Get A Taste Of Chicago's Most Underrated Deep Dish Pizza Joints

Oh, Chicago — the land of theaters, hot dogs, museums, and unrelenting winters. But there's one thing that the Windy City is also known for: deep-dish pizza. Although not all Chicagoans like Chicago-style deep-dish pizza (it's okay to be wrong), it's one of the city's culinary treasures. You could be like all the tourists and flock to the usual tourist-friendly deep-dish chains, or you could be like a Chicagoan and head to some underrated spots.

Something that is really important to know is that any Chicagoan you ask will have their own idea of who makes the best deep-dish pie. Whether you like Giordano's or Lou Malnati's pizzas better matters almost as much as whether you root for the Cubs or the White Sox. Pizza is a serious business in Chicago. Where to order your deep-dish pizzas in all their cheese-oozing, tomato sauce-topped glory can make or break family dinners for sure.

Luckily neither divisive choice makes a difference in this list since Giordano's and Lou's are the big guys on the pizza scene. What we've got for you is a round-up of the best underrated joints that'll have you feeling like a Chicagoan in no time.

J.B. Alberto's

North in Chicago's uppermost neighborhood, J.B. Alberto's dominates Rogers Park's pizza scene. Rogers Parkers know all too well the importance of collecting tabs from the J.B. boxes to someday earn their free pie. A deep dish from here means supporting a neighborhood institution that'll have you waiting impatiently for the next time you can enjoy a fresh pie.

Since 1965 J.B.'s has been slinging pizzas for the masses — even those thin-crust types for all you non-deep-dish folks out there. Honestly, there isn't a pie on their menu that won't entice your inner pizza connoisseur. Should you want to sample a J.B. classic, order the J.B. Alberto Deluxe with Italian sausage, mushrooms, onions, and green peppers.

No matter what you order you'll get a taste of the pizzeria's house-made tomato sauce. Any foodie worth their weight in parmesan knows that a bad sauce completely wrecks a pizza. With J.B.'s that isn't an issue.

George's Deep Dish

Don't let the look of George's Deep Dish pizzas fool you: These are special pies. Although it looks much like its fellow cheesy comrades, George's is different. With a sourdough base, even the crust is different. So much care is taken into making each individual pizza here that the supply frequently sells out. So your best bet to securing a deep dish from George's is to order ahead of time or just be early.

Even aside from the sourdough, you'll notice something inherently different about the crust here. George based his crust on Lagana, a flatbread he remembers fondly from his time in Northern Greece as a child. It's where his father was born so it's a special part of his food creativity.

George's is also creative in how they've named their pies. Each specialty pie has an equally special name. From Harrison's White Album to Weasley's Spicy Red Top, and even a Build Your Own George pizza, the variety is astounding for such a small spot.

Bartoli's Pizzeria

Grandson of Gino's East co-founder Fred Bartoli, Brian Tondryk aspired to create his own pizza joint to continue his grandfather's legacy. Since 2013 he's been doing just that with Bartoli's Pizzeria. Named in honor of Bartoli, the pizzeria serves up Bartoli's recipe which Tondryk perfected before opening the shop.

Like J.B. Alberto's, Bartoli's also serves thin-crust pizza as well as its deep-dish varieties. Between the two locations in Roscoe Village and West Town, there are two easy-to-access spots to get your grub on. If you feel like getting to know the Bartoli family recipes a little better you can even order Nonna Bartoli's Famous Meatball to whet your appetite before pizza time.

When pizza time hits why not try out the Union Stockyard pie? It's essentially a meat lovers' pizza with a Chicago twist. This pie comes piled high with Italian sausage, bacon, pepperoni, prosciutto, and Italian beef. That's about as Chicago as it gets, folks.

Uno Pizzeria & Grill

Long-time Chicagoans will probably roll their eyes seeing Uno Pizzeria & Grill on this list. It's far from an unknown or underrated spot, though a lot of visitors probably won't know about it. This pizza joint doesn't just make deep-dish pizzas — they reportedly invented it (though that's up for debate). 

In any case, Ike Sewell evidently served the first deep-dish as we know it in 1943 when he opened his pizza place on the corner of Ohio and Wabash. He wanted to pile cheese high on a thick crust before topping the whole thing with Italian spiced tomato sauce. The original location is still there in the city, though Uno Pizzeria & Grill has blossomed since its inception into 100 locations across the country. Whether you go to the original Uno or one of its franchises, if you're looking for the most authentic Chicago deep-dish pizza, you obviously can't do better than Uno Pizzeria & Grill.

The Art of Pizza

Anyone who has ordered a deep-dish pie knows that the hardest part is figuring out how much pizza to order. At The Art of Pizza that is a non-issue. Why? Because they sell their pies whole or by the slice. That's right! You no longer have to worry about lugging a pizza box around after dinner or ordering more than you can handle.

Since it's in the northern neighborhood of Uptown, The Art of Pizza doesn't get a lot of tourist action which also means it's still a bit of a hidden gem. Still, it's easy to get to from anywhere in the city on public transit which is good news for you since that means you can get your hands on some artsy pie. Deep-dish pizza by the slice is also a great excuse to try a bunch of different kinds of pizza at once. Do you want a slice of Art's Southwestern, Art's Hawaiian, and Art's Meaty Delight during your visit? Done.