Before we get started, I’d like to stress that we at The Daily Meal love our pizza. Despite being based in New York City — the land of the delicious thin crust — we are still equal-opportunity pizza eaters, and proud of it. Thus, although we may have preferences as far as pizza styles, toppings, or restaurants, we don’t take hard stances on things like Chicago’s famous deep-dish style.
Other people, though, have much more firm stances on the thick-crust pies, including famous figures of all types. Comedians, writers, food critics, chefs, politicians, and athletes alike have all chimed in over the years regarding their negative opinions on deep-dish pizza, and we’ve collected a sampling of the best in order to examine the exact reasoning behind the arguments.
Here are a few issues with Chicago’s signature style, courtesy of some of the famous folks who share in the sentiment.
Although we can all generally agree that the only thing better than pizza is more pizza, it doesn’t necessarily mean bigger individual pies. Funnyman Nick Kroll has expressed his disdain for deep-dish in this regard in quite the graphic way, but prefaced it with a city-wide apology. “Chicago, I love your city, it’s one of my favorite places to visit… but deep-dish pizza is like a huge, crusted-over pile of diarrhea.”
Kroll isn’t the only funnyman to chime in, as Jon Stewart famously derided deep-dish during his time on The Daily Show, saying, “Deep-dish pizza is not only not better than New York pizza, it’s not pizza. It’s a f—king casserole. I don’t know whether to eat it or throw a coin in it and make a wish. And if I made a wish, it would be that I wish for some real f—king pizza.”
Mario Batali not only criticized deep-dish personally, but said the food’s inventors, the Italians, would flip out if they were to visit Chicago. “They would kill themselves if they saw what was going on over there. They wouldn’t call it pizza, they’d call it sfincione — it’s like a giant Sicilian bread thing. It has nothing to do with pizza.”
Similarly, food and travel expert Anthony Bourdain also doesn’t care for Chicago-style pizza, and once called it “an abomination.”
George R.R. Martin
Anthony Bourdain invoked a term often used in religious literature to describe his disgust for deep-dish, and Game of Thrones author George R.R. Martin took it one step further in that regard: “Deep-dish pizza is an offense against the pizza gods.”
Another writer, the playwright responsible for August: Osage County, went as far as to imply Chicago-style pizza isn’t something consumed regularly by locals. “Deep-dish pizza is for tourists,” he said. Although born and raised in Oklahoma, Letts moved to Chicago in 1985.
Another famous Chicago transplant is Bulls power forward/center Pau Gasol, who greeted his new town by criticizing their prized pizza. “I’ve tried it,” Gasol said. “I’m not a fan of this deep dish pizza. To me, it’s just a cake of melted cheese. I like the thin-crusted pizzas better.”
Late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia divided many Americans with his political opinions, and he probably made some more enemies with his stance on Chicago’s pizza, although it’s important to note that he’s one member of this list who didn’t actually hate it — which makes him a good candidate for the final statement on the issue. “It’s very tasty,” he once said, “but it’s not pizza.”