We arrived in Chicago late on a Wednesday night. We were so excited to try the world famous Chicago deep dish pizza that we neglected having dinner on the road in hopes of catching a pizzeria before it closed. Several GPS re-programmings later we stopped in a less than stellar part of Chicago only to discover the pizzeria had closed and we had missed our opportunity. With our stomachs disappointed we drove to the hotel in silence and ate from the cooler of goodies that we had collected on our trip - goat cheese from Colorado, deli meats from whichever Whole Foods we visited last and a loaf of bread from the Denver Bread Company.
The next day Chicago was hot and humid, not exactly deep dish pizza weather but we were on a mission. We opted to go to Pizzeria Uno where owner Ike Sewell and chef Rudy Malnati created in 1943 what would become a world famous style of pizza. When we arrived at the Ohio St location we entered a small waiting room where we were given a menu and told to place our order before being seated because it would take an hour for the pizza to be cooked and 30 minutes for us to get a seat. It didn't take too long before our names were called and we were seated at a small table a little too close to the side of the bar.
The boyfriend and I ordered individual small pizzas - we couldn't agree on toppings and didn't want to share. He ordered some strange combination of toppings which I don't remember but looked mushroom heavy where I ordered the decadent Numero Uno. When the pizzas arrived our waitress served us the first slice and I was amazed at how pie like it was. The crust was buttery and crisp on the exterior while the inside was moist and thick with layers of toppings. The Numero Uno includes generous amounts of cheese, sausage, pepperoni, onions, mushrooms and green peppers - the perfect blend of everything. While the boyfriend didn't enjoy how over the top the pizza was I loved it. The decadence, heartiness and the flavour of all of the toppings with the crust - it was unlike any pizza I've ever had before. It's no wonder that some Chicago pizzerias actually sell frozen versions of their pizzas for us tourists to take home.
I devoured my pizza. The only reason I stopped eaten was because of the deep dish sundae I spied on the menu when we sat down to wait for our pizzas. Talk about decadence. They bake a chocolate chip cookie in a deep dish pizza pan, put a scoop or two of vanilla ice cream on top and cover it with chocolate syrup and whipped cream. I ate most of it.
Yes, Pizzeria Uno is a big tourist destination that probably isn't frequented by locals much. It's also turned into a worldwide chain with locations in South Korea and the United Arab Emirates as well as locations across the United States of America. But the food is good and if you're in Chicago it's worth a wait to get a deep dish pizza at the place that started it all.