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Chicago Style

Get the skinny on deep dish pizza.


Stacy Cahill

Many restaurateurs talk about taking food pilgrimages to Italy or France, but Bill Freeman and Francisco “Patxi” Azpiroz didn’t require a passport for their destination of choice: Chicago.

And for the co-owners of Patxi’s Chicago Pizza, with locations in San Francisco, Palo Alto, and opening in June, Lafayette, there was one item on the dining docket.

“We ate pizza three times a day for that whole week,” says Freeman. “The second time we went, it was the same thing—for the whole week. I think we’ve eaten at every Chicago pizza place.”

“A couple of times,” adds Azpiroz.

When you taste one of their deep-dish creations, it’s clear all that eating paid off. Combining a reverence for traditional Chicago-style pizza making (Azpiroz spent two years cooking out of his Rockridge apartment to perfect the crust) with a Bay Area foodie’s eye for fresh ingredients, the two have produced something that tastes like a gourmet meal to enjoy with a nice glass of wine.

So it should come as no surprise that the duo’s eating habits haven’t changed much from their days researching deep-dish in Chicago.

“I wake up every morning and say I’m not eating pizza today,” says Freeman, “and by 11 o’clock, I can’t help myself.”

Patxis' Lafayette location will open the first week of June. 3577 Mt. Diablo Blvd, Lafayette, patxispizza.com.

Deep-Dish 101

• So what exactly is Chicago-style deep-dish pizza? We’re glad you asked. According to Freeman and Azpiroz, there are actually two main schools of deep-dish in the Windy City. Patxi’s offers both styles on its menu, in addition to thin and extra-thin pizzas.

Stuffed Crust
The signature style of Giordano’s in Chicago, this deep-dish starts with a layer of flaky, buttery crust on the bottom, followed by layers of cheese, toppings, another thin layer of crust, and then sauce.

Pan Pizza
The signature style of Lou Malnati’s in Chicago, this slightly lighter deep-dish starts with a crunchy cornmeal crust and is followed by layers of cheese, toppings, and finally, sauce.

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