Friday, February 03, 2006

Chicago Chow: Pizzahhh! Chicago Style

So…what’s all the hype about this Chicago-style pizza? Isn’t pizza just pizza? If you’ve had one, you’ve had ‘em all, right? Not in the Windy City! This Midwest town has had a love affair with pizza since the early 1940’s. It started with the deep dish pizza and three decades later was followed by the stuffed variety. Even the thin crust has its own distinctive style in Chicago. So, just sit back, close your eyes and take a trip down Mouth Watering Lane…
Read More About Pizza!

A deep round pan is lined with a thick crust, which runs up the sides, creating a haven for the meats and veggies of your choice. The filling is topped with a generous helping of mozzarella cheese. Pizza sauce (not too sweet, but wonderfully spicy and flavorful) is ladled over the top and baked to perfection. The crust comes out crispy and the cheese on top is soft and gooey. Chicago is the birthplace of this deep dish style concoction which was originated by Uno’s in 1943.

The stuffed pizza is another Chicago favorite and there’s nothing like it. These beauties are more like cheesecakes in terms of shape and size. This creation begins with a thin crust, which lines the bottom and sides of a deep pan. Add the toppings of your choice (Italian sausage is a Chicago staple), followed by mounds of mozzarella. But wait, that’s not all! A second thin crust is now added over the cheese and securely attached to the sides of the bottom crust. Finally, the delicious sauce is ladled over the top and baked. This pie can be 2 inches thick and is no finger food! Giordano’s and Nancy’s both arrived in the City That Works in the early 1970’s, bringing with them this “meal in a pan.”

Are you hungry, yet? Now that you know what it is, where do you get it? There are many Chicago-style Pizza places in the city and suburbs of Chicago. It would be impossible to list them all, but here are some of the more well-known ones. You can’t go wrong with any of these…

 Uno’s introduced the Chicago-style deep dish pizza in 1943. Their unique buttery crust has been duplicated by none. There are many locations in the city. Closest to the conference is probably the one in Schaumburg, by Woodfield Mall, a 20-minute drive from the hotel.

 Pizzeria Due’s is owned by the same parent company that runs Uno’s. Located at 619 N. Wabash in Chicago, they are just a block away from the original Pizzeria Uno.

 Connie’s brought another version of deep dish pizza when they opened their doors in 1963. There are several locations in the city and suburbs, but none that are particularly close to the conference. If you venture into the city, consider looking one up. Connie’s also has their own trucks that drive around and sell hot pizzas to hungry passersby.

 Gino’s East arrived on the Chicago scene in 1966, touting its deep dish and thin crust pizzas. Several locations exist, but the closest is on 9751 W. Higgins in Rosemont.

 Lou Malnati started his business in 1971, presenting yet another deep dish to Chicagoans. If you go there, be sure to save room for dessert. Their chocolate chip pizza is cookie dough baked in a small deep-dish pan, brought to your table fresh from the oven and topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and whipped cream. The most convenient Lou Malnati’s is at 1050 Higgins Road in Elk Grove Village, just 10 minutes from the Hyatt.

 Giordano’s opened its doors in 1974 and introduced the stuffed pizza. The closest Giordano’s is at 9415 W. Higgins in Rosemont, IL.

 Nancy’s started selling stuffed pizza in the early 1970’s. The nearest Nancy’s is on 3560 River Road in Franklin Park, a short cab ride from the hotel.

 Edwardo’s opened in 1978, featuring stuffed pizza. Their signature menu item is stuffed spinach pizza to die for! The easiest way to sample their delights is by visiting their restaurant at Dundee & Milwaukee Avenues in Wheeling, about a 25 minute drive from Rosemont.

Once you’ve had your first bite of Chicago-style pizza, we hope you’ll agree…it’s amore! Don’t leave town without it!


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