‘Food Guy’ Steve Dolinsky Explores the World of Chicago Pizza in New Book | Chicago News

Lots of people love pizza. But few love pizza as much as Steve Dolinsky.

A familiar face to many Chicagoans as a former “Hungry Hound” on ABC-7 for 17 years, the award-winning Chicago-based food journalist tours pizza, hosts the “Pizza City” podcast and has now written his second book on Chicago pizza.

The book is called “The Ultimate Chicago Pizza Guide: A History of Squares and Slices in the Windy City”.

Dolinsky, who recently joined NBC-5 to host the weekly series “The Food Guy,” explores the world and history of Chicago pizza. And from the tavern, Roman, to artisan style – Dolinsky shows there’s a lot more to Chicago pizza than just a deep dish.

Below, an excerpt from the book.


Deep-dish was created here at a place called The Pizzeria (née Riccardo’s) in 1943. Partners Ike Sewell and Ric Riccardo wanted to offer something a little different from the competition. Sewell wanted a Mexican restaurant because he missed the one in his native Texas. Riccardo convinced him to make pizza instead. The Deep Dish was Sewell’s answer to the thin “tavern-style” pizzas locals had become accustomed to until then. As a former University of Texas soccer player, Sewell believed in the ‘bigger is better’ mantra and, frankly, those little squares weren’t substantial enough for his size appetite. from Texas. Riccardo, and more likely Rudy Malnati Sr., their general manager, helped develop a pizza made in a deeper pan, built upside down: dough, then cheese, followed by toppings and finally a reduced tomato sauce. large pieces.

The owners changed its name to Pizzeria Uno in 1955, when they opened Pizzeria Due just down the block. Riccardo had passed away the previous year and Sewell, now the sole owner, sold franchises to a Boston-based company in 1978 and the brand began to grow in Massachusetts. After Sewell’s death in 1990, his widow sold both Chicago pizzerias and an adjacent Mexican restaurant, Su Casa, to the same Boston-based company. There are still only the two pizzerias in Chicago; the rest are scattered throughout Massachusetts and along the east coast. The Ohio and Wabash building may have spawned deep pizzas, but the company that owns the brand abandoned the city more than thirty years ago (with bankruptcy in 2010 for good measure).

The irony of the Deep Dish is that despite its relative youth (compared to Slim Chicago) and more limited exposure, at least historically in Chicagoland, it has, like a Japanese tsunami, completely erased any convincing discussion of the style of pizza the Chicago’s most ubiquitous. Chicagoans aren’t helping their cause when they automatically go on the defensive whenever a tweet, late-night comedian, or Packers PR rep makes a flippant comment. At the end of 2020, Jimmy Fallon asked Barack Obama what style of pizza he preferred, New York or Chicago? It would have been so cool if Obama had asked for clarification, “Are you talking thin, deep, or drunk tavern style, Jimmy?” He should know better! He and his family attended Italian Fiesta on 47th Street when they lived in Hyde Park. It had been one of Michelle’s favorites since she was a child. But as long as people keep assuming “Chicago style = deep dish; »There is going to be a problem of perception. For the record, Obama chose a slice of New York in what can only be described as a very political response: preceded by a lot of love for his adopted home, but in the end, the simple logic of foldable portability l ‘won.

Dolinski, Steve. “How deep is your slice?” ” In The Ultimate Guide to Chicago Pizza: A History of Squares and Slices in the Windy City Evanston: Northwestern University Press, 2021. pp. 16-17.

Copyright © 2021 by Northwestern University Press. Published in 2021. All rights reserved.

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