No visit to Chicago is complete without sampling a thick, buttery slice of deep-dish pizza, slathered with chunks of rich tomato sauce and layers upon layers of melted mozzarella cheese. The city is famous for its signature pizza style (invented in 1943 by Pizzeria Uno) – and has since spawned some of the best pizzerias in the world. In the past, travelers looking to savor the city’s best in just a few short days were left to their own devices (and guidebooks) to pick which pie to try. Now, foodies and pizza freaks alike can taste all of the best in a single day on Chicago’s first official pizza tours.
Launching April 2 and dubbed the Second City Pizza Tours (the Windy City’s other nickname, “The Second City,” refers to its rebirth after 1871’s Great Chicago Fire), the tours are the brainchild of George Pudlo, a concierge at a downtown luxury hotel who found himself relentlessly pointing pizza-hungry guests in the direction of the best pies in town. Pudlo debuted his own successful architectural and historical tour company, Georgie Tourgie Walking Tours, last spring, but was surprised that “though Chicago has a few food tours and a chocolate tour, it had no official pizza tour. Literally every single day I have at least one guest asking me, ‘Who has the best pizza in Chicago?’” says George. “It’s a very subjective question, so I thought it would be a great idea to feature a tour that would let the visitors decide for themselves.”
Over the course of two and a half hours, participants will visit Chicago’s five most famous pizzerias (Gino’s East, Giordano’s, Uno, Quartino, and Castel Gandolfo). At each location, you’ll sample a new style of pizza: stuffed, deep-dish, brick oven, and thin crust. The main perk? The pizzas will be ready when your group arrives, so no waiting in line like all the other drooling patrons. Since each stop takes about a 30 minutes (and offers a healthy serving of architectural history along the way), you’ll have time to digest before sitting down for the next bite.
Admission is $36 for adults, $28 for children. Tours operate from April 2 – November 30, every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday at 11:30 a.m. (so you might want to skip breakfast!). Slice of Chicago also launched similar, deep-dish-specific tours earlier this year, on Thursdays-Sundays for $40/person.
See our Chicago Travel Guide for more trip planning information.