I booked a flight to Chicago back in November to visit some good friends over my birthday this past weekend. I made many plans over the ensuing months, some fulfilled, others not. I wanted to go to a Cubs game (done), swim in Lake Michigan (too cold), go to Greektown and eat amazing lamb and octopus (done), see Sue the T. rex at the Field Museum (too expensive) and try, for the first time, Chicago-style pizza.

After attending the May 27 Philadelphia Phillies-Chicago Cubs game, my friend Kate treated me to the legendary crème de la crème of Chicago’s pizza scene: Giordano’s Pizzeria.

Pizza, so widely popular, contains under its wide umbrella many popular variants. In America, New-York style is the most familiar, with its large, thin, foldable slices; there’s also Sicilian pizza, a square, deep-dish pizza with an oily, focaccia-like crust. Both can be found widely in the Triad.

But I’ve never seen Chicago-style offered in any of the three cities.

Chicago-style pizza, exemplified by establishments like Giordano’s and Uno Pizzeria, is a circular deep-dish pie. Unlike flatbread pizzas like New York-style, Chicago pizza is very tall — about two inches high — the crust flaky and relatively flavorless, like white bread. But the pizza’s structure also differs from many varieties: For the pizza Kate and I ordered, the layering went from pepperoni, mushrooms, onions and garlicky broccoli to a thick cheese layer and then the sauce, sprinkled with grated parmesan.

My preconceived notion about Chicago-style was that the sauce would be a thick lake overpowering everything, but Giordano’s quickly proved me wrong: it lays down only a moderate covering, and the chunky sauce tastes bright, acidic and light.

Unfettered joy for the birthday boy.
Unfettered joy for the birthday boy.

It was different, and I loved it.

I don’t wish to cause a fuss amongst Triad pizza aficionados. This is not a debate over whether Chicago-style pizza is superior to New York-style, or even whether it counts as pizza instead of a pizza-inspired casserole. This is an appeal for diversity.

Some Triad pizzerias should feature the option, or some enterprising soul could open an entire Chicago-style pizzeria.

Next, they might work on bringing New Haven pizza down South.

  • ARK3000

    Love Chicago deep dish. However, it failed when it came to Detroit 30 years ago. People were unwilling to wait the lengthy time it takes to make, even with “call ahead”.