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Fernando Wheeler

All posts by Fernando Wheeler

Historical Roots Of & Where To Get the Best Deep Dish Pizza in Chicago!

Today, we are going to explore the lovely topic of the deep dish pizza and how and why it originated in Chicago, lovably termed, the Chicago deep dish pizza! We will also cover the BEST deep dish pizza in Chicago in another minute.  Hold on to your bibs, Kids!

How Did The Idea of Chicago Deep Dish Pizza Originate?

The pizza craze started in the U.S. back in the 19th century. It was marked by the arrival of the Neapolitans from Europe, who had an understanding and love for good old Italian pizza. They arrived in the U.S. in search of the many industrial jobs that the U.S. had to offer.

 

chicago deep dish pizza thanks to immigrants!

 

Since Chicago was a budding hub of industrial development, the need arose to create food that was well suited for the hard working society. This resulted in the creation of the now much loved deep dish pizza. Straying away from the thin crust pizzas that were up for display in the rest of the country, the deep dish created quite a niche for itself. Instead of a thin curst, it had a thick crust coupled with an inverted layer of cheese, meat, and tomatoes.

chicago deep dish pizza

 

Chicago is now as much known for its deep-dish pizza as it is for being the Windy City and the home of Wrigley Field.

The History Of The Deep Dish Pizza

As mentioned before, the 19th century symbolized the arrival of Europeans looking for factory jobs in the U.S. Since most of them were poor, the pizza was their main source of nutrition. This led to the creation of the deep-dish by two entrepreneurs, Ike Sewell and Ric Riccardo, and that led them to open the first deep-dish pizzeria, “Pizzeria Uno”, in the year 1943. This is Ike Sewell:

 

history of deep dish pizza - Ike Sewell of Pizzeria Uno

 

The Chicago deep dish pizza was a far cry from the thin crust that the Italians were so used to. It was a good mix of thick crust pizza filled with an inverted layer of tomatoes, mozzarella, and meat for the ones who could afford it. It was well suited to the economic situation of the World War era, since most of the basic amenities were in short supply.

The rations for wheat flour, oil, salt, and yeast were more readily available. This, in turn, led to the extreme popularity of the deep-dish pizza.

 

deep dish pizza chicago

 

The Criticism: Chicago’s Deep Dish Pizza An Abomination?!

Most of the critics called this take on pizza an “abomination”, something that brought ruin to the name of the original pizza they dearly loved. These very critics are the ones who push away almost anything that is beyond their one track way of thinking. Comics also joined them, going against the pizza for its “oh-so-inferior” quality.

But contrary to such criticism, deep dish pizza has found semblance amongst the populace of Chicago, and it isn’t just restricted to the Windy City. Pizzeria Uno has over 200 branches today, serving as far and wide as South Korea! This is quite telling of the popularity that the deep dish has garnered over the years, having been unique in its approach and taste.

 

pizeria Uno in in korea

 

More Controversy Over the Deep Dish Pizza?

There is another storyline that runs parallel to the one mentioned above, which could make for a great suspense novel! According to some, the pizza wasn’t devised by Ike and Ric as they had been claiming over the years, but by their head chef, Rudy Malnati. The Malnati family is a name to reckon with in the pizzeria business, and as per the claims made by them, they were the real progenitors of the recipe.

the malnati family who may have created chicago deep dish pizza

The fact that there is no evidence to prove that Ric and Ike were any good in the kitchen only adds fuel to such a claim. According to Rudy Malnati, Ike and Ric were the brains behind the business, but he was the man in the kitchen. They had one simple job: to stand on the street corners and get passersbys into giving the pizza a taste.

Going by the Malnati story, it is also believed that after the death of Riccardo, Rudy Malnati Sr and his son, Lou Malnati, stayed to look after the business. But after the death of Rudy Malnati, his son was at odds with the new management, having been told that he was just a nominal employee. This digression led to him opening his own business, Lou Malnati’s Pizzeria, in 1971 on the north shore suburb of Lincolnwood.

 

The Deep Dish Pizza’s Relationship With Chicago

Since the creation of the deep dish pizza, it has made quite a name for itself. Having been named the “Chicago deep dish pizza”, it was bound to bring prosperity to the city of its origin. Not a single mention of pizza is done without calling out the deep dish, which is among the few thick crust offerings that the U.S. now presents to the nation.

Due to the uniqueness of the deep-dish, coupled with its tangy taste based on the bounteous usage of tomatoes, it has propelled Chicago into the limelight.

 

The 3 Best Deep Dish Pizzas In Chicago!

Now, time for the fun part! If you live in Chicago, no doubt you already known the best hotspots to serve your needs for a Chicago deep dish!  However, if you’re a tourist, you want to know where to experience the best deep dish pizzas in Chicago.

There is no way that anyone should not experience this classic beauty while in Chicago… so without further ado, following are the restaurants where you can get the best deep dish pizza in Chicago:

#1. Lou Malnati’s Pizzeria

Straying away from Pizzeria Uno had worked wonders for Lou Malnati. He has created a variant of the Chicago deep dish pizza that resembles the original method of creation, albeit tangier with a larger helping of tomatoes, lighter cheese and a unique layer of “butter crust”. The butter crust is created after leaving some space in the dish to accommodate a good helping of butter.

 

best deep dish pizza in Chicago - malnati's pizza

 

The Malnati Chicago Classic, their trademark dish, is one that should be sought after. It strays away from the olive oil-made dough of the traditional deep-dish, to create a perfect blend of buttery crust, sausage, and extra cheese!

#2. Gino’s East

This restaurant was founded 23 years after Pizzeria Uno, the second such pizzeria catering to the admirers of the deep dish pizza. The owners, Sam Levine and Fred Balotelli, hired former Uno cooks (sisters Alice May Redmond and Ruth Hadley) to retain the flavor of the original. The joint still stands today, with the insides contoured with hand-made graffiti created along the years.

Their most famous pizza is the deep dish crafted using cornmeal-tinted crust with huge helpings of marinara sauce.

 

best deep dish pizza in Chicago - gino's east

#3. Pizzeria Uno / Uno Chicago Grill

This still remains a great place to visit if you are looking forward to tasting the “original” deep dish pizza that started it all. “Uno Chicago Grill”, still remains the one with the most visitors. It is dimly lit, with wooden tables, checkered walls adorned with graffiti, and a long line of visitors waiting for their turn.

Make sure that you reserve a spot prior to visiting!

 

best deep dish pizza in Chicago - pizzeria uno

Did we leave anything out?  Agree or Disagree with us? Let us know in the comments, Chicagoans and others who have tasted some incredible Chicago deep dish pizzas!

Wrigley Field – Past, Present, & Future Of Wrigley Field Cubs World Champions!

Wrigley Field in Chicago, Illinois, is the second oldest ballpark in baseball, close behind Fenway Park in Boston (home to the Red Sox). Nicknamed  ‘Friendly Confines,’ it still retains the authenticity of the old days. When fans come to cheer the Cubs, they don’t miss out on spotting a few highlights, like the marquee located outside their home plate entrance, ivy covered outfield walls, their classic hand-operated scoreboard, and more.

 

wrigley field

 

History Of Wrigley Field

The existence of Wrigley Field dates back to before the beginning of World War I, when Charles Weeghman acquired the Chicago Whales. He formed a new team in the ballpark, which was then located in an undeveloped side of Chicago. He hired Zachary Taylor Davis to plan the development of Wrigley Field, and it was thereafter named ‘North Side Park.’ It was later named after Charles as the ‘Weeghman Field.’

The construction of the ballpark started on March 14, 1914, and ended on April 23, 1914, which also marked the first game played by the Whales. It turned into a 14,000 seat ballpark, with one exclusive V-shaped Grandstand and wooden bleachers all around. The original dimension of Weeghman Field was 310 ft. to the left, 356 ft to the right, and 440 ft in the middle. It was also the first ever ballpark to have fixed concession stands. The Chicago Whales would only play for two years because the Federal League soon went bankrupt.

The Cubs used to play on the West Side Grounds from 1893, but by 1915 they were struggling for an audience. Charles Weeghman acquired them later that year and shifted the team to his field for the following season. Their first game was on April 20, 1916, and the ballpark was renamed ‘Cubs Park’ after Weeghman sold his acquisition to William Wrigley Jr.

 

old wrigley field

 

During the early months of 1923, the park went through renovations. The Grandstand moved 60 ft back and there were new installations of wooden bleachers. This increased the capacity of the park to 20,000. It was further renovated in 1926, and the park was finally named ‘Wrigley Field’. There was then a double deck for the Grandstand, bleachers were moved from the left field, the playing area was lowered and the capacity reached 38,396.

There were more implementations by 1937, and bleachers were constructed in the outfield. This was also when their renowned 27 by 75 ft hand-operated scoreboard was planted right behind the centerfield seating. The other highlight of ivy was also incorporated at this time. The lights were installed before the season of 1942, but were donated to the government for World War II.

Post World War II Scene

After the 1940s, there was little change in the field to keep a note of. In 1981, the Cubs were acquired by the Tribune Company and in 1982, there was an electronic board installed under the old scoreboard:

 

wrigley field scoreboard

 

After many disapprovals and threats, the Cubs were allowed to install lights on the field. The first night game took place on August 8, 1988. There were private boxes constructed in 1989, on a mezzanine level which was initially used for broadcasting and the press. There was another one constructed in the upper deck right behind home plate.

There were 200 seats added right behind home plate after the 2003 season which brought the audience closer to the field. There was a further addition of 1,800 seats in 2005, increasing the capacity to about 41,000 people.

Wrigley Field was previously known to have a bad grass field because the infield crown extended 40 ft towards the outfield. Players ran up and down a hill during their games! This problem was resolved in 2007, with the help of a reformed drainage system. The playing field was then replaced with artificial grass.

Present Scene For the Wrigley Field

Wrigley Field is now the only existing Federal League ballpark. However, with all the lights and video board, it retains that old fashioned feel. One amusing fact about the field is that they don’t allow advertisements. However, many can be found on the sides of buildings in the neighborhood.

 

ads on buildings behind wrigley field cubs stadium

 

Wrigleyville, the vicinity around Wrigley Field, bustles with ballhawks on game days. They wait at Waveland Avenue to catch home run balls. Lots of people sit on top of the building located behind the field to watch the game action. The ivy still overshadows the brick walls, while the scoreboard is manually operated. The neighborhood usually makes parking difficult for the games. Fans often opt to ride the CTA red line train to the Addison stop and then get to the field.

Wrigley Field is the home of the Cubs, but it was also home to the Chicago Bears from 1921-1970 before they moved to Soldier Field. This historic area is currently undergoing a massive change, which is likely to revamp it like never before.

 

the bears

 

Current Renovations At the Wrigley Field

After the renovations of 1937, the next big transformation is to overhaul all the facilities. It started after the 2014 season and is called the ‘1060 Project’. With a requirement of $575 million, it is all set to be complete in 2019.

 

cubs stadium wrigley field renovations

 

Every section of Wrigley Field will be upgraded, and it has already started with the outfield. The Cubs moved the exterior walls into Waveland and Sheffield Avenues to expand bleachers, which will add 300 more seats, and add concessions. One of the most striking additions is the HD video board of 95 x 42 ft to the left. There will also be another 2,250 square feet video board to the right.

Chicago Cubs Achievements

The Chicago Cubs took part in 11 World Series so far. In 1906, they lost to the White Sox 4 games to 2, but made it back to the World Series in 1907 and 1908, being the first team to play 3 straight years back to back. They were also the first team to win twice, but after that they went 108 years without a World Series win. It was the longest occurrence in all of the American sports.

 

Wrigley Field - Home of Chicago Cubs World Champions!

 

The Chicago Cubs were termed ‘Lovable Losers’ with multiple losing seasons. With superstars like Anthony Rizzo and Kris Bryant, the team accomplished their first World Series Championship since 1908, in 2016, after winning against the Cleveland Indians. Certain players on the Cubs were inducted into the Hall of Fame. They include Ernie Banks, Greg Maddux, Ryne Sandberg, Ron Santo, and others.

Welcome to Chicago-HQ!

Welcome to our website, Chicago-HQ, where we plan on sharing EVERYTHING about the city of Chicago, favorably known as the Windy City. The following video shows you everything you can do in Chicago in just a day: it showcases iconic spots and showcases the city in a beautiful way.

Welcome to Chicago!