Pizza – a War for Hearts and Minds

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When Bro and Bride came to town, we had to get pizza. In fact, Bro had a strong opinion about where to go for it.

There are at least as many different opinions about pizza as there are pizza purveyors. There’s the pizza rivalry between Chicago and New York, recently highlighted by Jon Stewart.

The easy thing to say is that New York pizza is thin and floppy—something you can fold up like a crepe and eat while you’re walking down the street, while Chicago pizza is thick and gloppy, and you have to eat it with a knife and fork, like—as Jon Stewart would say—a casserole.

I don’t know from New York pizza. I only ever had it—or something that was called “New York pizza”—when I went to Wash U in St. Louis. On Sunday nights, when the food service was closed, we often frequented Talayna’s, which I recently discovered is Yiddish for Italian. Talayna’s served what they called New York pizza and Chicago pizza. Since their Chicago pizza wasn’t what I remembered from home, I wasn’t willing to accept that their version of New York pizza was especially authentic either. For Talayna’s purposes, New York and Chicago were code for thin or thick crust, which is how many people think.

The reality is more complicated. There are varying thicknesses of pizza in Chicago, and I’ve been known to indulge in, um, all of the above. Usually I save deep dish (or stuffed, and there is a difference) pizza for special occasions, because it’s very rich. For thin crust, I  like Rosati’s if we bring it home and Home Run Inn if we eat it there.

But, ah—deep dish pizza. At the right place it’s great, at the wrong place it’s either inconsistent or just plain gloppy. The epic tale of Chicago thick crust pizza moguls  is almost the stuff of Greek theatre. Though with the Italian influence, we probably ought to go with opera instead. Somebody write the Chicago Pizza Opera, please! Stolen secret recipes! Betrayal! Revenge! I’d go to the Lyric opening night to hear that one.

An interesting article from the BBC travel site explores the story in some depth, and also divulges their favorite.

As for me, I’ve had Uno’s/Due’s, Gino’s East, My Pie (or My π, if you prefer) and Giordanos. Lately? I have to agree with BK, Bro and the BBC reviewer. Pizano’s.

But if you want to judge for yourself, maybe you should book a Chicago pizza tour

The next time Bro comes to town, we may do that. Purely in the name of research, you understand.

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