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Lou Malnati's deep dish pizza
Photograph: Martha WilliamsLou Malnati's deep dish pizza

The best deep dish pizza in Chicago

No matter how you slice it, Chicago is a deep dish kind of town. Here are our favorite spots to eat the iconic dish.

Edited by
Zach Long
Contributors
Morgan Olsen
&
Allison Yates
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Chicago is a city that loves pizza, and Chicagoans have loyalties. Much like we favor Chicago breweries and defend our favorite sports teams, we pick favorite pizzerias—and styles—and claim them as our own. Sure, some locals may scoff at the lines of tourists snaking around the Loop’s deep dish pizzerias, but let’s face it: sometimes, we secretly wish that we were first in line to devour sturdy, buttery crust moulded into a high-sided pan, layed with gooey mozzarella and blanketed in a chunky, bright tomato sauce (and don't forget the toppings).

If you’re searching for deep dish pizza in Chicago, we've gathered some spots where you can impress out-of-town visitors looking for the best things to do in Chicago or simply enjoy yourself. Because it truly doesn’t matter who invented deep dish pizza or if it’s entirely authentic or not. What matters is it tastes pretty damn good.

RECOMMENDED: Find more of the best pizza in Chicago

Best deep dish pizza in Chicago

  • Restaurants
  • Pizza
  • Lincoln Park
  • price 1 of 4

The unofficial reigning champ among locals, Pequod’s has two locations (Morton Grove and Lincoln Park), making it easy to get your fix of its popular pan pizza. With a substantial crust and generous selection of toppings, you really can’t go wrong with any combination of ingredients. The pizza here is known for its caramelized "halo" crust, created by sprinkling cheese edge to edge and baking it until it’s crisp and brown. But our favorite part of this pie is the sauce—refreshingly bright and undoctored, it tastes like fresh tomatoes.

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Morgan Olsen
Global Food & Drink Editor
  • Restaurants
  • Suburbs
  • price 2 of 4

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. 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.

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Morgan Olsen
Global Food & Drink Editor
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  • Restaurants
  • Pizza
  • River North
  • price 2 of 4

Boasting more than 50 locations across the city and suburbs, it's not hard to see why Lou Malnati's stands out among its competitors. The trademark buttery crust (literally trademarked, they call it Buttercrust™) is reminiscent of crispy Italian breadsticks and holds in the cheese and toppings. We recommend adding sausage, a thin patty of seasoned meat that covers the entire pizza, ensuring that every bite contains the perfect balance of crust, cheese and toppings. Pro tip: The namesake Malnati salad—with tomatoes, black olives, 'shrooms, salami and gorgonzola—is positively unmissable and pairs perfectly with a slice.

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Morgan Olsen
Global Food & Drink Editor
  • Restaurants
  • Pizza
  • Lake View
  • price 2 of 4

This Lakeview institution offers a stand-out pie, and whether you order an entire 14-inch pizza to go or stop in for a stacked slice, you’re bound to get the authentic Chicago experience. Though there's nothing wrong with specialty pies like the Hawaiian or Southwestern, Art's Special is arguably the best option on the menu, stuffed with sausage, onions, mushrooms and green pepper. The golden brown crust—a product of the restaurant's well-seasoned pans—is a signature touch that diners will find on every slice.

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Morgan Olsen
Global Food & Drink Editor
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  • Restaurants
  • Pizza
  • Loop
  • price 1 of 4

Boasting a crazy number of outposts throughout the city and 'burbs, Giordano's traces its roots back to Torino, Italy, where Mama Giordano's famous "Italian Easter Pie" was born. These days, it's one of the easiest spots to grab deep dish in the city. And it works—it's been around since 1974 serving deep dish pies you really don't need more than one slice or two of.

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Morgan Olsen
Global Food & Drink Editor
  • Restaurants
  • Italian
  • Streeterville

What started as an artisan bread company back in 1996 has grown into one of the city's finest pizza spots, which makes total sense when you taste the deep dish pie. The focaccia-style dough is double-proofed and lined with fresh mozzarella, creating a fluffy interior that's backed by a caramelized cheese crust with extra crunch. The La Barra Supreme is our go-to order—with 'shrooms, onion, green pepper, pepperoni and olives—but the ricotta-stuffed meatball pie is also delectable.

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Every pizza has a defining feature—whether it's the zingy red sauce, the buttery crust or the imaginative toppings. At Milly's, it's not hard to tell what sets owner Robert Maleski's pies apart. A halo of caramelized mozzarella wraps around each creation, lending a deeply satisfying crunch to each slice. Crafted in seriously small quantities, these pan pies are almost always sold out, but if you can get your hands on one, go for the Que Suerte, with pineapple, cherry tomatoes, jalapeño and brown sugar bacon.

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Morgan Olsen
Global Food & Drink Editor
  • Restaurants
  • Pizza
  • Loop
  • price 1 of 4

Pizza sauce must run in Rudy Malnati Jr.'s blood. His father, Rudy Malnati Sr., opened Pizzeria Uno in 1943, putting the deep dish style on the map. In 1991, Rudy Jr. opened Pizano's, which now boasts six locations across the Chicagoland area. Diners are treated to a roster of traditional ingredients and a few funky options, like the Uncle John's Hawaiian with Canadian bacon and tender, caramelized hunks of pineapple.

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Morgan Olsen
Global Food & Drink Editor
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  • Restaurants
  • Pizza
  • Lincoln Park
  • price 1 of 4

Tucked in a cozy basement space in Lincoln Park, this pizzeria has only a handful of tables and a tourist draw, so you may want to avoid the wait at peak hours. Instead of the traditional deep dish or pan, these pizzas are actually pot pies, built bottom-up in a ramekin and baked with the crust on top. Served tableside, the pie is flipped upside-down and the fillings slide into the resulting bread bowl crust. Overflowing with a sausage-laced bolognese sauce and lava-like cheese filling, this is pizza to the extreme. You can’t provide a better spectacle for out-of-town guests requesting a Chicago pizza.

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Morgan Olsen
Global Food & Drink Editor

The folks behind Roots Handmade Pizza are trying their hand at deep dish by transforming their Wells Street location into a pizzeria fit for a Supreme Court justice. Named for the late Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Ruth's donates 10 percent of all proceeds to the Roger Baldwin Foundation of the ACLU of Illinois in an effort to support the Women’s and Reproductive Rights Project. The pies boast a butter-rubbed crust, pools of mozzarella and tons of toppings. The namesake RBG Supreme is loaded up with taco-seasoned ground beef, jalapeños, black olives, tortilla strips, cheddar cheese curds and chihuahua cheese.

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Morgan Olsen
Global Food & Drink Editor
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  • Restaurants
  • Pizza
  • River West/West Town

This West Town pizza joint is located just off the Chicago Blue Line station, but it’s more than just a place to pop in and grab a slice (though we do recommend eating this pizza any way you can, even on the go). Since 2004, this family-run pizzeria—brothers Evan and Ian Muellner founded the restaurant and their mom Sandy works twice a week to make the delectable meat toppings—has been serving deep dish classics with meat and veggie toppings and “things in jars” (we can’t get enough of the giardiniera).

  • Restaurants
  • Pizza
  • North Center

Brian Tondryk named this pizzeria after his grandfather Fred Bartoli, one of the founders of Gino’s East. Tondryk was so impressed by Bartoli’s success that he took his family’s recipe, made some tweaks and opened this Roscoe Village pizzeria in 2013 and another location in West Town in 2020. Order the Union Stockyard for some serious meat sweats and a bit of old-fashioned Chicago nostalgia.

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  • Restaurants
  • Pizza
  • River North
  • price 2 of 4

In 1966, two taxi drivers named Sam Levine and Fred Bartoli decided that what the quieter streets east of the Magnificent Mile needed most was some good pizza. Today, the area is crowded with restaurants and hotels, but the signature recipes that made Gino’s East famous remain unchanged. And if you love the crust, you can thank Alice Mae Redmond, the Black chef that Levine and Bartli entrusted to develop the dough that’s still used at every location.

  • Restaurants
  • Pizza
  • Lincoln Park
  • price 1 of 4

Founder Dan Bacin owned a radio station and a magazine before putting both businesses up for sale to go all in on a pizza shop. The resulting endeavor showcases fresh ingredients and a from-scratch sauce that's downright bellissimo. We're particularly fond of the spinach supreme pie, which is filled to the brim with leafy greens, cheese, herbs and optional mushrooms (get 'em). This spot's claim to fame is "America's 1st Heart Healthy Pizza," though we're not sure anyone could survive a deep dish diet.

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Morgan Olsen
Global Food & Drink Editor
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  • Restaurants
  • Pizza
  • River North
  • price 2 of 4

Digging into a slice at Pizzeria Uno on the corner of Ohio and Wabash takes you back to where it all began in 1943—depending on who you ask. Though disputed by Lou Malnati’s and Rosati’s Authentic Italian Pizza, Pizzeria Uno claims to be the originator of Chicago’s notoriously thick pizza pies. Today there are over 100 locations worldwide, so whether you're in Lincoln Park, Qatar or Honduras you can get your deep dish fix.

  • Restaurants
  • Delis
  • Bucktown
  • price 1 of 4

This might be the best thing to ever come out of a frat. My Pi founder Richard Aronson began developing pizza recipes as a student at Northwestern, testing them on his bros. He eventually opened up his own shop in Rogers Park in 1971. Today, you try Aronson’s legendary recipes in Bucktown, My Pi’s only Chicago location. Keep it traditional with the My Pi special, deep dish with sausage or pepperoni with spinach, mushrooms, onions, and green peppers or go wild with Hawaiian, pesto or stuffed spinach souffle. All pizzas are crafted from the Aronson family’s homemade dough recipe, topped with San Marzano tomatoes and artisanal Wisconsin cheeses.

Still hungry?

  • Restaurants

When out-of-towners start talking about Chicago pizza, they tend to get hung up on deep dish. The supremely gooey, decadently thick style certainly has its moments, but real Chicagoans know that the city is rife with options from near and far, like tavern, New Haven, Detroit and Neapolitan. And though we may not lay claim to all of these styles, we know some Chicago chefs who do them justice.

The best of the city under one roof

  • Restaurants
  • Pizza
  • West Loop

Contrary to popular belief, Chicagoans don’t devour deep dish pizza every other night. In fact, the city’s most ubiquitous local pie more closely resembles the tavern-style creations that Candlelite serves, set atop a cracker-thin crust that’s shatteringly crisp and cut into easy-to-share squares. Founded in 1950, Candlelite has become a Rogers Park institution, beckoning hungry diners with a bright neon sign that’s nearly as iconic as the toppings-laden pizzas that come out of its ovens.

Best pizza in America

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