Photo by Becca Sabot
Mozza Mia deep dish pizza
Deep dish from Mozza Mia
If you're one of those who assert that Chicago-style deep-dish pizza isn't really pizza, that it is a casserole or tomato pie, go home to Brooklyn.
We stand firmly behind our midwestern brethren in support of something so crusty, so thick, so deeply enthralling as a skillet-born pizza. And it just so happens that we are in the middle of a deep-dish revelation in town, so East Coast insecurities be warned.
Possibly the most underrated pizza in south Minneapolis and Edina. The kitchen is now led by chef Corrine Sherbert DeCamp, who took what was already a good pizza program and really pushed it to excellence. The Chicago-style deep dish is the strongest pizza, with a crust that's buttery tender and beautifully bubbled with char. It's a crust you could eat on its own, like a focaccia. The stuff that goes into the crumbles of a delicate fennel-touched sausage, and the right amount of cheese to give flavor and unity. It's the one thing we never saw coming: a Chicago pizza worth bragging about, nationally. 3910 W. 50th St., Edina, 952-288-2882, mozzamia.com
Just to be a pain, we took Chicago natives to Pezzo on our first visit. They loved it! They engaged in an hour-long discussion about the problem with Giordano's in Chicago: It's always so busy when they're in Chicago that they can't go often. The non-Chicagoans also loved Pezzo, especially the massive salads, all designed to serve a table (the Greek salad is outstanding), and, of course, the pizzas, with a peppy red sauce, a great sense of balance and straight-from-Chicago authenticity. 2143 4th St., White Bear Lake, 651-788-7844, pizzeriapezzo.com
There are a lot of Frankie's Pizzas around town, owned by various franchises. But the one with the most Chicago feeling of all is Frankie's in New Hope. It may be just a fancy bar and a lot of tables in a strip mall, but when the room gets thrumming with customers, all eating the deep dish, it really starts to feel like there's a little bit of Illinois in New Hope. It's hard to say what's so good about Frankie's pizza, but it's just right: The sauce is sweet and soupy, the toppings are vital and spicy, and the crust is buttery and tender and cooked through, just right. 3556 Winnetka Ave., New Hope, 763-545-7767, frankiespizzanewhope.com