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Apparently Deep-Dish Pizza Is Only One Of 10 Different Pizza Styles In Chicago

Just from reputation alone, I've always believed that New York City offered the best pizza in the United States. Biting into those phenomenal pies, I've often wondered if there was anywhere else in the US that could square up against those massive New York slices.

One man decided to put in the delicious work and settle the debate on which city really does offer the best pizza.

Steve Dolinsky is a 13-time James Beard Award winning TV and radio personality based in Chicago. Dolinsky hosts a segment for ABC 7 called "The Hungry Hound" where he seeks out and reviews the best restaurants in the city.

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Dolinsky is also the author of the upcoming book Pizza City, U.S.A: 101 Reasons Why Chicago is America's Greatest Pizza Town. In it, he sets out to prove that Chicago is irrefutably the best place to get pizza in the country.

During his experience, he explains that there are actually ten different types of pizzas the city is known for. Over the course of six months, Dolinsky went to 185 different pizzerias in Chicago and 56 in New York to be able to properly judge between the two cities.

He came to the conclusion that Chicago's pizza was the superior of the two metropolises for two reasons: variety and depth.

"Not everyone likes stuffed, but some do. Not everyone likes deep, but many do. We also have tavern style and more Detroit places per capita than New York City. Quite simply, diversity wins."

Dolinsky's process was methodic. He wanted a baseline as to what to expect from the pizzas, so he would go in asking the style they were known for and then just order two common toppings: pepperoni and sausage.

"That was always the order when I was doing the initial assessing," he explained. "I wanted to compare apples to apples. I didn't think it was fair that some guy could have, even if it was a longer fermented dough, broccoli rabe and porchetta versus something that's just pepperoni."

In doing so, Dolinsky was able to experience the many different styles of pizza Chicago had to offer. So what else was there other than what we know as Deep Dish?

Check out the ten different styles of Chicago pizzas below.


Artisan

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  • Much longer dough fermentation time, a minimum of two days.
  • A relatively more moist dough that allows for a better chew.
  • Gourmet toppings.
  • Typically everything is made in-house, which includes sauces, dough, meatballs.

Detroit

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  • A pan pizza.
  • Uses brick cheese instead of mozzarella.
  • Cheese pushes to the edge of the pan and caramelizes.
  • Two racing stripes of tomato sauce only.

Tavern

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  • Also known as Chicago style thin.
  • Always square cut.
  • Cheese and sauce are pushed to the edge.
  • Thin and crispy, in some cases it's almost saltine cracker thin.

Thin

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  • Wedge cut.
  • Crust is thicker than Tavern style, but not crispy.
  • Similar to New York style in terms of chewiness.
  • Not a pronounced heel (rise in the crust), an even height.

Neapolitan

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  • Lots of cheese and tomato sauce.
  • Three ingredients.
  • The dough resembles leopard spotting.
  • Wood burning oven with 850-900 degrees F.

New York

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  • Giant wedge.
  • Foldable with three fingers.
  • A little crispy underneath.
  • In Chicago, if you ask for sausage, it comes crumbled rather than in slices like New York.
  • There's a lot more fennel and oregano in the sausages offered in Chicago.

Stuffed

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  • Has a thin, extra top layer of dough.
  • A lake of tomato sauce on top of that.
  • Great for cheese pulls.

Deep-Dish

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  • Two-inch height.
  • There's a layer of mozzarella cheese on the bottom to protect the slice from getting soggy.
  • Chunky, strained tomatoes in the sauce.
  • Baked for 45 minutes.

Roman

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  • Essentially "Pizza Tapas".
  • Cooked in long rectangular pans.
  • Two day fermentation of the dough.
  • Baked in a special handmade oven at 580 degrees.
  • Topped with fresh, seasonal ingredients — up to 60 flavors.

Sicilian

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  • Made in a shallow pan
  • Crunchy base.
  • The cheese and toppings cook for hours first before adding the sauce.
  • Served in squares.