I’m in love with Chicago Deep Dish Pizza

This past week I went to Chicago to attend a conference and while I was there, I had the fantastic opportunity to sample a Chicago classic, the deep dish pizza.

A bit of Chicago pizza history…according to Wikipedia, the “deep dish” pizza was invented in 1943 by Ike Sewell, owner of Pizzerria Uno. I walked past Pizzeria Uno as well as their sister restaurant, Pizza Due, several times during my stay and I can honestly say, they were packed each time.

Gino\'s Pizza - Bob signs the boothOn Sunday afternoon, I had the distinct pleasure of meeting up with two of my friends who had agreed to assist in my Chicago food scene deflowering. We met at Gino’s East and I was immediately struck by the crazy decor. Everything, and I do mean everything, is covered in graffiti, some of which dates back decades. Luckily, one of my friends is a Chicago native and he explained some of the restaurant’s unique history.

Apparently, the restaurant moved locations to its current locale after they lost their lease at the original spot. When they moved, they brought the wood paneling and booths along, so customers could continue to scribble their names. While I didn’t have the opportunity to add my own signature the first night I went there, I certainly did four days later when I returned with my little brother!

Chicago style deep dish pizza from Gino\'s EastOk…on to the pizza! I’ve had tons of pizza (who hasn’t) and I’ve even had what some places claim to be deep dish pizza, but they totally lied. The pizza I had last week was absolutely heavenly. The crust is nearly indescribable. It has this crunchy, almost fried quality, but still retains that nice chewy factor. It didn’t taste like a yeast based bread, so I’m guessing it was probably cornmeal based. The pizza is built backwards from what I was used to as well. Sure, the crust was on the bottom, but the sauce was on the top! In layers from the bottom up, we had crust, cheese, sausage patty, pepperoni, chunky tomato sauce. The sausage patty was the most intriguing part of the pizza…it literally was a patty that covered the whole pizza. None of the small, overcooked little crumbles. This was a sausage pizza! The sauce was very rich and I really liked that it was thick and chunky. There was no picking this pizza slice up, it was strictly a knife and fork affair.

Gino\'s Chicago style deep dish pizzaI was only able to eat about a slice and a quarter before I started picking at it. It was incredibly filling and fabulous. Now I just need to find somewhere out here that can make pizza like that, or I’m going to have to start finding reasons to go back to Chicago regularly!

P.S. My two amazing Chicago friends took me to the Chicago Blues Festival after dinner and we saw B.B. King perform and it was absolutely divine. The concert rocked, dinner was wonderful, but by far, the highlight of my trip was spending time with you two. Many, many thanks guys!!