First things first, allow me to set the stage for this pizza review. Prior to consuming this pizza, I experienced three nights straight of less than 5 hrs of sleep, two straight days of hangovers, 4 hours of flying, around 9 hours of driving, bitter cold temperatures, snow, a cancelled flight, lots of alcohol, and not lots of food. So it’s safe to say that I did not want this pizza, I needed this pizza.
My unintended extra night in Chicago was a blessing in disguise, as it afforded me the opportunity to indulge in an authentic Chicago deep dish. My extreme tiredness and lack of desire to venture outside in a snowstorm limited me to only delivery options, but luckily, one of Chicago’s oldest and most celebrated deep dish pizzerias was close by and delivered. And soon, a warm and delicious pepperoni deep dish from Lou Malnati’s was at my door.
Lou Malnati’s has been serving up its handmade deep dish delights since 1971, with locations all over Chicago. Their secret recipe for their buttery, flakey crust sets it apart from its many competitors, and is likely a big part of why it’s often called the best pizza in Chicago.
In order to meet the delivery minimum, I happily placed an order for a small over a personal sized pizza, because I was hungry and believed in myself. Deep dish pizza being what it is though, I only got through two slices before giving up and accepting that the rest could be lunch the next day. (A great decision on my part TBH.) In our other reviews of deep dish pizza in Seattle (Paxti’s and Windy City Pie), my recurring comment was that the crust didn’t seem like what I’d had in Chicago. With Lou Malnati’s, I confirmed this. Their crust is what deep dish crust should be – buttery, flakey, and cooked to perfection. As a person who loves a cheesey pizza, I appreciated the deep layers of cheese. The sauce and pepperoni were flavourful without being combative or overpowering. My one complaint – if you can call it that – was the big chunks of tomato. Now, Lou Malnati’s prides themselves on these tomatoes, traveling to California annually to meet with growers and ensuring the best possible tomatoes. This is all lost on me though, because I don’t really like tomatoes. Once I figured out I didn’t really like their tomatoes, though, I simply removed them, and was back in my pizza happy place.
As I mentioned, I saved half of the pizza for the next day. Typically, I don’t like reheated pizza as much as I like it fresh out of the oven. But this pizza was a different story. I actually liked the reheated, next-day version of this pizza even better. This greatly increases this pizza’s value for me because I could realistically order a big one and happily feed myself for many days….if I lived in Chicago.
Overall, Lou Malnati’s really hit the spot on a day when I really needed it to. I’d love the opportunity to go back and try it in the restaurant, and possibly sample against some other big players in Chicago, but for now, I give this pizza a 4 out of 5.