Chicago’s pizza has been getting a lot of attention lately.
First, Jon Stewart delivered an epic rant against deep dish. Then, The Rahmfather sent him a little something. Finally, there was an official apology involving an emissary from the Malnati family. Somehow, despite all this coverage, something important was lost.
I love deep dish. I eat it semi-regularly and have strong opinions about whose crust, sauce, and baking methods are best. (I’ll take this opportunity to pour one out for Rolling Meadows Gino’s East, the recently-demolished graffiti pizza parlor.) Many other locals feel the same way, including some who are so passionate about pizza that they will lie, cheat, and steal to get some. It is just plain wrong, however, to write off Chicago’s pizza as strictly deep dish and pan pizza–which are not necessarily the same thing!
Chicago does indeed have many, many options for thin crust pizza. It is, by and large, a far cry from New York style pizza. Here are some key differences:
–Thin crust pizza should not fold in half. It should not be floppy or dripping grease.
–Thin crust pizza should be cut into little squares, not triangles.
–Thin crust pizza should be crispy, and the edge pieces should crunch when you bite them.
–Toppings are the best when they’re hiding under the cheese, not dumped on top of it. This keeps them from drying out during baking.
The true breadth and depth of pizza in this city and its hinterlands extend far beyond matters of crust. A truly diverse pizza scene exists, enabling an adventurous diner to spend weeks or even months eating his or her way through one of several best-of lists:
–Chicago Magazine‘s 25 Best Pizzas in Chicago
–The 20 Best Pizzas in Chicago from Chicagoist