Chicago Deep-Dish Pizza Chains Ranked From Worst To Best

Pizza manifests its deliciousness in many forms. Whether it's a classic foldable slice from New York, the subtle char and chewy crust of a wood-fired pie, or the gloriously crispy cheese baked along the squared edges of a Detroit-style pan pizza, all of these culinary incarnations are perfectly valid and tasty in their own way. It follows that we all have our own preferences, often nostalgically tied to wherever we grew up. But the belly-busting deep-dish pizza from Chicago feels like it truly exists in a world of its own.

Thickly stacked with layers of cheese and meat and crowned with a circular swirl of slightly chunky tomato sauce, Chicago deep-dish pizza is then baked for about 40 minutes in a cast-iron pan (via Vice). Fresh out of the oven, the result is a thing of beauty and the epitome of caloric indulgence: a baked cheese bomb stuffed into a dough that's about as buttery and flaky as a biscuit. Densely rich and nearly overflowing with melted cheese, you're just about guaranteed to need a knife and fork to properly eat one of these pies.

Let's get one thing straight here: We ascribe to the belief that even when pizza isn't necessarily mind-blowing, it's usually still pretty good. That being said, variations in quality are inevitable. Which chains do it right and which ones fall a little short? Allow us to enlighten you. Here are Chicago deep-dish pizza chains ranked from worst to best.

Manhattan Chicago Pizza

With locations in Florida and Georgia, Manhattan Chicago Pizza prides itself on offering "the best of both worlds," by making New York-style pizzas and Chicago deep-dish pies. The relatively small operation also offers salads, pastas, calzones, strombolis, subs, and more. But the problem here is with the actual execution of its Chicago deep-dish pies. 

According to some diners on Yelp, Manhattan Chicago Pizza falls short of greatness on some crucial issues. While one diner chimed in to criticize the lack of filling inside of the crust, another straight up said this place made "the worst pizza" she'd ever had. Equally egregious, another Yelper who supposedly grew up in Chicago compared the deep-dish pizza to a "giant mushy calzone" and lambasted the restaurant for its "terrible and watery" pizza sauce. Ouch. Bad days are bound to happen once in a while, but it seems like Manhattan Chicago Pizza has had more than its fair share.

Beggars Pizza

Beggars Pizza is a Chicago deep-dish pizza chain with several locations throughout Illinois and Indiana. The menu offers everything from deep-dish pizza and chicken caesar wraps to bacon cheeseburgers. And while Beggars Pizza seems to have made a pretty good name for itself over the course of its 45-year career, there also seems to be a lot of inconsistency in the pizzas between locations.

One Beggars Pizza patron ordered two different pies and was so disappointed that she hopped on Yelp to share her dismay. Describing the pizza as "a mess" that looked like "a 2 year old put [it] together," the diner also indicated it was overbaked and recalled that it was like "chewing through a very tough steak." Other Yelpers have echoed similar sentiments, criticizing the taste and texture of the crust. Once again, we know that every restaurant has its trials and tribulations, but when these kinds of blunders become more commonplace, people lose trust and look elsewhere for their deep-dish pizza fix.

Edwardo's Natural Pizza

Edwardo's Natural Pizza opened its first location on the North side of Chicago back in 1978. Several decades later, it now operates locations in Illinois and Indiana and serves a menu with plenty to offer: deep-fried risotto balls, lemon poppy bucatini, Italian chopped salads, and of course, deep-dish pizzas. Unfortunately, based on what some diners are saying, the pizza can be hit or miss.

The general consensus among online critics seems to be that it's best to lower your expectations a bit before eating at Edwardo's. One diner took to Yelp to compare the food to a frozen pizza that you could buy at a grocery store. Another warned everyone that the recipe for the sauce appears to have changed over time and now tastes too spicy. 

There's no doubt that the sauce on Chicago deep-dish pizzas is just as important as the rest of the ingredients. It should definitely not be overly spicy –- if anything, the sauce should have a subtle sweetness to it, as recipes often call for a touch of sugar to cut down on the inherent tanginess of the tomatoes. The bottom line is that one of the most effective ways a restaurant can earn regular customers is through a track record of consistency. In Edwardo's case, it seems that the quality is a bit unpredictable.


PizzaPapalis is a pizza chain that specializes in Detroit-style and Chicago deep-dish pizzas. With a total of five locations spread around Michigan and Ohio, it has been in operation since 1986. In addition to pizzas, the menu at PizzaPapalis also offers calzones, classic subs, pastas, desserts, and more. 

While PizzaPapalis can usually do a decent job slapping together some tasty pies, sometimes it drops the ball. One patron on Yelp decided to warn everyone that what the restaurant makes "is not a Chicago style pizza." The Yelper goes on to explain that overall, the pizza is overpriced and bland. 

Apart from these comments, the small chain also offers a deep-dish seafood pie. Is it just us, or does a pizza layered with shrimp and fake crab meat underneath heaps of gooey cheese sound extremely unappealing? Seafood definitely isn't our first choice for pizza toppings, but even if it was, it would be on a New York-style pizza where the toppings are over the cheese so they can develop some texture in the oven. Seafood is delicious in the right context, but drowning under gobs of melted cheese in a Chicago-style deep-dish pizza? No thanks.

Pizzeria Pezzo

From here on out, the rest of these pizza chains are pretty stellar, with some minor differences that distinguish them from each other. Pizzeria Pezzo is a small pizza chain based in Minnesota that proudly uses fresh house-made ingredients to load up its Chicago-inspired deep-dish pies. In addition to Chicago deep-dish pies, Pizzeria Pezzo has a streamlined menu that also offers coal-fired pizzas, sandwiches, pastas, and several appetizers such as sausage-stuffed Italian mushrooms, lemon basil chicken wings, and mascarpone cheese dip.

The one issue we noticed at Pizzeria Pezzo concerns its distribution of toppings. We all know that toppings are a crucial part of the pizza experience –- too many can overwhelm the palate and jumble flavors that don't jibe well, while stinginess can render the pizza a bit boring and tasteless. One Yelper supposedly ordered a deep-dish pizza with extra sausage from Pizzeria Pezzo and was disappointed to find one measly piece of sausage per slice. It's highly possible this was an isolated incident and doesn't necessarily speak to a pattern of problems, but slip-ups like that are still a bummer when they happen.


Klavon's is based in Michigan and specializes in several types of pizza including Chicago-style deep-dish, Neapolitan, and Detroit-style. Its menu offers five different types of deep-dish pies, including classics loaded up with pepperoni and sausage and non-traditional pies. Of the former, you'll want to try the Philly cheesesteak-inspired pizza that comes with mushrooms, peppers, and a creamy garlic alfredo sauce or the barbecue chicken option with applewood-smoked bacon. Aside from pizza, Klavon's also has a lot of other offerings including delicious sandwiches, salads, craft beers, and cocktails.

With nearly 40 different traditional and gourmet toppings to choose from, this restaurant is a great choice for anyone who likes to customize their own deep-dish pizzas. Part of the beauty of Klavon's pizza is both the tastiness of the crust and its structural integrity. This is one of the few examples of a Chicago-style pizza that you can eat with your hands once you let the cheese settle. But don't mistake that as a sign that this pizza is any less filling. Klavon's is still very generous with its cheese and toppings, it all just happens to be so well-constructed and smartly proportioned that it holds together exceptionally well.

Chicago's Pizza

A small pizza chain with three locations in Chicago, Chicago's Pizza offers a spread of different pizzas that include gourmet, deep-dish, thin-crust, and stuffed-style pies. Its deep-dish pizzas have a crust that manages to stay crispy on the bottom yet flaky along the rim. Prepared with fresh tomato sauce that's made in-house, the pies are dusted with a Parmesan spice mix and then baked in the oven for about half an hour.

There are four different deep-dish pies to choose from: plain cheese, vegetarian, supreme (with pepperoni, mushrooms, green peppers, and onions), and special (with Italian sausage, mushrooms, green onions, and peppers). One advantage that puts Chicago's Pizza a little bit ahead of some of its competitors is that it sells pizza by the slice, which is harder to find when it comes to deep-dish style pies. 

The only thing holding Chicago's Pizza back is that the assortment of deep-dish pies on the menu is a bit limited, although you can opt to customize your own if you prefer. Considering there are about 30 different kinds of awesome sandwiches on the menu, over 20 types of pasta dishes, and eight kinds of burgers, we'd love to see the same expansive and inventive approach applied to the deep-dish section of the menu.


Based out of California, Rance's Chicago Pizza offers three kinds of pies — tavern-style, deep-dish, and stuffed pizzas — and nine different specialty pies that can be made in any of these three styles. While Rance's has more traditional pizzas like the house special with sausage, peppers, mushrooms, and onions, it also offers some creative twists like Rance's favorite with meatballs, jalapeños, and fresh bacon bits. Some other specialty pizzas include the spicy Hawaiian with Canadian bacon, pineapples, and jalapeños and a pie with spinach and grilled chicken tossed in pesto.

It's the specialty pies and Rance's take & bake pizzas that help it stand out from the crowd. Partially pre-cooked at the restaurant, these pizzas only need about 15 minutes in the oven and make a great option when you'd rather enjoy Chicago-style pizza from the comfort of your own home. With dough, sauce, and salad dressings all made from scratch, it's easy to see why Rance's has become a favorite among Chicago-style pizza fans.


With a couple of locations in Chicago, Bartoli's was founded in 2013 by Brian Tondryk who was inspired by the success of his grandfather's pizza business. With seven different pizzas to choose from and over 30 toppings to help you customize any pie to your liking, it has a well-curated and streamlined menu that also offers sandwiches, starters, sides, and salads. It's no wonder that Chicago Magazine placed Bartoli's in its top ten pizza restaurants in town.

One of Bartoli's more intriguing specialty pies, the alfredo, comes with fresh mozzarella and homemade alfredo sauce. This pie can be made in one of two ways, depending on your preference: with chicken, roasted red peppers, and artichokes, or with chicken, broccoli, and mushrooms. Another specialty pie is the diavolo, loaded up with soppressata, capocollo, ricotta cheese, Calabrian chili peppers, and hot honey. Creatively flavorful offerings like these are a big reason why Bartoli's is quickly making a name for itself, despite high competition in a city teeming with deep-dish pizza options.


Pizano's is the descendant of a legendary pizza dynasty in Chicago. Started up by the son of Rudy Malnati — the longstanding manager of Pizzeria Uno, the original deep-dish pizza chain, per Culinary Historian –- Pizano's opened up shop in 1991. The restaurant offers deep-dish and thin-crust pizzas, over a dozen types of pasta, soups, salads, and sandwiches.

With nostalgic checkered tables and a traditional menu that offers all the classics, Pizano's isn't necessarily pushing the boundaries, but it's delicious and dependable. According to Condé Nast Traveler, the pizza at Pizano's is superb and should be on everyone's bucket list when they're in the city. Even though Pizano's hasn't been around quite as long as other famous pizza joints in Chicago, it's still widely respected and continues to make a name for itself. Renowned for its buttery and flaky crust, it's no wonder Pizano's has received glowing reviews featured in outlets like Zagat, USA Today, and ESPN Monday night football.

Lou Malnati's

A well-known staple in Chicago for generations, Lou Malnati got his start in the business by working at Pizzeria Uno before opening up his own deep-dish pizzeria in 1971. There's a lot that makes the pizza special at Lou Malnati's. Every pie is made from scratch with fresh ingredients, the sausage is carefully seasoned to the restaurant's specific standards, and then, of course, there's the family's secret recipe for its legendary crust.

Aside from this, Lou Malnati's has also been sourcing its mozzarella cheese from the same dairy farm in Wisconsin for more than 40 years, and staff meets with tomato farmers in California yearly to choose the best vine-ripened tomatoes for the sauce. It's this attention to detail and passion for quality that have helped Lou Malnati's achieve a reputation for excellence. All of these factors combined with the restaurant's legacy in Chicago puts it miles ahead of most of the competition.


Rosati's has locations across 13 states and has been in business since 1964. While the Chicago chain also sells pastas, salads, and sandwiches, your best bet is shooting for the deep-dish pizzas or calzones. For those feeling extra ravenous, there's the heavyweight option with extra sausage, extra pepperoni, and extra cheese. Vegetarians will enjoy the spinach classic with spinach, fresh garlic, and tomato or the vegetarian deluxe with mushrooms, onions, green peppers, and fresh tomato. There are more modern twists too, like the BBQ special with sausage, onion, bacon, and barbecue sauce.

According to News-Press, while the appetizers are nothing to write home about, the pizzas are generously stacked with toppings with a deliciously buttery crust. Between the stellar pies and the craft beers on tap, there's no doubt that Rosati's is one of the most solid Chicago-style pizza chains in the business. Since the owners decided to franchise the business decades ago back in 1979, Rosati's has been expanding around the country — so be sure to keep an eye out for a location near you.

Nancy's Pizzeria

Famous for its deep-dish stuffed-style pizzas, Nancy's Pizzeria has been open since 1971. Today, the restaurant boasts over a dozen locations in Chicago and a few more spots scattered around Atlanta and other areas. At Nancy's, you can customize your own pizza or choose from one of the eight creations on the menu. Those looking for a bold kick of flavor with subtle heat are sure to love the spicy pepino, which comes with hot giardiniera, pepperoni, and banana peppers. The Northern Italian veggie is another all-star on the menu with roasted red peppers, fresh garlic, black olives, and basil. It's clear from the first bite that Nancy's puts a lot of thought into its topping combinations and it really comes through in the exceptionally delicious pies.

One aspect that sets Nancy's apart from the crowd is the fact that just about everything on its menu is consistently amazing. While other chains with extensive menus fail to execute some of their dishes, Nancy's pulls it off in every arena. The deep-dish pies are luxuriously cheesy with perfectly blended and seasoned tomato sauce, and other classics like the fettuccine alfredo are sure to leave you impressed too. No matter what you choose to order at Nancy's, you're buckled in for a mouth-watering experience.

Gino's East

Now we're moving into the coveted top three, where Gino's East undeniably deserves a solid spot. Since its start in 1966, Gino's East offers nine deep-dish pies, some of which may truly surprise you. One of these inventive offerings includes the burger and fries, which comes with –- you guessed it -– ground beef, french fries, chopped onions, tomato slices, dill pickles, shredded lettuce, and thousand island dressing. While that may not appeal to all the deep-dish pizza purists out there, we'd say ignore the naysayers and give it a go; it's easily one of the most indulgent and satisfying pizzas we've ever had. Straddling the line somewhere between classic Italian and top-notch diner food, it's hard to imagine a pizza that perfectly captures two of America's favorite foods better than this pie.

Of course, there are still the classics for those less adventurous diners out there, like Gino's supreme with pepperoni or Italian sausage, onions, peppers, and mushrooms. Aside from making extraordinary pizzas, Gino's East also gives back to the community. Whether it's handing out gift cards during the holidays or helping to combat hunger in the LGBTQ community, Gino's is a force for good that's filling the hearts and bellies of everyone who walks through its doors.

Uno Pizzeria

With about 75 locations under its belt, Uno Pizzeria is widely considered ground zero for the development of deep-dish pizza (via BBC). Uno offers nine deep-dish specialty pies and the option to customize your own pizza. One of our favorites is the Chicago meat market, which comes with sausage, meatballs, pepperoni, and a thick layer of cheese. Another solid option is the farmer's market pie with caramelized onions, fresh spinach, sun-dried and plum tomatoes, pesto, roasted eggplant, feta, mozzarella, and Pecorino Romano cheese. The meatball and ricotta is another grand slam of flavor, as the creamy ricotta is the perfect pairing for the seasoned saltiness of the beef and pork meatballs.

Over the years, Uno has grown equally focused on its line of unique craft beers, offering tons of fresh local brews distinct to each of its locations. Between Uno's incredible pizza, awesome craft beers, and historical relevance in the development of deep-dish pies, there's no doubt that this is one of the very best deep-dish pizza chains in the country.


There's a reason Giordano's is one of the biggest deep-dish pizza chains around, with nearly 70 locations spread across the country. What started as a Giordano family tradition in Italy soon found success in Chicago, when two brothers decided to share their family recipe and open up Giordano's in 1974. The restaurant offers eight different deep-dish pies that include all of the classic toppings such as sausage, peppers, onions, and mushrooms.

What really sets Giordano's apart is the attention to detail. The crust has a flawless flavor and texture, there's just the right amount of cheese and toppings, and the pies are expertly baked and pulled from the oven with perfect timing. Even though the business has branched out and opened up more locations, it hasn't lost any of its commitment to quality. Beloved by locals and newcomers and touted as Chicago's best pizza by countless respected news outlets like Chicago Magazine and The New York Times, it's clear that Giordano's is at the top of the game when it comes to deep-dish.