It may not seem possible, but good deep-dish does exist outside of Chicago. Although it’s mainly made by Chicagoans who have fled the harsh winters of the homeland in favor of year-round sunny skies, there are other people who have honed the craft of a good deep-dish pie without the benefit of Chicago roots.
And thank goodness for that! What’s a world without a thick, cheesy slice of spinach pie? Sauce on top, naturally. While some New Yorkers may call this Midwestern staple a casserole — as opposed to their $1 cardboard? We’ll take our casserole, thanks — deep-dish is a beloved pizza tradition that takes a lot of skill and love and time to re-create. Let’s face it, all pizza places offering deep-dish can’t be Lou’s.
Craving a taste of Chi-town out of town? Check out the best deep-dish pizza outside of Chicago and let that Windy City-inspired sausage, onion, and green pepper pie soothe your soul.
Anthony’s is an Ann Arbor fan favorite for some of the best deep-dish outside of Chicago. Michigan is Chicago’s friendly neighbor to the northeast, and many a Chicagoan who has relocated there has commented on Anthony’s Gourmet Pizza’s Yelp page calling it a taste of home. “As someone who grew up in the suburbs of Chicago, I love all things about Chicago-style pizza. Anthony's is the closest thing to Chicago deep-dish pizza I've had outside of the windy city,” read a review. Guests have also raved about their plethora of fresh toppings. Giordano’s, eat your heart out!
You wouldn’t expect to find good deep-dish in the heart of Hollywood, but Blackbird Pizza Shop does it right. With traditional Chi-City flavor combinations like the “Spicy Italian,” made with pork sausage, mushrooms, pepperoncini, and mozzarella as well as LA-friendly options like their “El Chingon,” which is made with house-made chorizo, pickled jalapeño, red onion, avocado, and cilantro, this Melrose Avenue pizza shop will appeal to the hungry Chicagoan in even the most hipster Angeleno.
If you’re looking for that old-school Chicago pizzeria vibe in San Francisco, hit up Capo’s. Their classic Chicago-style deep-dish is one of the best in the Bay Area, and for good reason. Owner Tony Gemignani is a 12-time world pizza champion who has studied Chicago pies and has recreating them down to a science. Although some reviewers complained about the wait (fresh deep-dish pies typically take 20 to 30 minutes to come out), one reviewer said, “When it did finally come out, it practically descended from heaven on a ray of light, accompanied by a chorus of angels.”
Owned by a former Chicagoan, Frankie’s has been making pizza with a family-secret recipe since 1988. Frankie’s makes their pizza dough in-house every day, and boasts a menu of traditional Chicago flavor combinations as well as Midwestern favorites like mac and cheese pizza and chicken ranch supreme. Not only do they serve up the most fantastic deep-dish north of Chicago, they also serve Windy City-worthy Italian beef. Al’s Italian Beef, who?
Chicago and New York have been pizza rivals for as long as there has been pizza in America. However, this New York eatery is serving up Chicago-style deep-dish because… Chicago pizza is the best!! Even the most stubborn New Yorker would eventually succumb to the siren call of its thick, casserole-like, cheese-sauce-laden goodness! And Emmett’s, opened by native Chicagoan Emmett Burke, acknowledges that. Although New Yorkers may not be familiar with the perfection that is deep-dish, Chicagoans will appreciate Emmett’s pizza and the large array of Goose Island beers available! Hey, Chicago what do you say?
Started by Chicagoans who went West, Lefty’s is a family-operated pizzeria bringing classic Chicago deep-dish, hot dogs, and Italian beef to the mean streets of San Diego. Not only do they serve deep-dish crust, but Lefty’s serves up traditional Chicago thin (totally a thing!) and stuffed crust on specialty pizzas like the “South Sider,” the “Monster of the Midway,” and the “Gold Coast.” As one Yelp reviewer said, “One slice and you would swear you were back in the windy city.”
Only 92 miles away from Chicago sits Milwaukee, and in it: Pizzeria Scotty. This carryout-only pizzeria touts itself as a traditional Chicago-style deep-dish pizza joint, and it massively follows through. Scotty’s fans come for their thick and perfectly baked deep-dish, stuffed pizza, and specialty thin-crust pies. One reviewer raved: “The cheese is perfect. The sauce is sweet, but not too sweet. The toppings are generous but not overloaded, which would make the pizza soggy. The crust is golden and firm, not burned and not soggy. I can't wait to order this again, good lord.”
Deep-dish by the ocean? Union Pizza Company seems to think so. One of the owners of this Manhattan Beach pizzeria studied making deep-dish for three years to insure the perfect pie. The SoCal menu offers ginormous cheesy deep-dish pizzas smothered in gorgeous tomato sauce. As we always say, the best beach body is the one full of pizza.
Arizona is home to a many Chicago deep-dish staples like Lou Malnati’s, Gino’s East, Giordano’s, and even Jet’s! Many Chicagoans tired of feeling the bone-chilling Illinois winters migrated west to bone-dry Arizona — and to make it feel more like home, they opened more of their favorite pizza chains. However, Vito’s Pizza may be the best of the Arizona-franchised best. With locations in suburban Chicago, their westernmost pizzeria can go toe to toe with big guys, even deep-dish giants like Lou’s and Gino’s.
Their website reads: “Not to be confused with ‘Sicilian’ style, ‘Stuffed Crust’ or other ‘deep-dish’ pizzas, Zachary’s Stuffed Chicago Style pizza is something else altogether.” What it is is an East Bay cult-favorite pizzeria slicing up primo Chicago-style deep-dish with tons of fresh vegetable toppings. Oaklanders will claim that it’s even better than Chicago, but we can’t hear them over our slice of Pequod’s.
Looking for more Second City eats? See why this city’s food scene is second to none with the best food and drink in Illinois.