Some people might call me a bad type of Chicago native– I’ve never been to the top of the John Hancock building; I put ketchup on my hot dogs; and, worst of all, I’ve never eaten deep dish pizza. Usually when discussing Chicago, deep dish is one of the first topics people bring up, and I’m always reluctant to admit I’ve never actually experienced it myself. This year, I ventured out to Lou Malnati’s and finally popped my deep dish cherry (tomato).

The Preparation 

When it came down to preparing for my deep dish experience, the first thing I had to figure out was finding the right restaurant. In downtown Chicago, it feels like there’s a deep dish place on every corner, and it can be hard to narrow down the choices. I settled on Lou Malnati’s because of their famous “butter crust” and wide recognition across the city. I knew it has some reputation as a tourist trap, but I was willing to bruise my pride a little since I had never eaten deep dish anyway.

The Experience 

When I arrived at Lou Malnati’s, my waitress recommended the most classic style of deep dish for a first timer, which is a thick, buttery pie crust filled with layers of mozzarella and sausage and doused in chunky tomato sauce. They also offer another popular option that includes spinach, onion, and mushrooms, but I wanted to go with the textbook style of deep dish for my first time.

After what felt like forever waiting in anticipation, my prized deep dish finally arrived. She was a beauty. 

Rachel Saef

I took my first slice and experienced the most beautiful cheese-pull of my life. Gooey mozzarella and fresh tomato sauce overpowered my first bite. The spicy sausage kicked in next, and I realized how much I was missing after 19 years. I was lost until I found deep dish.

Final Consensus 

Everyone should get to experience deep dish, especially really good Chicago deep dish. I had no idea what I was missing. Compared to thin crust, deep dish is the real deal. Not to hate on anyone's favorite pizza place or anything, but some things just don't compare. Deep dish, from now on, I’ll be yours until the end of time.