Chicago is infamously known for it's amazing deep dish style pizza. You may have heard of the classic chains, Lou Malnati's or Giordanno's, but have you ever looked past the mainstream pizza places and found a lesser known hidden gem? That's exactly what I discovered when I stumbled upon Beggars Pizza. If you're looking to try one of their insanely delicious slice of heaven, know that there are a few different Chicago locations where you can satisfy your craving. One location is situated conveniently in the heart of downtown Chicago, in the West Loop/Near West Side area and right by Union Station. Though they’re specifically a pizza shop, they offer a lot more than just the average dough, sauce, and cheese. They feature everything from wings to burgers to sandwiches to pasta and so much more, making it your one stop shop for Chicago-style dining. Although they offer a mouth watering menu, I still felt my pizza-craving telling me to go for the deep dish. So, in the end I decided to stick to the pizza, but not without some serious temptation from the other Beggars Pizza menu items. Looks like I'll be returning in the near future to try them all out.
When it comes to their pizza, they have a lot of different options for ordering, and can definitely accommodate for different preferences (and appetite sizes). The two main routes are choosing between customizing your own pizza (thin crust or deep dish) or ordering one of their “Signature Pizzas,” which only come in thin crust. The Signature Pizzas definitely had some interesting options like Taco Pizza, Cheeseburger Pizza, and BBQ Chicken Pizza, which I happen to be a huge fan of. Unfortunately these enticing pizza flavors only come in full sized pizzas, with the smallest size serving 2-3. Seeing as I had only come with me, myself, and I (note that I am a rather small person), I decided to pass on the Signature Pizzas. However, I definitely made a mental note to bring a friend back with me next time. I could not stand that thought of missing out on the incredible flavor combinations (especially the Taco Pizza).
Photo courtesy of Nick Kindelsperger, www.seriouseats.com
For the non-Signature, customizable pizzas, you can either order full pizzas, ranging in size from Individual 7” serves-1 up to Large 14” (serves-4-6), or you can order a Family size that’s even larger than the Large. Unlike the Signatures, which only come in thin crust, you can custom order thin crust, deep dish, or stuffed pizza. And what’s even better is that they offer single deep dish or thin crust slices for the single diners (a.k.a. me that day) for just $5 or less--woohoo! Like I said before, Beggars is great for accommodating for all different levels of hunger/appetite sizes, and not bad on the wallet either.
So if you’re like me and wouldn't exactly consider yourself a connoisseur of different types of pizza, you might not know what the difference between stuffed and deep dish is. I was kind of nervous to ask the waiter (didn’t want to look clueless, you know?) but luckily they were super nice and helpful and had no problem explaining the difference to me. What they told me was that the stuffed pizza literally has toppings stuffed between two layers of crust with the sauce on top, whereas the deep dish is basically everything piled on top of the bottom crust of the pizza (you learn something new every day, right?).
Photo courtesy of www.stevedolinsky.com
I am a huge crust-lover, so I decided to try the individual-sized Sausage Stuffed Pizza (tons of Beggars Pizza reviews said the sausage pizza was delicious). It took around 45 minutes to make, which I was expecting since they bake it fresh. But that just meant I was plenty hungry when it was ready. I don’t eat deep dish/stuffed pizza too often, so I can’t say I have a super refined palette, but I thought it was great. The crust was especially delicious, just the right texture to contrast the gooey cheese. The pizza itself not only had a good balance of cheese and sauce, but wasn’t drowning in either, which helped me enjoy the flavor of the sausage. I’m not a huge fan of pizza that’s swamped with cheese because yeah, cheese is delicious, but pizza’s all about the balance! Luckily, Beggars seemed to understand my sentiment, because the slice I devoured was perfectly up to my standards. Overall, it had a great flavor and the sausage definitely added a nice pizzaz to the ordinary flavors of sauce and cheese.
Photo courtesy of www.chewoutloud.com
Even though the 7” was individual-sized, I was stuffed (heh, stuffed) before I could finish. It’s a really filling and heavy dish, so I had to take a bit of it home to eat later. Nevertheless, I was definitely left full and happy with my deep dish pizza craving satisfied. Though I normally don’t go out of my way to eat deep dish/Chicago-style pizza too often, and more often than not end up ordering delivery back to my dorm rather than go out to a sit-down pizza restaurant, I would definitely consider ordering Beggars Pizza delivery sometime in the future. But if you’re in the area or just looking for some Chicago-style pizza outside of the big chains, definitely think about giving Beggars a try! (And maybe bring a friend or two).
Written By: Jake Stiller
Author Bio: Jake is new to the foodie scene. Since he grew up between the cornfields and suburbia with a brother and father who were both picky eaters, he was raised on a diet of meat and potatoes. Since moving to Chicago 4 years ago, he has discovered the entire world of food and loves to try new cuisines/national dishes whenever he gets the chance. Some of his favorite discoveries are Arepas, Ramen, and Korean BBQ.