Windy City transplants are passionate about their Chicago-style deep-dish pizza. Why not? There’s a lot to love. The slices are as thick as lasagne, as yeasty as a loaf of fresh bread, and as a meaty as a charcuterie board. Throw on a bubbling blanket of cheese, and you have something tantalizing enough to justify the occasional 40-minute wait. Here, an inside look at three of the most sought-after pies in town.
This four-decades-strong chain based in Chicago might feel a little assembled-by-numbers, even with its exposed brick, rustic wood detailing, and top-shelf finishes. A glimpse through the window to the kitchen, where cooks butter deep-dish pans before molding the dough into them, assures you your pie will be nothing if not authentic. 4110 E. 82nd St., 348-4085
Pictured The Chicago Classic ($30.75 for a 14-inch large)
Crust The sturdy, crackly mantle might be the best part of the pizza.
Filling Pepperoni under a quarter-inch of mozzarella, topped with mushrooms, green peppers, onions, another layer of crust, red sauce, and Parmesan.
Sauce Thin and savory, with a hint of garlic.
Cheese Heavy, but as the pie cools, the thickness helps shore up the integrity of the slice.
Instructions The pies arrive set and pre-cut; the server might even plate your first slice.
It’s easy to overlook this west-Carmel spot off of Michigan Road that has been turning out Chicago-style pies in a strip mall since 1995. But you shouldn’t–at least according to impassioned (and unsolicited) endorsements from two separate Uber drivers, expat Chuh-kaw-go-ans who, in their native dialect, lobbied on behalf of this joint. 4335 W 106th St., Carmel, 228-9090
Pictured The Meat Classic ($30 for a 14-inch large)
Crust A buttery, flour-based engineering marvel.
Filling Outstanding fennel sausage, quality pepperoni, bacon, and ground beef are piled on. Carnivores will think they’ve died and gone to heaven.
Sauce Bright and thick, with occasional hunks of crushed tomato.
Cheese Salty in a good way, with some elasticity.
Instructions If you’re getting takeout, give this pie a five-minute ride in the oven at home.
Founder Bob Jaeger, a Chicago native, has outfitted his Fletcher Place and Fishers spots with signs and flags bearing team logos, leaving no question as to his sports loyalties. The menu includes pizza, sandwiches, and pastas served alongside several local craft beers on tap. 619 Virginia Ave., 203-7110 & E. 131st St., Fishers, 219-6039
Pictured The Deep-Dish ($18.95 for a 14-inch large, $2 each additional)
Crust Golden and dense, an inch-tall ring of dough circles the pie, and a durable, slightly crunchy base provides sufficient support for all the fixin’s.
Filling Choose from 20 toppings, including tender, well-seasoned sausage.
Sauce The perfect balance of sweet and spicy, dusted with Parmesan and herbs.
Cheese The sparse layer of mozzarella might leave casiophiles wanting more.
Instructions Let the pizza rest (and set up) for a few minutes before slicing into it.
This article appeared in the July 2015 issue.