As students move back to Iowa City after winter break, there are only a few “food groups” that an individual from Chicago greatly misses from their diet: Portillo’s and Chicago-style deep dish pizza.
While I do not have a solution for getting a Portillo’s to Iowa City (hit me up if you do), I do have a solution for the deep dish pizza. Back home in Chicago there are only three relevant pizza places — Lou Malnati’s, Giordano’s, and Gino’s East. Wig and Pen Pizza should be noted in this debate as it is on the same playing field as these Chicago-based pizzerias.
There are two Wig and Pen Pizza locations — one on the Coralville Strip (an easy order after watching your #3 Hawkeyes play at Carver-Hawkeye Arena) and its brother location on the east side of Iowa City. Wig and Pen East offers pickup and delivery to the east side of Iowa City as well as downtown. Both of them are local gems and a can-not-miss pizza.
Structured like a natural “Chicago Pie” with the tomato sauce as the top layer, the cheese and toppings in the middle, and the thin deep dish crust bringing all of the pizza goodness together. A wise Jon Stewart once said, “When I see a deep dish f**king pizza, I don’t know whether to eat it or throw a coin in it and make a wish.” He has a point.
If Chicago-style pizza is not your thing, Wig and Pen also has thin crust pizza, a famous pan crust called the “Flying Tomato”, along appetizers and pastas.
Next time you are begging mom and dad to send you back to school with a frozen Lou Malnati’s pizza, remember that there is a comparable deep dish pizza here in Iowa City.