Chicago’s Absolute Best Italian Restaurants

When most people think of Chicago-style pizza, they probably think of downtown tourist spots like Pizzeria Uno, Gino’s East, and Giordano’s — from theme park-sized temples to thick lasagna pies stuffed with sausage. and cheese. However, despite the kitschy fun of these pizzerias, most Chicagoans head to Pequod’s when that occasional craving for deep fare strikes. Like any good deep-dish destination, this one is steeped in history, showing just how intertwined Chicago’s pizza population truly is.

The original Pequod’s opened in 1970 in suburban Morton Grove, where the pizzeria developed a rapid fanfare for its deep-dish pizzas that are notable for their unique caramelized crusts (via Chicago Tribune). It was a technique where pizza makers lined the outside of the dough with mozzarella cheese, so that when cooked, it caramelized and developed an extra crispy texture, with a deep, buttery flavor. The original was the vision of the late Burt Katz, who went on to open his own famous pizzeria, the old Burt’s Place. After selling the original Pequod’s in 1986, the menu expanded to incorporate other Italian-American items, such as mozzarella sticks, bruschetta, spaghetti, ravioli, and garlic bread. Then, in 1992, Pequod’s expanded into the city with its popular Lincoln Park location, quickly establishing itself as one of the best pizzerias in a city renowned for its deep form.

Today, this cavernous, tavern-like restaurant still serves up some of the best pizza in Chicago, thanks to its seasoned techniques that set it apart from the local scrum. Most notably, the caramelized crust is a crisp contrast to the casserole-like layer of cheese and meat.

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