10. Nancy’s Pizzeria
Though it originated at Guy’s Pizza in Hermosa, stuffed pizza is commonly associated with this local chain. That’s because Annunziata Palese, aka “Nancy,” helped create the style before opening the first Nancy’s in Harwood Heights in 1973. They put it perfectly: they combine the rebellious spirit of the 1970s with centuries-old Italian traditions to yield something completely unique.
Each pie is two-and-a-half inches tall and packed with tons of cheese, sauce, toppings, and two layers of dough. Folks can customize their own ingredients or opt for one of the specials such as the “Chicago Beef” (Italian beef, giardiniera, green peppers). What’s a better Chicago treat than combining two of its prized foods?
Editor’s Note: This article was originally published on October 30, 2020 and last updated on June 3, 2022. Please refer to restaurant websites and social media pages for the most up-to-date information.