My Favorite Pizza Joint in America
Deep dish pizza is eaten with knife and fork, but contrary to what many folks think, it is not a thick crust pizza. Dough is patted high up the side of a deep dish pizza pan, with ingredients placed in reverse order to a regular pizza. Mozzarella cheese comes first, followed by additional toppings like sausage, pepperoni, or mushrooms, all doused with chunks of fresh plum tomato sauce. In Chicago, Lou Malnati’s has perfected the art of pizza making. The crust has just enough butter to make it flaky but not soggy. The sausage is a dense layer of meat. The chunky tomatoes in the sauce are both sweet and zesty. Lou got his start in the business working with his dad in Chicago’s first deep dish pizzeria in the 1940s, before opening his restaurant in a northern suburb, Lincolnwood, in 1971. Getting a table at Lou Malnati’s can try your patience, so follow the advice of the wise Fran Leavitt, my mother-in-law, who happens to be a native Lincolnwooder. Call in advance and ask how long a wait, putting your name down on the list. Then order your pizza and salads on the phone, so when you finally do show up, 10 minutes prior to your approximate wait time, your pizza will already be cooking in the oven.