With our long weekend getaway to Chicago coming to an end, we had one last opportunity to enjoy Chicago’s best import, the deep dish pizza. It turns out that our hotel was only down the block from of Chicago’s most famous deep dish pizza joints, Pizzeria Uno. Unlike our first experience of deep dish pizza at Giordano’s when it was just my husband and I, my parents decided to join us for dinner tonight. Twice the fun, and the best part, twice the pizza!
Known as Chicago’s original deep dish pizza joint, Pizzeria Uno opened in 1943 as the brainchild of Ike Sewell who came up with a recipe to create deep dish pizza with a flaky, buttery crust that had a “tall edge like a fruit pie” and was piled high with authentic Italian spices, tomatoes and cheese before being baked in the pizza oven for nearly a year. Today, Pizzeria Uno still draws a crowd unlike any other. Due to its popularity, just down the street a second branch of the restaurant called Pizzeria Due was opened. Housed in an old Victorian-style home, Pizzeria Due is a little more mellow and laid back than the original, and without a lot of the crowds that the original has, but serving the same exact food off of the same menu. Therefore, why go to Pizzeria Uno when you can go to Pizzeria Due? And for us, Due was just down the street from our hotel, rather than Uno which was 3 blocks away. Because of Pizzeria Due’s unique location inside of a house, the restaurant offered both indoors and outdoors dining, perfect to take advantage of on a warm Chicago late-summer evening. Like our experience at Girodano’s in order to speed up the process because the creation of the perfect deep dish pizza takes time, guests are asked to pre-order their pizza pie while they are waiting for their tables so that their wait time, once seated, is minimized.
Once we were seated, which didn’t take long at all, on the outdoor patio area, we started off with some drinks. My dad and I both ordered the tropical fruit freezer, which turned out to be a great, refreshing drink, for the warm Chicago evening spent dining on an outdoor patio. The drink was made with pineapple, coconut, strawberries and banana blended with a sweet shot of grenadine and topped with a maraschino cherry. There’s nothing about this drink that could have been bad. Take every delicious tropical fruit you can, blend it all together with grenadine, that’s my kind of drink. Sweet, fruity, and definitely tropical and served ice cold and delicious. Incredibly refreshing and tasty.
My husband ordered the uno raspberry lime rickey. Described as frozen limeade and raspberries blended together, this was right up his alley. My husband is a sucker for lemonades and limeades and lemon juice and just that tangy, tart, citrus bite from a lemon or a lime. He can never resist it. Add some raspberries to the bunch and the uno raspberry lime rickey would be exactly perfect for him. I stole a sip of his drink and I found it to be just the perfect combination of sweet fruitiness with a touch of tartness. My husband definitely enjoyed his drink selection as well. I definitely appreciate going to a restaurant that has a creative, and different, non-alcoholic drink menu.
While we waited for our pizzas, we started off our meal with some Caesar salad for the table to share. Made with romaine lettuce, grated cheese and croutons all tossed in Pizzeria Due’s homemade dressing, the salad was a good start to the meal. Nothing too special about the Caesar salad, other than it had a nice Caesar dressing to it and I loved the fact that they gave us an abundance of croutons. I love croutons on my salad and get annoyed when I order a salad and it barely has any croutons on it.
Since there were 4 of us at dinner, we decided to order 2 small pizzas. The first pizza was the Numero Uno pizza. According to Pizzeria Due, it’s their most delectable pizza made with extra cheese, an abundance of fresh sausage, and just the right amount of pepperoni and fresh mushrooms, onions and green peppers. This was the pizza my parents had selected because they didn’t want a straight up meat pizza. Something with some vegetables and was pretty much Pizzeria Due’s version of a supreme pizza was right up their alley. My parents enjoyed their pizza tremendously. Each small pizza came with 4 slices, and in the end, 2 slices per person was more than enough. In fact, it was a bit of a struggle for everyone to finish their second piece. But everyone agreed that the pizza was delicious.
For my husband and I, we took the same pizza we ordered at Girodano’s, a cheese pizza with sausage and pepperoni. Again, this deep dish pizza was more like a pie than a pizza. However, after one bite of the pizza, my husband and I both agreed that we enjoyed this deep dish at Pizzeria Due more than we did at Giordano’s. The crust of the pizza here was flakey and buttery and perfectly cooked. While this was a deep dish pizza, it didn’t have the ultra, over-the-top double crust that it was at Girodano’s. The pizza here at Pizzeria Due seemed to come together better. The red sauce on the pizza was flavorful and the cheese was melty and delicious and the sausage was flavorful and the pepperoni was good and the pizza was just perfect. This is the kind of pizza I think about when I think of deep dish pizza in Chicago.
We all walked away from dinner at Pizzeria Due full and satisfied and a little sad that our journey in Chicago had come to an end and that would be the end of authentic Chicago deep dish pizza for us. I think perhaps that’s the sign of a good restaurant delivering exactly the kind of food you expected it to deliver. Since coming back home to Southern California, all four of us, at one time or another have all mentioned Pizzeria Due and how we really enjoyed their deep dish pizza and how we want more of it. You can bet that the next time I find myself in the Windy City, I’ll be trying to get my hands on a slice of Pizzeria Due’s deep dish.