Today, April 5th, is National Deep Dish Pizza Day.  There are conflicting stories as to who created the first deep dish pizza (or as some say Chicago style pizza) that went on to become the staple of Chicago residents but it is believed to have been created in the early 40’s by either Uno’s founder Ike Sewell  or Rudy Malnati, a pizza cook who worked for Ike Sewell at the Uno pizza restaurant, who’s son went on to open Lou Malnati’s.  It’s thought to be more probable that Malnati created the pizza since Sewell had little culinary experience and Malnati had been cooking pizzas his entire life.  In any case the deep dish style of pizza became a success and there are now a handful of pizza chains that have expanded a bit outside of Chicago that specializes in the Chicago style pizza.  Of course some of the National chains now sell “Pan” style pizza but they don’t compare to the chains the specialize in deep dish pizzas.  Here are five chains (with links to maps to find their locations and contact info) that make authentic deep dish pizza and if they are not near you a few of them offer their pizzas by mail.  And just to let you know it is quite ok and almost a necessity to eat these pizzas using a fork!

Uno’s Pizzeria – started in 1943 in the River North neighborhood of Chicago. There are now 138 locations in several states across the nation.

unos_map

 

Lou Malnati’s – started in 1971 in Lincolnwood Illinois by the son of Rudy Malnati, a pizza chef that worked at Uno’s and thought to be the creator of the deep dish pizza.  There are 36 location primarily in the Chicago area but with a few locations outside of the state of Illinois.   They sell their pizzas through mail order as well.

lou_malnati_map

 

 

Nancy’s Pizza – started n 1974 in Harwood Heights, Illinois,  Nancy’s Pizza now has 32 locations all near Chicago except for one location in California and two in Atlanta.

nancys_pizza_map

Rosati’s – started in 1964 in Mt Prospect Illinois, Rosati’s now has 125 location through out Illinois, Wisconsin and in several other states.

rosati_map

Giordanos – founded in 1974 by brothers Efren and Joseph Boglio.  There are 36 locations also primarily in the Chicago are but with a few stray locations in Minnesota and Florida. The pizza recipe was supposedly based on a similar Italian recipe for scarciedda, a traditional calzone style dish served at Easter time.   Nancy’s Pizza also claimed that their pizza was based on a family recipe for scarciedda and the pies are very similar.  Giordanos offers mail order pizzas as well.

giordano_map

 

Gino’s East Pizza – started in 1966 by two taxi drivers, Sam Levine and Fred Bartoli, and a friend, George Loverde in downtown Chicago.  Gino’s has locations around Chicago and Texas.

ginos_east_map