Next up – lunch! Last week while brainstorming things to do in Chicago, Tommy mentioned that he really wanted to visit the original Pizzeria Uno. There are three deep dish all stars in Chicago: Pizzeria Uno, Lou Malnati’s, and Gino’s East. He’d been to chain locations of all three but had never been to any of the originals.
The first Uno’s was established in 1943, it’s a small, cozy restaurant with low ceilings and tight seating. You put your pizza order in when you give your name to the host or hostess. This way your pizza is prepped while you wait and put into the oven as soon as you’re seated. Deep dish pizzas take 40-45 minutes to cook and this keeps tables moving and hungry diners happier. We ordered half barbecue chicken and half “Numero Uno” which had extra cheese, sausage, pepperoni, mushrooms, onion and green peppers.
Even at 2pm the wait time was almost an hour. We lucked out though, and the sun peaked just in time for us to take a seat in their much more spacious outdoor area to have a drink while we waited.When our name was called we squeezed into our booth, ordered a salad and indulged in another round of drinks. There’s a great bar and a few tv screens so we could watch the Michigan vs Northwestern football game (surprisingly, Tommy wasn’t the only Michigan fan in the room).As someone who grew up 30 miles north of Manhattan deep dish pizza is a foreign concept to me. It’s served in black pan and was enormous. I tried the barbecue chicken first and wasn’t a huge fan, but liked the Numero Uno much more.
For those of you who haven’t had deep dish, it’s built like a pie. They press the crust into the bottom of the pan and up the sides so there’s more room for toppings. Contrary to what I had thought, the deepness isn’t made up of super thick crust, but many layers of toppings.It tasted just good but really wasn’t pizza to me. It was more like a pie with its filling and crust. I can’t say it’s something I’d seek it out over a regular pizza, (I’m a thin crust, tri-state area girl at heart) but I am glad we went and enjoyed our lunch. It was great to see a Chicago institution in all of its historic glory.I have two more Chicago posts left to wrap up the weekend – stay tuned for the rest of our afternoon downtown and our Sunday adventure to Goose Island Brewery.