Pizza Wars: Chicago vs. New York vs. Detroit

chicago-new-york-detroit-pizzaDing! Ding! Ding!

Welcome to the first battle between our heavyweight champions in the pizza world: New York- vs. Chicago-style pizza. Coming from two iconic cities, these pizza styles are each distinct in their own ways, with plenty of fans on either side to cheer them on in today’s match.

Will it be the thick, gooey, monster slice of Chicago-style pizza that takes home the glory, or will the thin, foldable grease-traps of New York win it all? But wait — sneaking in from the background is the welterweight of the pizza wars: the Detroit-style pizza. Known for its rectangular crust and thick, rippled edges, the Detroit pizza is certainly one to be reckoned with. As our participants enter the ring, we’re ready for the first round to begin.


Round 1

These two contestants are coming in hot and steamy. New York- and Chicago-style pizzas have a long history of battling out their differences. Pizza lovers from each city are willing to support their favorite pizza style until the saucy end. Each one brings something unique to the table. Let’s break it down.

Chicago-Style Pizza Crust

Able to support several pounds of sauce and toppings, the Chicago-style pizza crust is a deliciously baked stronghold. But don’t get confused by all that bulk. This crust is not heavy and doughy. Instead, its mass is created by crispy, buttery layers of flaky crust that lay over one another like a strong sheet of metal. A little crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside, the Chicago-style pizza crust is sure to beat the competition in the first round of pizza wars.

Order the stuffed pizza from Giordano’s, and you’ll also have that extra layer of crispy crust that protects each layer under it. That’s an insurance policy sure to put this delicious pie in the lead. While many people don’t expect another layer of crust within the pizza, this crispy, buttery layer is one component that makes Chicago-style pizza so unique. The crust is so good, you need to put it in twice.

New York-Style Pizza Crust

Check out this New York-style pizza crust. Its thin, crispy layers are tempting to some, but they fold under pressure. Just a thin layer of sauce, cheese and measly toppings are supported by this crust style. While it’s commonly favored for eating on the go or on the sidewalks outside busy New York restaurants, many too small to offer seating, this crust can’t handle the pressure Chicago-style pizza brings to the ring.

This flimsy crust won’t hold up long under the strength of the Chicago-style crust. This round is ending quickly, and it looks as though New York-style pizza is going to have to rethink its strategy.

Detroit-Style Pizza Crust

While the Detroit-style pizza is known for its thick crust, the airiness underneath that crunchy exterior might not be enough to hold its own if it got in with the big boys of pizza. The pizzas have to be baked in rectangular pans that hold on to the oil that makes this pizza unique. While it doesn’t have the grease you’ll see later with the New York-style pizza, this pan pizza can contain a little bit too much oil in the crust. The Detroit-style pizza just doesn’t have the experience Chicago’s crust brings to the ring.

Winner: Chicago-style pizza


Round 2

That last round was a messy one. Let’s take a look at what’s next as these pizzas look to the next component: the sauce.

Chicago-Style Pizza Sauce

While the sauce is hidden under cheese and toppings for most other pizzas, that’s not how they do it in Chicago. The rich, robust tomato sauce instead goes right on the top, where it can truly shine in its tomato glory. Thick enough to stand on its own, the Chicago-style pizza sauce is one of a kind. Instead of being a burden on its crust, the tomato sauce helps raise it to new heights, adding depth and delicious, filling warmth to those brave enough to tackle a slice.

New York-Style Pizza Sauce

The oily concoction that runs off of many New York-style pizzas is going to make this ring a little slippery. Make sure you’re wearing a bib and holding onto a few dozen napkins for this one. Just because you can fold a New York-style slice and eat it on the run doesn’t mean it’s a clean meal. The greasy layer that often pools on top of the slice, sometimes dripping off the edges, is going to send this pizza slice sliding.

Detroit-Style Pizza Sauce

If copying styles is a form of flattery, then Detroit seems to be taking after its big pizza brother in Chicago by putting its sauce on the top. But you can’t mess with an original. Chicago was serving up its deep-dish pizza and iconic sauce long before Detroit tried to wiggle into the picture. While Detroit likes to put up a fight, this style might not be enough to win the battle.

Winner: Chicago-style pizza


Round 3

Things are just getting tougher and tougher in this pizza war. Who knows how much longer our competitors will be able to battle it out. This round is perhaps one of the toughest in the game. We’ve come to the part of the pizza war where the cheese has to show us what it’s got.

Chicago-Style Pizza Cheese

A gooey portion of mozzarella sprinkled with a delicious topping of parmesan makes the Chicago-style pizza a flavorful bite. This cheese isn’t playing hard to get. It gets right in your face, hanging on to the crust and toppings while each swing of the fork tries to pull it away. This topping is not only one that knows how to stand up for itself, but it also melts nicely with the other components that make this pizza a pizza war contender. Don’t fear the melted goodness before you. Instead, get at it with a knife and fork. You’re going to need all the help you can get to tackle this one.

New York-Style Pizza Cheese

New York-style pizza skimps on the cheese a bit with a rather thin layer. Doesn’t it know what it’s going up against? There’s no time for weak cheese in this ring. Only the strongest of mozzarella cheeses can make it out of this battle alive. So while New York’s pizza cheese had a city of people cheering it on, it might just flop in this category.

Detroit-Style Pizza Cheese

Using a traditional mozzarella and brick cheese mixture, Detroit pizza does bring a little spunk to this fight. But be wary of its copycat ways. While the Detroit-style pizza has good intentions, it can’t mess with the original style and craftsmanship of the Chicago-style pizza. It might be time for this younger, less-experienced pizza to take a break and learn something from its senior pizza contenders.

Winner: Chicago-style pizza


Round 4

We’ve seen messy food fights before, but this pizza battle is turning out to be a full-fledged war. As each round takes us deeper into the delicious layers of a Chicago-style pizza, we might just have to hand it over to the Windy City. But not so fast — we’ve got one very important component to consider in this round: the toppings.

Chicago-Style Pizza Toppings

Chicago-style pizza is coming on strong this time. The toppings are a very underappreciated yet powerful support system in the Chicago-style pizza. While they are often hidden between the thick crust, gooey cheese and river of sauce, the toppings play an important role in helping this pie reach the top of the pizza games.

More than just a few pieces of pepperoni scattered across the crust or a handful of crumbled sausage dashed among the rest of the toppings, a Chicago-style pizza really has to pack in a lot of toppings if they’re going to get the recognition they deserve. It can be tough to get the attention of the taste buds when so many other delicious components make the Chicago pizza great. But don’t begin to doubt the strength of these fresh toppings. They might lay quietly under the weight of cheese and sauce, but they are mighty and they are tasty.

New York-Style Pizza Toppings

Take it easy on the New York-style pizza this round. Too many toppings could send this pizza crumbling under the weight. It’s nearly impossible to pile on the meat, veggies and other toppings that make a pizza great. Don’t dream of coming near this slice with a fork and knife. The ridicule would be too much!

Instead, just a few toppings will have to do in order for this slice to carry on under the weight. The crust just can’t support the hunger pains of someone who really needs to fill their belly.

Detroit-Style Pizza

While pepperoni is often the topping of choice for the Detroit-style pizza, it really should be open to a little more variety. Different people enjoy different things. There has to be something unique that can be slipped in under those layers. Just because Detroit fans are loyal doesn’t mean they should settle for anything less than the best. Let’s give them what they really deserve: a pizza stuffed with toppings.

Winner: Chicago-style pizza


Round 5

It’s clear the Chicago-style pizza is coming out on top so far, but there’s still some fight left in the other slices. In this final round, we’ll see if Chicago can continue to hold its own or if one of the other pizza styles takes it down with a knockout swing. Grab your weapons of choice. It’s time to see which eating style brings these slices out on top.

How to Eat a Chicago-Style Pizza

Don’t try to pick up this stuffed behemoth. It takes a true heavyweight to even dare to order an entire pie. The Chicago-style pizza is devoured best with a fork and knife. The hearty sauce, carefully layered on top of gooey cheese, fresh toppings and a mammoth helping of thick crust, make this a pizza slice that requires a few tools. But the need for a fork and knife don’t make this slice weak. This pizza slice just needs a little help getting into the bellies of Windy City fans.

How to Eat a New York-Style Pizza

New York-style pizzas were engineered to eat on the go. Busy New Yorkers often have to grab a slice or two in between meetings and calling a taxi. Some pizza joints embrace the versatility of this thin, foldable slice because it means they don’t have to offer seating. Instead, people can eat their pizza on the sidewalk with ease. All you need is a paper plate and a couple of napkins to wipe away the greasy goodness.

If it seems a little messy, just roll up your sleeves and prepare to wipe your hands clean on a few of those thin napkins. The pizza here might just be sneaking in on Chicago-style pizza thanks to its versatility.

How to Eat a Detroit-Style Pizza

While it seems silly to keep bringing up this rookie, we do need to keep an eye on the competition. The Detroit-style pizza is trying something good here. It has the right ideas, the basic strategy to consider itself a viable force to be reckoned with. But let’s not take this kid too seriously yet. When the pizza war is finally over, we all know which pizza will not only have an entire city cheering it on to victory, but its deep dish crust to back it up, too.

Winner: New York-style pizza – We’ll let New York take this one based on the convenience factor. But if you have time to sit down and enjoy a great pizza, Chicago definitely wins.

The Overall Victor: Chicago

Here’s to you, Chicago-style pizza. The first of many pizza war battles has proven favorable for this delicious concoction of dough, toppings, cheese and sauce. While the Chicago-style pizza could have fought through several messy rounds, the competition just couldn’t take the heat. What a knockout battle. What a knockout pizza.

Bring Giordano’s Pizza Home, Even If You Aren’t in Chicago

If the tasty filling of a Giordano’s stuffed pizza is calling your name, stop by for a visit and enjoy a slice or two in this iconic Chicago restaurant. If home is too far away, bring the goodness of a deep-dish, stuffed pizza into your own kitchen.

Order two, four or six 10-inch pizza packs, and Giordano’s fresh pizzas will arrive in just two days. Follow the reheating instructions to enjoy the taste of fresh baked Chicago-style pizza at home. Add on a few Chicago-style treats to complete the meal, and get the full taste of what Chicago has to offer. Giordano’s convenient online ordering means you can enjoy a champion pie without ever leaving the comfort of home.