Chicago might be best known to travelers for its deep-dish pizza, but locals like Steve Dolinsky, a James Beard Award-winning food reporter and host of ABC 7 Chicago’s The Hungry Hound, want to change that narrative. Dolinsky’s upcoming book makes the case for why Chicago is America’s best pizza destination. His belief is that Chicago style means thin crust, not deep dish, and specifically tavern-style pizza, which is thin, crispy and exclusively Midwestern.
In 2017, a record 55.2 million travelers visited Chicago, many of whom inevitably explore the city’s food scene and pizza places. After all, Bon Appetit named Chicago the restaurant city of the year, and 13 percent of Americans consume pizza on any given day.
While researching for his forthcoming book, “Pizza City, USA: 101 Reasons Why Chicago is America’s Greatest Pizza Town,” due out in September, Dolinsky ventured to New York’s top pizzerias to see how America’s other pizza capital compares. After four trips to New York, reviewing a dozen restaurants each time, Dolinsky still contends that Chicago is the best city for pizza in America.
“It’s always eye opening for me, but it just reinforces my theory that there aren’t that many styles of pizzas in New York,” he says of his most recent visit.
Dolinsky also visited 185 restaurants in the Windy City over a three-month period.
“Deep dish is to Chicago what Times Square is to New York,” he explains. Hotel concierges told him that guests often ask to eat deep dish within walking distance, so they end up at sub-par deep dish establishments.
If you are visiting Chicago, Dolinsky suggests you step out of the tourist zone and try his favorite Chicago pizza spots, ranging from tavern to Detroit style. Or, you can opt for New York’s more traditional slices.
See the photo galleries above for 10 standout pizza destinations in each city and vote for your favorite below.
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