Pick the Pizza at Lou Malnati’s

artichoke pizza in the pizza oven

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Lou Malnati’s is a Chicago area chain Deep Dish Pizza place, but this location looks like a converted barn and is family owned. They have plenty of NON deep dish options and incredible salads. Gluten free option too – with a sausage crust and it seems like a heart attack on a plate to me, LOL!

Lou got started making pizza in Chicago in the 1940’s, the pizzeria was Chicago‘s first to serve deep dish pizza, deep dish pizza is heart and can be eaten with a knife and a fork. He took the skills he had learned to Lincolnwood where Lou and Jean Lou’s wife opened the first Lou Malnati’s in the 1970’s. Lou was known for making Chicago’s best pizzas with a fun charismatic personality. With the success of Lou Malnati’s first pizzeria Lou decided to expand the business.

When Lou passed away of cancer in 1978 his oldest son Marc joined his mother after he’d graduated college. After a few years Marc’s younger brother Rick joined the family to work at the pizzeria too. The Malnati’s say the success of the business is because of their commitment to quality. Lou Malnati’s pizzas are handmade from scratch using the freshest and finest ingredients. Each year a team from Malnati’s travels to pick vine ripe tomatoes from California for their perfect tangy and sweet sauce, with mozzarella still coming from the same small Wisconsin dairy that has been supplying Lou Malnati’s for over 40 years, the sausage blend is exclusive and is seasoned to Lou Malnati’s exact specifications. The flaky buttery crust is a family secret that’s been passed down for generations. Rick says the secret to the Chicago style deep dish pizza crust is the water, which is the finest from Lake Michigan.

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The deep dish pizzas are put together backwards from thin crust pizzas. Mozzarella is placed on the dough then other ingredients like pepperoni, green peppers, and onions are added to the top of the mozzarella cheese, then the pizza is topped with the sweet and tangy tomato sauce made with chunks of fresh plum and pear tomatoes. The pizza is then sprinkled with spices and cheese before heading to the oven. The tomatoes picked by the team coming from California are canned for the use of the pizza sauce, so the trip to California is well worth it.

We had the bruchetta bar (build it yourself station) and then their “house” salad…the gluten free gem has Romaine lettuce, tomatoes, black olives, mushrooms, salami bits and Gorgonzola cheese with their Sweet Vinaigrette and Romano cheese.

We finished with their chocolate chip pizza…A freshly baked chocolate chip cookie prepared in a deep dish pizza pan, topped with vanilla bean ice cream and whipped cream. It was just the perfect size to top off a huge meal!

Over 15% of Lou Malnati’s staff have been working for the pizzeria for 10 years or more. At the Malnati’s pizzeria they attract, nurture, and grow meaningful relationships all centered around loyalty. If you can’t make it out to Chicago’s Lou Malnati’s pizzeria you can have a pizza shipped to you, so you and your family can get the true experience of Lou Malnati’s even if you aren’t able to make it there in person. You can also choose from heart shaped pizza, chocolate chip cookie pizza, and salad dressings. Pizza’s are available in 2 or 4 quantities so you’ll be able to give them a try and save one for later or share them with family and friends.

Got kids? Save money with the Chicago CityPASS, Child, ages 3-11

This is just ONE stop in my A Fall Bucket List for McHenry Illinois book! It’s worth a visit but come hungry!

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