After eating at Spacca Napoli, Pizzeria Uno, and Giordano's, I decided the least sane and healthy thing to do was to grab one more deep dish pizza at Lou Malnatti's. Ya know, for a night cap.
For the sake of convenience, I hit up the location on North Wells. Similar to New York City's incestuous pizza family tree, Chicago's pizza history is comprised of family legacy and pizzeria off-shoots, and Lou Malnatti's is no exception. When Rudy Malnatti, Sr. first brought deep dish pizza to the Windy City with Ike Sewell and Rick Ricardo at Pizzeria Uno, his sons Rudy Jr. and Lou soon joined the ranks helping out in the kitchen.
Flash forward 30-some odd years to 1971 to when Lou set out to open his eponymous pizzeria with his wife in Lincolnwood, IL, and history will show that Rudy's son had a success on his hands. Now with 31 locations scattered throughout the greater Chicago area, Lou Malnatti's is consistently ranked as one of the city's best pizzerias. I wasted no time ordering the "Malnatti Chicago Classic-"
As a disclaimer, I've been told the 6" individual pie is not the best option on which to base an opinion for any deep dish, but three pies in I didn't have the stomach to order anything larger.
The Malnatti Classic is made up of mozzarella, lean sausage, tomato sauce, Parmesan cheese, and Lou's signature butter crust. Full disclosure: I did not eat this in the restaurant. In fact, I ordered my pie with full intention of sitting down to wolf it, but minutes after ordering became discouraged and changed my order to go. Strangely enough, my pizza was ready just seconds after I did so (did I 'steal' someone else's pizza? Or are these par-baked?). Odd.
Of all the deep dish pizzerias I ate at (Lou's, Uno's, Gino's East, Pizano's, and Giordano's), Lou's was definitely my favorite, primarily due to the crust they rock. It's much simpler than its counterparts and quite frankly, it's tastier. It's thinner, crunchy while retaining a nice greasy breadiness, and most importantly it doesn't look as ridiculous as their competitor's product.
While I have my respect for it, I'm still not completely sold on the deep dish craze. Malnatti's may have been my favorite amongst this style, but I would still only rank it my 5th favorite pizza in the 12 I tried in Chicago. Oh what the heck, here's to you, Lou.