Chicago’s Best Deep-Dish Pizza, According to Locals — Open Road


(bluesy electric guitar music) – [Bill] I’m Bill Addison, Eater’s ever-roving national critic. Chicago is one of the
country’s defining food towns. When visitors come to graze through its remarkable dining
scene, they often zero in on one of the town’s most famous
creations: deep dish pizza. Love or loathe these
cheesy, crusty monsters, everyone’s got opinions
on who makes the best. When I first started roaming
the country for Eater a few years back, I polled
Chicago food writers and they all sent me to one institution in the Lincoln Park
neighborhood: Pequod’s. – Throughout the years, people
have started to look for places that were
non-corporate, non-big chain. They want that little secret nichy place, whether it’s the bar
that nobody knows about or the small little pizzeria that has a unique
caramelized cheese pan pizza. (upbeat harmonica music) – One reason why Peqoud’s
isn’t a household name like some of the other pizza chains are is that it’s not downtown, so
it’s something you discover after you’ve lived here for a while, but it definitely has that
position as a favorite. Everybody has a pizza rotation, basically, of the places you order from, and hardly anybody doesn’t
have Pequod’s in their rotation is the way I think of it. It’s not like anywhere else. It’s completely unsubtle. Chicago pizza in general is unsubtle, acidic, it’s sharp, it’s overdone, there’s way too much cheese, you’ll probably feel bad tomorrow after eating too much of it, and that’s what Chicagoans love. Ike Sewell and Rudy Malnati, Sr., started Pizzeria Uno, Pizzeria Due. That’s really where pizza
comes from in Chicago. It probably existed out
in the neighborhoods where there were Italian-Americans, but it’s not until somebody
opens a place downtown that it gets a lotta publicity, that people start talking about it. (upbeat banjo music) People talk about deep dish
as if it’s all one thing, and there’s really three
different styles of deep dish, and I think that’s important. First is the one that was
invented at Pizzeria Uno, probably by Rudy Malnati, Sr. It’s a short crust, so
it’s kind of a crispy almost biscuity-like crust. In the ’60s, we got what’s
called stuffed pizza. You’ve got about an inch of cheese, you’ve got a second crust on top of that, and then you’ve got the tomato sauce on top of that second crust. The other kinda pizza came from bakeries, probably back into the teens and ’20s, and that’s the style that
Pequod’s comes out of. It’s like a really well-done
grilled cheese sandwich or something like that. And it’s funny, you’ll see
people who will eat the pizza and then they won’t finish the crust. That’s like, you’re missing the best part! – [Bill] The secret to Pequod’s greatness is the halo of cheese layered
directly around the pan on top of the crust. The cheese melts into a
crispy, chewy, blackened ring. Imagine the burnt edges of lasgna taken to delicious extremes. The crust is substantial,
but not overwhelming. And this pizza can handle the toppings, so you’ll wanna ask for
a blanket of sausage and mushrooms and green peppers. (upbeat blues music) – What I really thrive on is the guy who comes in with
the heavy New York accent, “I’m here to test it and
I’m gonna prove you wrong.” And I’m like, “Here it is.” And then I come back in a little bit and they get this long,
sad face and they’re like, “You’re right, I love it.” I’ve been eating it for 25 years. It’s just like, you just crave it. – [Bill] So, whether you
think you love or loathe Chicago-style deep dish pizza, head to Pequod’s before you
make your final verdict. I know I’m a convert. This is Davila’s gorgeous
take on cochinita pibil, the Yucatan’s famous
pit-barbecued pork dish.

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