It's the never-ending debate: which city has the best pizza, Chicago or New York? These locations are so pizza-savvy that they are each known for their own styles of pie, but how do they compare?
There are three types of pizza that are most associated with the Windy City: deep-dish, stuffed pizza and pan pizza. Though all are similar, there are some key differences between each style:
Most people associate Chicago-style pizza with deep-dish. This thick, saucy pie is the one that Chicago is most famous for.. It's cooked in an unconventional way for most pizzas -- it's baked in a deep pan that resembles a cake pan, and its ingredients are layered, beginning with the crust at the bottom, rich mozzarella cheese above it, meat and vegetable fillings above that, and a thick, chunky layer of sauce on the top. Unlike most pizzas that can be picked up and eaten by hand, deep dish is more like a saucey pizza soup bowl and requires a fork and knife to devour it.
While stuffed pizza is a close sibling to deep-dish, this delicacy is catered towards those who favor cheese and crust more than sauce. Instead of the thick layer of sauce that coats deep-dish pies, stuffed pizza's cheese and fillings are covered with a second layer of crust and topped with a much thinner layer of tomato sauce for a pie-like result.
Pan pizza is cooked in a cake-like pan, and the dough is the most beloved ingredient in this Chicago favorite. When prepared correctly, the crust of this pizza should be thick and chewy in the middle and nearly burnt to a crisp at the bottom. It's not uncommon for the dough of this delicious pie to be cooked in varying intervals, such as heating it up on the stovetop before placing it in the oven or cooking it twice after adding toppings. However, it shares the same charm as its Chicago cousins in that it is cooked similarly, consists of similar toppings and has a deep crust to ensure plenty of room for layers of flavor.
New York-style pizza is a favorite to both New Yorkers and tourists across the world. An evolution from Neapolitan style pizza, New York-style pizza has thinner crust than its Chicago rival and is all about less (yet richer) sauce and creamy mozzarella cheese. New York pizza is much larger than most any other type or style of pizza, usually having a diameter that is close to 20 inches. The pizza is commonly sold in huge slices that will fill you up. Traditionally, these slices are folded in half when eaten by on-the-go New Yorkers.
The sauce is a vital part of New York-style pizza and is seasoned with a variety of natural and fresh spices and herbs to ensure a rich blend of savory flavor. The layer of cheese on top is typically grated mozzarella, and it can be topped with a variety of vegetables and meats, although toppings are generally minimal. The crowning glory its crust that generally bubbles up around the edges to make a delicious flavor and varied textures for the well-rounded pizza. Despite the fact that the crust is cooked to a crispy perfection, these slices are still easy to bend, bite and break apart.
One of the things that makes this pizza so attractive in a busy city like New York is that a slice can easily be grabbed and eaten on the go, whereas Chicago-style pizza most often requires utensils, a plate and a table. New York-style slices are ideal for anyone who runs a tight shift, has a lot of deadlines to meet or can never slow down enough to take a real lunch break.
While each location has defended its superior pizza production for decades, it ultimately depends on your personal preference. If you are all about the thick crust, lots of sauce and cheese and sitting down to enjoy your meal, you'll likely favor any of the famous creamy, saucy and filling Chicago-style pizzas. But if you're partial towards thinner crust, prefer less sauce and prefer to eat on the go,the New York-style slices will likely suit both your taste buds and your schedule much more. Either way, any pizza lover should give both of these unique and classic styles of pie a try.