Not every Phoenician is a deep-dish fan.
Not every Phoenician is a deep-dish fan.
Courtesy of Lou Malnati's

Chicago Deep-Dish Pizza is Vastly Overrated

You might not be able to get people to weigh in on the current political situation, but ask people to make a choice between thin- or thick-crust pizza and watch a line get drawn and bodies tackle one another to take a stance.

Proving my point is the way people around the Valley reacted when, months prior to their opening, it was announced that Chicago deep-dish stalwart Lou Malnati’s was planning to set up shop right here in the desert. Even though plenty of shops here in town serve deep-dish pies, bringing this old-school Chicago style (invented by Pizzeria Uno back in the '40s) set off a collectively psychotic reaction.

Were people excited? Understatement! There were texts. Social media blew up; there were tweets and Facebook posts galore. News articles were shared. A zillion locals got another chance to use the tired phrase, “put it in my belly,” to talk about another food they couldn’t wait to wolf down. Minds were blown.

That ubiquitous fucking mic that’s always dropping, dropped.

Got it? For some, the deeper the dish, the greater the joy. Not me.

Nothing against Lou Malnati, Gino’s East (another Chi-town fave opening a location here), Chicago, or food with density and depth, but deep-dish pizza, I think you’re overrated.

If I’m not heard from again after expressing that sentiment, consider sending a search party.

It’s not that I don’t take pizza seriously. Like pretty much everyone, I love the hell out of it. I have been known to subscribe to the “even shitty pizza is good pizza” rule. ‘Cause let’s face it, at 2 a.m., wrapped in the warmth of a few stiff cocktails, even Totino’s looks good.

But deep-dish lovers, what’s the big deal? It’s redundant. It’s pizza on steroids. It’s pizza that seems like it works out not to be healthy but to rub its cheesy muscles in thin crust’s face. It is the savory equivalent of the seven-layer cake (fighting words?).

And if it’s not done right, it’s watery AF. All that extra room that you’re so jazzed about? It opens the whole thing up to more ingredients like spinach, mushrooms, tomatoes, and the cheese, all of which, when served in huge quantities, result in a puddle. There’s that buttery crust you can’t get enough of, lounging and getting soggy as you strap on your life jacket and try to swim to it through all the other ingredients before it turns into a useless chunk of wet bread.

Even the classic sausage variety is overwhelming. The seasonings in Italian sausage are powerful and make it stand out. This mattress-like layer of meat just ends up creating a competition between all the other toppings for a little recognition. See? Deep-dish pizza is fighting with itself!

Pizza is an on-the-go food, but don’t even bother trying to pick this stuff up. There’s no chilling on the couch, phone in one hand as the other pulls a slice away from your face and the cheese stretches into a thin chain you break with your teeth.

While this is a plate-and-fork affair that many are happy to engage in, for me, flat and foldable will always have my heart.

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