This one is for all of my friends who claim that Lou’s is the best pizza in Chicago. I love Lou’s and always have, but as I was growing up, I was always a bit peeved at my friends because they were OBSESSED… but I am an equal opportunity pizza lover. Anyway, a new Lou Malnati’s popped up in the Gold Coast next to the Cedar Hotel. You can imagine my excitement when I turned the corner from my apartment to see a ‘Coming Soon’ sign for Lou’s in my neighborhood. Lou Malnati’s officially opened July 4th, but Jon & I were invited to check it out a few days before as the staff was getting acclimated.
If you have visitors in Chicago and want to show them some awesome Chicago-style Lou’s pizza, you won’t have to compromise for ambiance here. Lou Malnati’s took the space of Anthropologie, and I honestly felt like this is what ‘Anthropologie-The Restaurant’ would look like. Then again, all I could think of is how amazing it was that they redesigned a clothing store into a full-service restaurant: High exposed ceilings, sturdy wood tables, and modern ‘mechanic prop’ décor, brightly upholstered chairs & booths, and lots of space. They have a full-service bar, high top tables, outdoor seating, and private party rooms.
Jon & I ordered cocktails because we were excited for the full service bar rather than our normal wine or beer. Also, this location has some special items on their bar menu for that style of dining (Gorgonzola fries, BBQ wings, veggie bruschetta, etc).
We started with the Malnati salad & Calamari. I do not eat calamari, but Jon enjoyed it. The malnati salad tasted great as always (check out Jeff Eat’s Chicago’s review), and it held us over until our pizza arrived. The best part was that the dressing was perfectly mixed and the ingredients were properly tossed in the salad.
We ordered a small thin-crust spinach pizza and the famous Lou’s Deep Dish Pizza. At first taste, MMMMM melted like butter… because there was probably a lot of butter in the crust :). This didn’t deter us from finishing the mini deep dish. The sausage was spicy too!
We also enjoyed the spinach. I urge you to try their thin crust pizza because it’s definitely lighter and still has the same crust & taste without the overwhelming cheese (but it does not have the chunky tomatoes on top).
I even got a chance to check out their kitchen! At least 20 ovens filled the back, and a perfectly timed system handled restaurant orders as well as carry out. The staff was friendly and eager to showcase the restaurant, and the same Lou’s pizza exists in a beautiful setting. Head on over and check it out!
Thanks again to the great team over at Lou’s (Meggie, Lynn, Mike, & Amit) for making it happen.