The DePaulia

Filed under Focus

Life of pie: Chicago pizza beyond deep dish

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.


Email This Story






(The Pizza Review / Flickr)

(The Pizza Review / Flickr)

It has brought people together, but at the same time it has torn people, and two of the largest cities in the United States, apart and created intense rivalries. It has made billions of dollars. Who would have guessed that a simple combination of dough, tomato sauce and cheese could do so much.

Pizza is one of the most popular foods in the United States, and Lincoln Park recently celebrated their local pizzerias in the Lincoln Park Pizza Tour. The tour was organized by Local First Chicago, a network of locally owned, independent businesses and community organizers. The tour took participants to 17 different restaurants within Lincoln Park, nine of which served up a slice of pizza.

“The best education is usually experiential — not just hearing facts, but seeing places, meeting people, hearing and tasting and bringing back memories,” Mark Walden, Executive Director of Local First Chicago said.

Walden and Local First Chicago wanted people to experience the local restaurants Chicago has to offer, rather than chain pizza places such as Dominos and Little Caesars.

“One thing I knew about (Lincoln Park) was that there is great pizza here,” Walden said. “We did a Google Maps search, and found more than a dozen independent pizza places in one square mile, which confirmed that it’s a unique strength of the Lincoln Park community.”

pizzanightmareThe proximity of so many pizza places could contribute to the fact that pizza is such a popular food. According to pizza.com, the average American eats 46 slices of pizza per year, but some Americans admittedly eat far more.

“I used to eat pizza every day. Seven days a week. I have friends who can attest to this,” DePaul sophomore Charia McDonald said. “I gave it up for lent, and since then I’ve cut back to twice a week.”

The modern version of pizza was invented in Naples, Italy, in the 18th or 19th century, and was brought over to the United States by Italian immigrants in the late 19th century. Since then, pizza has become a national phenomenon, with different variations from the original thin-crust Neapolitan format popping up throughout the country.

Chicago has become known for its own variation on the beloved food — deep dish pizza. The pizza is baked in a specialized, round pan, which is usually one and a half inches deep, allowing the crust to expand. The pizza is also covered in large amounts of cheese and tomato sauce.

This type of pizza has been criticized for going against the traditional thin-crust format, creating a debate that has lasted decades between New York-style and Chicago-style pizza. Jon Stewart recently took a side in the debate, saying “Deep dish pizza is not only not better than New York pizza, it’s not pizza. It’s a f****** casserole,” in an episode of The Daily Show that aired Nov. 13, 2013.

“To me, pizza is pizza,” McDonald said about the intense rivalry between New York-style and Chicago-style. “They taste so different but at the end of the day both fulfill you. I love both types.”

Chicago has found itself home to more than one variation of pizza, though. In January, chef Laura Martinez opened La Diosa in Lincoln Park. Although it was originally intended to be a Mexican restaurant with French influences, La Diosa has begun to serve up a tartizza — a combination of a tart and a pizza.

Martinez credits the invention of the tartizza to experimentation.

“I gave a sample to my neighbors and they liked it,” Martinez said. “I decided to name it the tartizza because it’s part tart and part pizza. The dough is pretty much like a tart, but it’s not quite a pizza. It’s kind of in between.”

Martinez, a blind chef, faced difficulties in opening her restaurant due to her disability, but has found success with her spin on the average pizza. She sees the future of pizza as being much more creative.

“It will probably be something more creative than just the thick dough, or the dry, thin crust,” Martinez said. “Pizza can be more nice than just pizza. Something more sophisticated.”

A large change in pizza is uncertain, as pizza is one of the most beloved foods within the United States, and has gained a fanbase that few other foods are able to amass.

“Everyone has that one thing that just completes them,” McDonald said. “Some people have relationships, some have hobbies and jobs. I have pizza.”

pizzaplacesdepauliastaffpizza

Leave a Comment

If you want a picture to show with your comment, go get a gravatar.




Navigate Right
Navigate Left
  • Life of pie: Chicago pizza beyond deep dish

    Focus

    Food hall frenzy: Designer, fast and casual restaurants in one place

  • Life of pie: Chicago pizza beyond deep dish

    Focus

    Laugh track: Women in comedy continue to triumph over adversity

  • Life of pie: Chicago pizza beyond deep dish

    Focus

    Save the Date: The countdown to the royal wedding has begun

  • Life of pie: Chicago pizza beyond deep dish

    Focus

    Women writers Hall of Fame

  • Life of pie: Chicago pizza beyond deep dish

    Focus

    Waste-free living: Recipes for reducing waste, saving money and helping the environment

  • Life of pie: Chicago pizza beyond deep dish

    Focus

    Free flow: Where to go when you need to go

  • Life of pie: Chicago pizza beyond deep dish

    Focus

    Cool War or Red Heat? No big difference

  • Life of pie: Chicago pizza beyond deep dish

    Focus

    A paper tour of the Chicago skyline

  • Life of pie: Chicago pizza beyond deep dish

    Focus

    Feeding the homeless

  • Life of pie: Chicago pizza beyond deep dish

    Focus

    Veggie tales

The Student News Site of DePaul University
Life of pie: Chicago pizza beyond deep dish