Pizza is one of the most competitive culinary niches in the US and those who create them in Chicago truly believe that their signature style - the deep dish - outstrips New York's far svelter slices by a mile.
New Yorkers, on the other hand, tend to dismiss Chicago's creation as little more than an overblown cheese and tomato pie.
However, the fact is that most of us enjoy tucking into the thick and chunky heart of a Chicago deep dish pizza at least once in a while.
And if you happen to actually be in the Windy City itself it may very well improve your culinary experience if you have an idea of just where you should head to experience the very best deep dish pizza in Chicago:
Pequod's Pizza is located at 2207 N. Clybourn Ave
Perhaps the most noticeable difference between the deep dish pizzas served up at this bright, friendly pizzeria and others are their 'halos' (an indication that the pizza is heavenly perhaps?).
This distinct feature is created by piling on cheese edge-to-edge and baking it until it’s crisp and brown.
And no matter what you choose to top your pizza with - and by the way, a single slice is enough for most people - the tomato sauce is the real star; fresh-tasting, chunky and unadulterated by the addition of too many spices.
Lou Malnati’s Pizzeria
Lou Malnati’s Pizzeria locations can be found all over the city.
Although Lou Malnati’s Pizzeria now boasts dozens of locations across the city do not mistake its classic deep dish pizzas for fast food fare.
Lou's can lay claim to being among that elite little group of pizzerias who did the deep dish thing first and the offerings served up today are as good as they were years ago.
The biggest 'draw' of the pizzas here is perhaps their buttery crusts, which taste more like a great breadstick than the pizza crust you might be used to.
The best way to experience a pizza at Lou's though is to make sure you order it with sausage.
This will give you a crust lined with meat from edge to edge BEFORE the sauce and cheese are added, resulting in the perfect blend of all three in every bite.
The Art of Pizza
The Art of Pizza is located at 3033 N Ashland Ave
With a name as bold as this a pizzeria has to be able to make good on the promise right? Fortunately at this Ashland Avenue institution they do.
While the cracker crust is fairly standard among Chicago deep-dish offerings it is the thick rich tomato sauce that really stands out here.
Chunkier than many, The Art of Pizza's sauce is perfectly spiced and there is just a hint of red pepper to offer and extra zing.
And if you happen to be a vegetarian, or just prefer a pizza with plenty of greenery, the fresh taste of the veggies on the one offered here is an absolute delight.
Pizzeria Uno locations can be found across the city
Just because these days you can find Pizzeria Uno pizzas in almost every grocery store does not mean that they don't still know their stuff.
Uno makes the bold claim that theirs was the very first Chicago deep dish pizza of all and while that fact is hotly disputed in Chicago itself they certainly among the very first.
What still makes Uno's stand out in Chicago over other good pizza joints are their pizza crusts.
Dense, but still quite crumbly, there is nothing quite like them anywhere else and we mean that in a good way.
Chicago Pizza and Oven Grinder Co.
Chicago Pizza and Oven Grinder Co. is located at 2121 N Clark St
Although this is a tiny little place - just a few tables located in a basement basically - it is also a huge tourist draw, so whenever you go do be prepared to wait.
The reason is that the deep dish pizza here is not even really pizza, it's a kind of pizza pot pie and even the way it is served is something of a spectacle.
Each pizza is built, in a ramekin dish, from the bottom up with the crust on top.
Once cooked, it is flipped upside down table side and the resulting 'bread bowl' is an explosion of gooey cheese and rich tomato sauce that is not soon forgotten.