Chicago has perfected the deep-dish pan pizza served with copious amounts of mozzarella and a thick tomato sauce. Served deep-dish style or as a stuffed pie, the Chicago-style pizza was reportedly invented by the founder of Pizzeria Uno, Ike Sewell. Baked in a round, steel pan, the pizza forms a bowl that allows for a thick layer of toppings. Since deep dish pies require a longer cooking time than thin-crust pizza, the toppings are usually placed upside-down, meaning the crust is covered with mozzarella, followed by the toppings and an uncooked tomato sauce. The pizza is then sprinkled with parmesan and served uncut.
Bella Bacino’s in The River Hotel serves an unbeatable stuffed spinach deep dish pizza stacked with fresh shredded spinach, cheese, herbs and mushrooms. The “heart healthy” stuffed spinach pizza was the first pizza to be officially recognized by the Chicago Heart Association. The Bacino's Special, which combines Italian sausage, mushrooms, green peppers and onions, is also standout. Other favorite toppings include prosciutto, pesto or barbecue chicken. The pizza crust at Bella Bacino’s is made with a mix of butter and margarine and the chunky tomato is generously seasoned. With a carved wood fireplace and spectacular views of the Chicago river, this pizzeria, which was founded in 1978 by Dan Bacin, offers both inside seating as well as a comfortable terrace to enjoy its delectable pies.
Chicago Pizza and Oven Grinder Co.
Located in a cozy basement restaurant in Lincoln Park, the Chicago Pizza and Oven Grinder Co. serves deep dish or pan pizzas, also known as pot pies, that are built from the bottom-up and baked with the crust on top. The pies are served upside-down so the toppings merge into the top crust. The pizzeria is located within an old house that was bought in 1972 by Chicago attorney Albert H. Beaver, who launched Chicago Pizza and Oven Grinder Company that same year. The pizza is made from scratch with triple-raised Sicilian dough and a homemade sauce that combines olive oil, fresh garlic, onions, green peppers, whole plum tomatoes and a special blend of cheeses. Favorite toppings include the sausage made from prime Boston butts, fresh mushrooms, as well as vegetarian options. The eatery also sells frozen pizzas to take home.
Runner-Up: Labriola Ristorante & Café, off Michigan Avenue, serves a superb deep dish alternative to more well-known Chicago pizzas. Its chewy crust, zesty tomato sauce and sharp cheese make it a worthy contender among deep dish pizzas. Favorites include La Barra Supreme with tomato, mozzarella, mushrooms, onions, green pepper, pepperoni, and olives, Danny's Special Deep Dish with tomato, mozzarella, sausage, mushroom, green pepper, and onions, and the Meatball Pie with tomato, mozzarella, garlic, whipped ricotta, and fresh basil.