Stop #5 on the Pizza World Tour: Chicago

The windy city. Photo: Austin Neill
The windy city. Photo: Austin Neill

Chicago seems to have it going on right now. The Cubs won the World Series last year, Chance the Rapper recently took home three Grammys, and the city is ranked numero uno on the list of emerging tech hubs in the U.S. So it doesn’t come as much of a surprise that the city pulling in wins from nearly all angles is also taking a W in America’s most popular food: pizza.

To show you we’re talking about more than just a few good deep dish pizza places, we’ve neatly assembled the eight, all-around best pizza places worth visiting the next time you find yourself in the Windy City.

1. Gino’s East

For 50 years, the original Gino’s East has been offering the one of the best deep dish pizza experiences in Chicago. Since they opened their doors in 1966, Gino’s has shared millions of their signature golden-crust Chicago-style pizzas with Chicagoans, celebrities, and visitors from all over the world. Don’t believe it? The writing is on the walls. Gino’s is world-famous for their tradition of letting all of their customers leave their mark on the restaurant.

Recommended pies: The Meaty Legend

Location: 162 E Superior St.

More info: www.ginoseast.com

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2. Sono Wood Fired

Sono Wood Fired is an authentic Tuscany-influenced Italian cuisine featuring house-made pastas, hand-crafted wood-fired pizza, antipasti and a pretty solid wine bar. Seasonal flavors and fresh ingredients set the tone at this spot. Their concept is set for the true Italian food and pizza connoisseurs, and since their opening, Sono’s has received 4 Michelin Recommendations.

Recommended pies: The White Pizza (with pancetta and arugula)

Locations: 1582 N Clybourn Avenue

More info: www.sonowoodfired.com

3. Lou Malnati’s

Malnati’s success comes from their commitment to quality. Every Lou Malnati’s pizza is handmade from scratch using the finest and freshest ingredients. Every year, the Malnati team hand selects California vine-ripened tomatoes for the perfect sweet and tangy taste. The exclusive sausage blend is seasoned to their exact specifications. The fresh mozzarella cheese comes from the same small dairy that has supplied Lou Malnati’s for over 40 years. And the family’s secret recipe for flaky, buttery crust has been passed down from generation to generation. You’ll know with every bite that each pizza was made with care and special attention.

Recommended pies: The Malnati Chicago Classic

Location: 6649 North Lincoln Avenue

More info: www.loumalnatis.com

4. Elio Pizza on Fire

Forget deep dish, pan and stuffed for a minute. If you want to go to the source of pizza, Naples, you have to understand how the pie is truly constructed. And if the pizzaolo goes to the trouble of chopping up his own wood for his oven, you know you’re in the right place. They have become as familiar—and imitated—as a politician running for office. Many places claim to make Neapolitan pizza, but few go the extra mile to do it the right way. Elio Bartolotta takes a pretty old school approach to his pizza. He has to, because at Elio Pizza on Fire, he’s simply making pizza the way he first learned in Sicily.

Recommended pies: 4 Formaggi

Location: 445 West Lake St.

More info: www.eliopizzaonfire.com

5. Uno Pizzeria & Grill

The Uno story begins in Chicago in 1943 when Ike Sewell developed deep dish pizza and opened a new type of restaurant at the corner of Ohio & Wabash. It was here that Ike served a pizza unlike any that had been served before. Buttery ‘out-of-this-world’ crust that had a tall edge like a fruit pie. He created a recipe that combined authentic Italian spices and quality tomatoes with more cheese than people could believe and then baked it for nearly an hour. When people tasted it, they wanted more of the same and the lines have been forming ever since to get into the restaurant.

Recommended pies: 43 Deep Dish Pizza

Location: 29 East Ohio St.

More info: www.unos.com

6. Chicago Pizza & Oven Grinder Co.

Chicago Pizza & Oven Grinder Co. exists within the bottom floor of a legendary brownstone home on Clark St. Their famous for their pizza pot pies, which are made from scratch on the premises with a triple-raised Sicilian bread-type dough, a homemade sauce and more.

Recommended pies: The Pizza Pot Pie

Location: 2121 N Clark St.

More info: www.chicagopizzaandovengrinder.com

7. Spacca Napoli

For a decade, Spacca Napoli has made pizza faithful to the authentic Neapolitan style. Dough is tended daily as a blend of love and craft and baked in an oven built by third and fourth- generation artisans from Napoli. Ingredients are carefully sourced from trusted vendors, many of which are unavailable anywhere else in Chicago.

Recommended pies: Bianca Con Bufala E Rucola

Location: 1769 West Sunnyside Avenue

More info: www.spaccanapolipizzeria.com

8. Dante’s Pizza

Dante’s boasts jumbo, foldable pizza slices and is a BYOB join. The look of the place and menu takes its inspiration from Dante’s Inferno; a prime example is “The Inferno,” a signature pizza with spicy toppings arranged in ring formations, a la the rings of hell. The crust is crispy and chewy in typical New York-style, but cheese blends and sauces make Dante’s one of the best places to grab pizza in Chicago.

Recommended pies: The Inferno, gigantic slices of New York-style speciality pizza

Location: 2825 N. Milwaukee Avenue

More info: www.danteschicago.com