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When people think of Chicago style pizza, they may automatically turn to thoughts of Chicago style deep-dish pizza. This bane to dieters, created in the 1940s by Ike Sewell at Pizzeria Uno, is made in a deep baking pan with a thick crust, which should have a buttery taste and be wondrously chewy. It can contain tons of toppings, lots of cheese, and is usually topped with a layer of Italian style pizza sauce, or with a second crust for those who need just a little more starch.
However, other people think of Chicago style pizza as referring to several different types, one of them with a thinner crust, which much resembles the New York style of pizza. Thinner crust Chicago-style pizza tends to have slightly thicker crust than New York style (which is indeed very thin and foldable), and usually contains some corn meal to add extra crunch. In fact the bottom of the dough may have an extra crisp that is very satisfying when you take a bite.
This second type of Chicago style pizza is most noted for the addition of cornmeal and for the fact that the top of the crust typically is a little chewier and doughier than the New York Style. It’s also served in a different manner. Instead of cutting the pieces into triangular slices, Chicago style pizza of the thin crust type is often cut into squares. This is also the method by which St. Louis pizzas may be served, and this cut may be called "party style."
Some Chicagoans claim that this form of pizza is true Chicago style pizza, and though there are plenty of pizza restaurants devoted to the deep dish style, including Pizzeria Uno, it’s a mistake to assume that deep-dish is always what is meant by Chicago style. Many Chicagoans consider deep dish a rare treat, while they tend to get the thinner crust style much more often, and this is typically the type prepared by companies that deliver.
One of the Chicago restaurants most associated with thin crust styles in Chicago is Giordano’s which has been open since 1974. The company now has several chain stores in a few other states, so this style is becoming a little more familiar outside of Chicago. However, to please deep-dish lovers, Giordano’s offers both thin crust and deep-dish varieties. Perhaps one of the main selling points on thinner crusts is that they take much less time to bake, about twenty minutes as compared to up to an hour for deep-dish styles.
The Chicago style pizza dough tastes almost like it was fried. Chewy on the inside and crispy on the outside.
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