|Photo by Joanna O'Leary|
|Deep-Dish at Lou Malnati's|
In the days leading up to my trip to Chicago, I spent a good amount of time fantasizing about deep-dish pizza and investigating Houston's own alleged offerings, including the frozen Gino's East version available at Central Market and H-E-B.
Now that I'm back home from vacation, I'm even more motivated to continue my exploration of Chicago-style deep-dish in Houston, if only because of my terrific experience at Lou Malnati's. In fact, I'm thinking of starting a public awareness campaign about the merits of deep-dish pizza in order to generate enough buzz to motivate some intrepid restaurateur and angel investors to start a Chi-town-comes-to-H-town pizza emporium.
But I'm getting ahead of myself. Let's go back to Lou Malnati's. I first tried Lou Malnati's about 18 years ago when I went to Chicago for a family wedding. I don't remember many details of this experience, though I do recall liking the pizza so much that I overate until I almost felt ill. In a subsequent trip to Chicago to visit my friends and sisters, I also visited Giordano's, which I also found very satisfying. These forays into the world of deep-dish pizza were, however, too far apart in time for me to make reasonable comparisons between the merits of these famous chains and their wares.
Deciding where to get deep-dish on this most recent trip to Chicago (and yes, there would for better or worse be only one place because there are far too many other foodstuffs I needed to sample) was at first a daunting task. My blurred memories of my own experiences weren't particularly helpful, and interweb opinions regarding the "best" or "most authentic" deep-dish pizza in Chicago were strongly divided. In the end, I was swayed by you, dear readers, particularly by your comments detailing a love for Lou Malnati's so strong it compelled you to order their pizzas flown frozen to your homes here in Houston.
Also two of their locations were extremely close to my sister's apartment! #mylazinessknowsnobounds
I am happy to report that in this case, proximity also happened to correlate with high quality. After my visit and learning a bit more about the restaurant's history, I know I made a good choice. More »
Deep-dish pizza at Lou Malnati's, or any of the more popular pizza joints in Chicago, can easily (and pleasurably) be a three-hour affair. Malnati's does not take reservations, and wait times even on weekdays average 45 minutes to an hour (more during major events, like the city's recent celebrations for the Blackhawks' victory). Deep-dish pizza requires around 35 minutes of oven time and since every pie is made to order, that period starts only after you make your pizza selections. (Malnati's does fortunately offer a system whereby you can place your order while standing in line to expedite your dining experience.)