By Mike Lintal
Pizza. Is. Delicious. I have known this to be true since I was knee-high to a grasshopper. There are three things that qualify me as an expert in Pizzaology:
1. I grew up on the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles;
2. My great-great-great-great-great-great grandfather knew the guy who folded the first pizza slice in Italy; and
3. This is the internet, and by internet law, anyone with a computer can claim to be an expert.
As a resident of Chicago, I have occasionally found myself in a heated debate over “pizza.” I say “pizza” because I did not grow up in Chi-Town, and so I have a different definition of pizza than my adopted hometown’s deep-dish def.
I’m not saying this to reopen wounds from Jon Stewart’s deep-dish rant and incite the fury of my “beloved” mayor. I readily acknowledge that this city loves its deep-dish, I believe mainly because it’s what people outside of Chicago know Chicago for.
I’m serious. Every person who has visited me since I moved here in 2010 has asked, “Where’s your favorite deep-dish pizza spot?”
My (polite) answer: I have none.
Blame my biased East Coast childhood, but the Ninja Turtles and I only knew about the #ThinCrustLife. My No. 1 slice anywhere in the world is in Corning, N.Y., at a little place called Aniello’s Pizzeria. To this day, I have never had a better slice, and they care about the customer’s needs.
I have entered these discussions with as open a mind as a transplanted Italian East Coaster can have, but the more I have the debate, the more I’ve found the deep-dish argument to be flawed. Yeah, Chicagoans will blindly defend their saucy casserole, but do they eat it on the reg? More often than not, they only eat the stuff when:
1. Friends/family visit from out of town.
2. It’s the catered lunch option in the office. (Sidenote: Office managers, stop this cruel joke!)
That’s it. The rest of the time, the skinny pie wins. When given the option of free thin-crust or free deep-dish (which comes with a complimentary side of after-meal pain and regret) locals tend to go with the slice that folds.
That’s how I see it, but don’t take this “expert”’s word for it; do your own research. Go eat a slice of each and tell me which you prefer. Don’t worry, I’ll wait.
What’s that? You can’t get deep-dish that fast? It will take nearly an hour to bake? But how can that be? Won’t the cheese on top burn? WHAT?!?! They put the cheese under the sauce?
Okay; new plan. The fine people at Tasting Table have put together lists of their favorite Chicago Deep-Dish and New York Neapolitan Pizza places. Check out their ratings, decide what sounds better to you, and let me know where your allegiances lie. If enough of you weigh in, we’ll devote a future Foodie Friday to a more in-depth exploration of the debate.
But take your time; I’ll wait. I have friends in from out of town and they wanted deep-dish. I’ll be here another hour. At least.
Mike Lintal is an avid beer hunter, seeker of tasty treats and Event Coordinator at The Chopping Block in Chicago.