Courtesy of Spacca Napoli Pizzeria
Amy Tara Koch
October 08, 2014

Chicagoans are serious about their pizza. There are blogger polls, foodie forums, and local magazine profiles devoted to identifying the best pies in town. It’s a tough call. Stuffed or simple? Gooey or crunchy? White sauce or red? But the real debate is the dough equivalent of the age old Cubs vs. White Sox dispute; are you team deep dish, or team thin crust? Chicago style pizza, also known as “deep dish” is iconic. More pie than flat bread, it’s chewy, cheese-y, and celebrated for its thick crust and sheer bulk. The act of consuming this gooey concoction is, to tourists, a true Instagram moment. Then there’s the classic Neopolitan-style pizza. Where deep dish is heavy, this pie is beloved for its lightness. Its simple crust is the perfect foundation for toppings. And the trend du jour? Windy City chefs are all about layering the perfectly charred, puffed dough with seasonal farm-to-table ingredients.

La Madia

This stylish pizzeria and wine bar puts a new farm-to-table spin on traditional wood-fired pies. Traditional red-sauced pizzas are on the menu, but the white styles like the goat cheese, melted leek, garlic, and pancetta lardon pie or the Carbonara (Slagel Farm guanciale, cracked organic egg, and melted leeks) are what dazzle.  

Lou Malnatis

The poster child of Chicago-style pizza, this deep-dish pie boasts a recipe that has remained unchanged since 1971. Served in blackened and “seasoned” aluminum deep-dish pans, the pizza boasts artisan mozzarella from a Wisconsin cheesemonger and a signature (and trademarked) biscuit-like “Buttercrust” that is beloved by Chicagoans. 

Pizzeria Uno

Pizza cognoscenti credit Uno’s with the introduction of deep-dish pie in 1943. The Uno’s difference: a thick, buttery, garlic-infused crust is layered with a half-inch of cheese and then topped with chunky tomato sauce, sausage, and whatever other toppings you desire. Eating at the original Uno’s Victorian brownstone is half the fun.

Pizzeria da Nella

Naples native Nella Grassana has earned her thin crust stripes. A third generation pizzaiolo, she hand-crafts dough in accordance with the rules of Associazione Pizzaiuoli Napoletan and delivers light-as-air pies that are charred and puffed to perfection. Try the Alessia, a fan favorite with smoked mozzarella, cherry tomatoes, sweet salami, and a layer of arugula.

Spacca Napoli

For almost a decade, foodies have been drawn to this Ravenswood storefront. Owner Jonathan Goldsmith may not hail from Naples, but everything (Molino Caputo flour, San Marzano tomatoes, mozzarella di buffalo, the dough mixer) in and on his divinely blistered pies—including the oven itself—is authentically Italian.

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