First taste of Deep Dish Pizza in Chicago

We went to Chicago recently! Our inspiration for going to Chicago was to eat delicious food and to visit baseball stadiums. I think we did both in abundance! One of the things Jake, T, and I were all excited to finally try was Chicago Deep Dish Pizza. Originally I had three different places mapped out for us to try, but we ended up only crossing two off the list. Here’s the two we did visit!

Lou Malnati’s

The first place we hit up for dinner in Chicago was Lou Malnati’s in Lawndale.

Check out this TINY fire hydrant! I saw these short hydrants all over Chicago.

I picked the Lawndale location since it was not too far from the Airbnb that we were staying at for the week. Little did I know that this location gives back to the community in a big way! Our very cool and very kind waitress gave us the lowdown and explained the this particular location gives back all of the profits to the community. They bought out abandoned buildings, don’t sell alcohol, and partner with the local community church to help provide job training for folks trying to get back on their feet. Check out these articles about this special location: Celebrating 20 Years in Lawndale and Pizza on earth, goodwill toward men.

You can get your pizza as a deep dish OR as a thin crust. Thin crust exists all over town. I read a whole booklet about pizza at our Airbnb. 

Other food options, if you’re not feeling like pizza that day. Our waitress told us she prefers the pasta here!

We started off with a Family Sized House Salad [$10.55]. We got the dressing on the side – we got one ranch and one garlicky dressing. This salad was H-U-G-E!

Like DAMN there’s a SALAD! It was full of delicious, fresh ingredients like cucumber, red onion, tomatoes, carrots, red cabbage, and lots of croutons! The boys actually had multiple servings of salad and we didn’t even come close to finishing this bowl off. But I felt like we got our money’s worth anyway. 

Jake and T were pretty excited when the pizza finally came!

Our waitress actually dished up the slices for us so I didn’t get a photo of the whole pie. We ordered The Malnati Chicago Classic . The Malnati Chicago Classic comes with sausage, extra cheese, tomato sauce, and is served on their special Buttercrust. You can add Buttercrust to any of their deep dish pizzas for a $0.75 cents surcharge, but the Malnati Chicago Classic already comes with it. 

The thing I noticed after the first bite was the crunch of that wonderful crust! It’s golden, crispy, buttery, and has a firm texture that I really enjoyed. This is a knife and fork kind of pizza, my friends! There are layers of oozy mozzarella cheese plus a really delicious layer of lean sausage. The sausage has the perfect amount of flavor and seasoning and mixes in so well with the cheese. The tomato sauce is quite simple and it’s chunky – you’ll see tomato chunks all over the top, which Jake did not love, but he loved the rest of it. 

Here’s a view of the pizza that was left in the pan. I love that the crust is not really uniform so you know they did it by hand. 

I’m surprised I forgot to take a photo of the underside of the crust. Damn. I usually remember to do that. But trust me – BUTTERCRUST is the way TO GO. 

I managed to eat like 1.5 slices of that Chicago Classic pizza but I still had a little room left for dessert! They have Chocolate Chip Pizza and well… yeah. I need that in my life. The Chocolate Chip Pizza is a chocolate chip cookie that is pressed into a deep dish pizza pan (yessss) and is topped with vanilla bean ice cream and lots of whipped cream! The cookie kind of sticks to the bottom of the pan a little and you’ve got to dig in a bit to get some of it out… but man, the cookie has a deliciously crisp bottom that makes it worth all of the effort. A good dessert ending choice!

We had wonderful service and terrific food here at Lou Malnati’s. The folks were friendly and we were actually the last patrons in there and Jake (being Jake) got them talking until past closing time, but they didn’t seem to mind at all. 

Lou Malnati’s
Multiple locations
3859 West Ogden Avenue
Chicago, IL 60623

Pequod’s 

Later in the week, we visited our second spot for deep dish pizza. I picked Pequod’s based on various recommendations. Pequod’s is actually “pan pizza” if you feel like being technical but…. ehhh, I’m not. 

There are two locations for Pequod’s and we went to the one further away from Chicago. It’s set in a neighborhood, surrounded by houses! 

We were here on a Wednesday, about 11:30am. We pretty much had the place to ourselves. 

The menu. See – they list it as “Pan Pizza”! 

We shared a smaller sized salad this time with the House Salad [$4.80]. We got ranch and again, some kind of garlic dressing, on the side. I mixed the two. Yum. 

We also got a half order of Hot Wings [$4.95]. I don’t remember anything particularly memorable about them. Meaty and not too hot I think is what I remember. 

We ordered a medium 12″ pan pizza with sausage and that cost us $17.90. Look at this thick pizza!

One slice. I couldn’t even finish one slice. 

Here’s a view of that “caramelized” crust on the side. Some people like burnt cheese. I do not think I am one of those people. 

This thing was cheesy though. And I liked the sausage a bit more on the pizza at Pequod’s than at Lou Malnati’s. But the pizza at Pequod’s felt SO HEAVY. It felt like it was sitting in my gut all afternoon and I didn’t feel well. Even Jake, my mega pizza lover, could barely manage to eat a whole slice on his own. The crust at Pequod’s was breadier and not as lovely as Lou’s either. But the sausage was KILLER. Jake liked the sauce at Pequod’s a bit more, as well. 

Pequod’s
8520 Fernald Ave
Morton Grove, IL 60053

After these two pizza outings I was DONE eating pizza for the rest of our trip. My stomach was still remembering how heavy Pequod’s was and instead we ending up taking a few frozen pizzas from Giordano’s home. We haven’t eaten them yet. Wanna come over for a slice? 

Author: Mary

Mary is a San Diego native and has been a food blogger for 12+ years. She is an avid reader, a lover of puppies, and loves trying new food. Foods she loves: sweets, peanut butter, pasta, Triscuit crackers with cream cheese, and extra nuts on top of her sundaes. Food she dislikes: pickles, really spicy food, runny eggs, olives, and too much arugula.

4 Replies to “First taste of Deep Dish Pizza in Chicago

  1. Yesssss, buttercrust! And that very generous salad!

    Too bad the pizza at Pequod’s wasn’t so good though. At least you can cross off ‘deep dish’ pizza off your lists of ‘Chicago foods to try’.

    1. CC you would have loved the buttercrust! So crispy! There were aspects of the Pequod’s that I liked. Jake and I were talking about what the perfect deep dish would be and it was a combination of the two, haha. Yeah, I’m glad we finally got to try real deep dish in Chicago!

  2. I almost stopped reading this in the middle cause I got so hungry looking at the pics hahah All of these look really delicious and I’ll make sure to remember that next time I go to Chicago, thanks for sharing your experience with us 🙂

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