'Chicago Essential' on Serious Eats

Chicago Essential: Great Lake

How good is the pizza at Great Lake? If you meet someone who has eaten there and they do not tell you they had one of the best pizza of their lives, you probably don't want to listen to anything that person has to say about food. More

Chicago Essential: Coalfire

Coalfire was an early pebble in the recent avalanche of pizzerias in Chicago that do not fit into the city's traditions of tavern, deep dish, or stuffed pizza. And from the time it opened, the place has remained a favorite for many in town. Across the board, I think Coalfire features some of the best ingredients in town but, unfortunately, that's not enough for me to overlook the flawed crust. More

Chicago Essential: Home Run Inn

Home Run Inn may be better known nationally for its frozen pizzas, but for generations of Chicagoans, it's a pizzeria first and foremost, and a popular one at that. In one day, I checked out the original location and a frozen pie. Not surprisingly, the fresh ones were vastly superior, but both versions do the tradition proud. More

Chicago Essential: Gino's East

While the popular history of Gino's East might be a little overblown, there is nothing misleading about this Chicago institution's reputation for making great deep dish pizza. The golden crisp crust is home to a whole lot of mozzarella, a thick and rich tomato sauce, and, in my case, a giant sausage patty. Together, that makes for one soul-satisfying pizza. More

Chicago Essential: Giordano's

Giordano's flagship restaurant might be loaded with tourists, but residents all over the Chicagoland area keep dozens of other locations busy. There's a thin crust on the menu, but there's really no reason to get it when a wonderfully gluttonous pizza is calling out your name. More

Chicago Essential: Finding Religion at Pizano's Pizza & Pasta

Pizano's Pizza & Pasta is required eating for anyone looking to sample the best deep dish pizza in Chicago. That pizza, made with a very restrained hand for the style, is my go to introductory pie for out of towners who might be overwhelmed by some of the other favorites in town. Making Pizano's even more impressive is that it's the only place that puts out stellar deep dish pizza and a thin crust that might be even better. More

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