Over the course of the last several years, the Charlotte area has lost the few Chicago-styled pizza shops it had, including Pizzeria Uno downtown. Most pizzerias here offer New York-styled pizzas. The common response about Chicago-styled pizzas from local pizzerias has been, "We don't have them, but I'm sure somebody does." But, in fact, nobody does.
Jill Sauer of Matt's Chicago Dogs, the local source for Chicago dogs, tells CL that there isn't a place around to get Chicago-styled pizza. Meanwhile, the other side of the state has Rosati's Authentic Chicago Pizza in Morrisville (near Raleigh). They claim their pizza is the only Chicago pizza in the state now.
To be clear, Chi-town has three styles of pizzas. One is the flat pizza with a thin, crispy, cracker-like crust that's popular from the Midwest to the Pacific Coast. Many national pizza chains serve — or had served — this style of pizza. The next style is the newest: the stuffed crust.
But when people think of Chicago-styled pizza, they think of that traditional, 3-inch buttery crust which acts like a shallow round bread bowl, with chunky tomato sauce, Italian sausage, onions, mushrooms and peppers. Key to the taste is the cornmeal on the bottom of the dough and the fact that the layer of cheese and meat is on top of the dough and is then sauced.
Charlotte does deep dish pizza. But while Sicilian pizzas and NYC-area Tomato Pies have thick crusts and are readily available at pizzerias throughout the area, these pies are not Chicago-styled pizzas.
Looking for a food you can't find? Or do you know of other food items unique to the Q.C.? Whether it's regional foods or international, talk to me: [email protected] or 704-522-8334, extension 136.