Just to put in my "two cents" FWIW (which may be less than 2 cents), the Old Chicago pizza in Brandon, FL, at which I had 2 pizzas several months ago, both their deep dish and thin crust were . . . not very good. Everything about them from crust to sauce to ingredients were . . . . . not so good
. I've eaten many Chicago pizzas in my lifetime (thousands??) and those at Old Chicago aren't even close to good Chicago pizza IMO.
They are a Denver or Colorado-based chain that has no attachment to Chicago whatsoever and they just use the Chicago name in their title to try to give their pizza products some class. They don't even claim that their pizzas are like any of the great Chicago pizzerias (e.g., Malnati's, Gino's, Giordano's, Home Run Inn, etc.) but instead recite that their pizzas are "Chicago Inspired" (##@#$!!!!!), whatever the heck that means! ! ! (I guess a "round" pizza may suggest Chicago inspired.) My friends and neighbors report back similarly to me about their unsatisfactory experience at Old Chicago. I had also earlier tried their pizzas at one of their Denver locations and the one in Grand Rapids, MI and felt similarly. I guess I was just curious to learn if my earlier taste testing was not typical when we tried the Brandon restaurant.
Last I knew there was only one very newly established Old Chicago chain restaurant within a stone's throw of Chicago, and that was in the northwestern suburbs, not too far from one of the fantastic Lou Malnati's pizzerias in Elk Grove Village. With such competition nearby, it will be interesting to see how long the Old Chicago facility lasts before they have to close their doors. I know and appreciate that everyone has different tastes, and maybe lack of quality pizza products can limit ones exposure to the great pizzas that exist in many, many areas of this country, but I am just amazed on how a company can just put together a fancy, expensive, nice looking restaurant and throw together some flour, yeast and water and expect people to rave about their product because of the name they attach to their business.
I didn't mean to come down harshly, if that's how my thoughts are viewed, but there are an incredible number of terrific recipes for great Chicago Style pizzas within this thread. Those by DKM, loowaters, foodblogger, buzz, and many others and even mine at Malnati Deep Dish with Semolina
) are far superior to any of those pizzas served at "Old Chicago." And those superior formulations are just a click away. --BTB