Pizza might have been an Italian dish to start with, but it’s now beloved around the world. So many different places have their own take on it, with Chicago’s and New York’s versions both up there as some of the greatest. Which of these U.S. heavyweights is the best of the best, though?
For pizza to become a thing in both cities, it had to be introduced to them first. Chicago and New York both have different histories regarding this dish, with the latter home to a pizzeria first. Gennaro Lombardi opened Lombardi’s in 1905, bringing Naples-style pizza to the Italians working in NYC. Over time, New Yorkers developed a taste for the food, which is how the restaurant has managed to survive for more than a century (bar the decade it was closed.) Over in Chicago, it wasn’t until the 1940s that someone opened a pizzeria. Ike Sewell was the man responsible for this, bringing Pizzeria Uno to the city after returning from Italy during World War II. His intention was to provide fellow returning soldiers with the taste sensation that they’d learned to love overseas. It wasn’t just veterans who developed a craving for Sewell’s pizza, though – it was most of Chicago.
If there’s anything that separates New York and Chicago pizza, it’s the crust. While New Yorkers like theirs to be thin and crunchy, Chicagoans are all about size. The thicker the crust, the better in their eyes. The latter is often harder to eat by hand, better done with a knife and fork. After all, it’s not usually just the crust that’s incredibly thick, but the base too. If New York pizza is all about sleek and elegance, Chicago pizza is definitely about getting more bang for your buck.
Their best restaurants
Visit New York or Chicago, and you won’t find it hard to get a good slice of pizza. However, given how many pizzerias there are now in both cities, it makes sense that some are better than others. In New York, Di Fara is one of the best for a classic NYC pizza, while Koronet Pizza often offers some of the best deals. Meanwhile, Artichoke Basille’s Pizza is a good option if you want to try something a little different. Over in Chicago, it’s Lou Malnati’s that’s usually best if you’re itching for an authentic take on the city’s version of pizza. Chicago’s Pizza is a good place to go if you want great value for money, while Bricks Pizza lets you try something a little rebellious.
At the end of it all it’s impossible to say which city makes the best pizza. After all, taste is often subjective, so what one person loves another will hate. In a way, it all depends on how you like your pizza made. If you want it thin, crunchy, and easy to eat with your hands, New York is the best option. However, if you prefer your pizza thicker and gooier, you’re not likely to be disappointed by what Chicago offers.