Here’s How The Chicago Deep-Dish Pizza Was Invented

Top view of Chicago pizza. Chicago style deep dish italian cheese pizza with tomato sauce and beef meet inside
Image via JaCrispy/Depositphotos

Unlike the traditional thin-crust pizzas associated with Italy, the deep dish pizza is an American twist that turned the pizza world upside down. But how did this iconic dish come into being? Let’s dive into the origins of the Chicago deep-dish pizza.

The inception of the deep dish pizza traces back to 1943, in the heart of Chicago. Two enterprising individuals, Ike Sewell and Ric Riccardo, envisioned a pizza that was more than just a snack—it was to be a full meal. They wanted to create something uniquely Chicagoan, something that reflected their city’s robust character and hearty appetite. 

Sewell and Riccardo opened Pizzeria Uno in Chicago’ to bring their vision to life. The restaurant’s original pizza chef, Rudy Malnati Sr., is often credited with developing the recipe that would define the Chicago deep-dish pizza. This new kind of pizza featured a thick crust that rose high on the sides of a round steel pan, creating a deep vessel that could hold generous amounts of cheese, meat, vegetables, and sauce.

Over the years, the deep-dish pizza has become an ambassador of Chicago’s food scene, a favorite of locals, and sought after by visitors from around the globe.