Chicago - Off The Eaten Track Part 1

Do you like eating?  I like eating.  And odds are, some of the foods you grew up enjoying aren't the same in other parts of the country.  Heck, they may not even exist at all.  Everywhere has their own styles of foods and drinks.  Styles that are unique to your region, and which may even be world famous.  Or local secrets.  Lobster rolls.  Cheesestake.  BBQ.  All good food that sections of the country take pride in.

Chicago has it's famous foods.  Chicago style pizza.  Chicago hotdogs.  Ribs.  And if you're in town for a while, here's the stuff you should try.



Everyone knows about "Chicago Style" pizza.  Actually, there are two types that are easily confused (and to be honest, for shoving in your pizza pie hole, it doesn't really matter), deep dish & stuffed.  Stuffed has a thin layer of crust over the toppings but under the sauce.  Both are gut busters, and I will simply refer to both as "deep dish".  While there may be neighborhood places to get good deep dish pizza, there are some chains where you just can't go wrong:  Pizzeria Uno / Pizzeria Due, Giordano's, Lou Malnati's, Chicago's Pizza & Pasta, Edwardo's, & Gino's East.  I have eaten my share of all of them, and let me tell you a few things:

  • If you order the sausage at Gino's East, get "crumble" not "patty" unless you don't have any plans for the rest of the day.  Imagine a 1/4 inch think sausage patty covering the entire bottom of the pizza.  Good, but an overload.
  • Edwardo's makes an awesome deep dish spinach pizza. But have them add mushrooms.
  • Our standard is from Chicago's Pizza & Pasta – The "Chicago Special" – sausage, mushrooms, green peppers & onions.  Taste & texture!  And they deliver late.

Chicago Style Pizza 02

BUT DID YOU KNOW? - Chicago has a distinctive style of thin crust pizza, too.  And this you can get from any neighborhood joint.  The crust is crisp, firm, and thick enough so that it does not bend, sag, or fold.  But then since it is cut "Sicilian" style (#) into about 2.5" squares, it's not really going to sag anyway.  With these, keep it simple.  One, two ingredients, max.  There is nothing wrong with plain sausage or pepperoni.  Or sausage and pepperoni.

And everybody has their favorite type of slice.  I like the "inside" pieces.  Others like "edges".  But everyone agrees that the little corner pieces like the one up there have no calories.

Oddly – Deep dish and thin have different sauces.  Deep dish has a very chunky tomato sauce, while the thin crust is blended smooth.

So, what's your regional style of pizza?  What are your favorite toppings?


Cora said...

That first picture is probably the most delicious looking picture of pizza I have ever seen. Dang!

Anonymous said...

I haven't had real Chicago Style Deep Dish in years. And personally, I like the edges of the thin crust. All right, Scope, next time I come up there, we're all going out for pizza. Of course, that might be five years from now, but mark my words!

Padded Cell Princess said...

I like any type of crust, and pretty much any style of pizza! Branden and I often make our own 'mini pizzas' using tortillas as the base, make our own tomato sauce from canned tomatoes, and then top with whatever we have on hand! It's quick easy, and much healthier than most pizzas (although who thinks of health when they eat pizza!). The deep dish with spinach and mushroom sounds AMAZING!
We may be in Chicago for a bit next year (maybe June?) and I would love to try my first ever Chicago styled pizza! And maybe we can meet up at your favorite place! :)

Ellie Mae said...

You have just made me very, very hungry!! I like all kinds of pizza and like the crusty pieces :) I don't believe Southern IL has a specialty style, but Walt's in Marion is THE place to go :)

SkylersDad said...

Yum! It all looks good to me.

Scope said...

Cora - I searched high and low for a good picture that really showcased the pizza and made people's hearts stop. I think I nailed it.

Joshua - Whenever you find yourself back this way, it's on. I did have a good Chicago style pizza over in Birmingham (Hoover). The owner had been a manager @ Edwardo's for 10 years or something and had genuine Cubs memorabilia on the wall. So, I'm saying there might be one over your way.

Padded Cell Princess - If you are in town, definitely. And stick around, I think you will find this series informational if you are thinking of coming to town.

Ellie Mae - And my mission here is complete. Granted, it's no Leo's Pizza. Ah the days of the $8 XL with a free small delivered...

SkylersDad - Stick around. You'll notice this was labeled "Part 1". Wait until you see Monday's

Padded Cell Princess said...

I should be back to my regular blog visits so I'll definitely stick around. My mom is trying to fly us back to Washington next year (probably June) and also wants to make sure we get to stay for a bit in Chicago on the way there or back so we can visit my sister, bro-in-law and nephews. We've always wanted to see Chicago!

So. Cal. Gal said...

Unfortunately (for my waistline), we have a pizza place within walking distance. My fav is sausage, deep-dish, inside pieces. I'm not a fan of tomato sauce so that 1st one wouldn't work for me. lol!

Speaking of regional foods, Mexican is the norm around here. Taco Bell is good, but there's no comparison to the REAL thing. : )

mo.stoneskin said...

That vast waterfall of cheese (cheesefall) has made me so hungry that I doubt I'll be able to finish writing this comment before I

LegalMist said...

We used to have a Gino's East here in town, and my husband and I thought it was much much better than any other so-called "deep dish" pizza in town, including Pizzeria Uno, although my husband said it wasn't quite as good as the Gino's in Chicago. Sadly, they closed many years ago - I still don't understand why... :(