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Due's--Still worth a detour?

Due's--Still worth a detour?
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  • Due's--Still worth a detour?

    Post #1 - May 18th, 2005, 8:30 am
    Post #1 - May 18th, 2005, 8:30 am Post #1 - May 18th, 2005, 8:30 am
    My first experience of Chicago deep-dish, pan pizza was at Due's, and when I was still a fan of the genre I returned frequently with satisfaction. Since I'm now less fond of deep-dish and even lesser fond of the crowds Due's attracts, I haven't been back for some time. Yet I'm occasionally asked by out-of-towners to recommend a worthy and convenient spot for traditional Chicago deep-dish, and along with Lou Malnatti's, Due's has always been at the top of my list.

    Recently, however, it's drawn some heavy criticism on food sites (CH, in particular), but it's never clear whether these critics are damning it for not being something else (i.e., a traditional Neapolitan pizza, a NY slice, a stuffed pizza, or a cracker-thin crusted one).

    So, here's my question, directed only to connoisseurs of Chicago deep-dish. Does Due's (and Uno's, for that matter) still remain an exemplar of its class or is it now coasting on empty?

    Thanks

    moderator edit:

    Pizzeria Due
    619 North Wabash Ave.
    Chicago, IL 60611
    312-943-2400
    "The fork with two prongs is in use in northern Europe. In England, they’re armed with a steel trident, a fork with three prongs. In France we have a fork with four prongs; it’s the height of civilization." Eugene Briffault (1846)
  • Post #2 - May 18th, 2005, 8:53 am
    Post #2 - May 18th, 2005, 8:53 am Post #2 - May 18th, 2005, 8:53 am
    It is my opinion based on mylast visits that pizza of a similar style and quality can be had in a nicer atmosphere with far superior service at Pizano's or any of the Malnati's outlets.
  • Post #3 - May 18th, 2005, 8:41 pm
    Post #3 - May 18th, 2005, 8:41 pm Post #3 - May 18th, 2005, 8:41 pm
    kafein wrote:It is my opinion based on mylast visits that pizza of a similar style and quality can be had in a nicer atmosphere with far superior service at Pizano's or any of the Malnati's outlets.

    I used to feel the same way, Malnati's was my fave, but I've felt recently that Malnati's quality has slipped. At client's request I've been recently to Due's 4 times, each time the pizza was superb, the finest deep dish going IMO.
    I did absolutely nothing and it was everything I thought it could be.
  • Post #4 - May 18th, 2005, 9:42 pm
    Post #4 - May 18th, 2005, 9:42 pm Post #4 - May 18th, 2005, 9:42 pm
    FWIW, my wife and I live across the street from Pizanos. When we want deep dish, we still prefer to walk the 7-8 blocks to Due. I don't particularly care for deep dish pizza, but I prefer Due's to the local Pizano's. My wife will eat either, but also prefers Due.
  • Post #5 - May 19th, 2005, 6:30 am
    Post #5 - May 19th, 2005, 6:30 am Post #5 - May 19th, 2005, 6:30 am
    As a newbie here, can I ask: what's wrong with Uno's?
  • Post #6 - May 19th, 2005, 7:54 am
    Post #6 - May 19th, 2005, 7:54 am Post #6 - May 19th, 2005, 7:54 am
    Jerry wrote:As a newbie here, can I ask: what's wrong with Uno's?


    There are many here who, for one reason or another, dislike Chicago Pan Pizza. I am not among them and I think Uno's & Due's, along with Lou Malnati's, are among the best of breed.
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #7 - May 19th, 2005, 8:07 am
    Post #7 - May 19th, 2005, 8:07 am Post #7 - May 19th, 2005, 8:07 am
    That being said, steve, let's make sure everyone is clear that when we say Uno we're talking specifically about Pizzeria Uno at 29 E. Ohio. The others are utterly miserable corporate clones under the same name. Avoid them at all costs.
    Ed Fisher
    my chicago food photos

    RIP LTH.
  • Post #8 - May 19th, 2005, 8:33 am
    Post #8 - May 19th, 2005, 8:33 am Post #8 - May 19th, 2005, 8:33 am
    Aren't both Pizzeria Uno and Pizzeria Due owned by Lettuce Entertain You?

    The Pizzerias wre the first deep dish pizza places in Chicago. They were opened by Lou Malnati and his partner (I believe Ike Sewell) after WWII.
    Lou Malnati sold out his share to his partner and opened his own place. Pizzeria Uno and Due were later bought by LEY.

    Correct me if I'm wrong.
  • Post #9 - May 19th, 2005, 8:44 am
    Post #9 - May 19th, 2005, 8:44 am Post #9 - May 19th, 2005, 8:44 am
    Doesn't look like they're in the LEYE family:

    http://www.leye.com/restaurants/restaurants_index.htm

    --Zee
  • Post #10 - May 19th, 2005, 8:51 am
    Post #10 - May 19th, 2005, 8:51 am Post #10 - May 19th, 2005, 8:51 am
    They are not owned by LEYE. The Malnati connection is that Lou and his dad, Rudy, worked in the kitchen of the original Uno for a number of years. In the early 70s, Lou opened up his own place.

    Uno was founded in 1943 by Ike Sewell. At some point a number of years ago they sold out to a national corporation. They either bought back the original Uno and Due after seeing the horrifying things the national corp was doing, or they never sold Uno and Due to begin with--just the naming rights, logo, etc. I believe it's the latter.
    Ed Fisher
    my chicago food photos

    RIP LTH.
  • Post #11 - May 19th, 2005, 9:07 am
    Post #11 - May 19th, 2005, 9:07 am Post #11 - May 19th, 2005, 9:07 am
    Sorry, I was wrong very, very wrong.

    Here is some information from the Chicago Tribune:

    At 50, Uno dishes a deep slice of Chicago history;
    Phil Vettel, Restaurant critic.. Chicago Tribune (pre-1997 Fulltext). Chicago, Ill.: Apr 16, 1993. pg. 48

    "ke Sewell was all set to open a Mexican restaurant with partner Ric Riccardo in 1943. But when Ike sampled some of what the kitchen proposed to serve, he became so ill that he nixed the whole concept-though undoubtedly "nix this concept" were not the words he used.

    So Riccardo proposed a fallback plan-pizza. Ike liked the pizza, but didn't care for its appetizer status. Sewell wanted pizza to be a main course. So he and Riccardo fooled with the recipe until-voila! (also undoubtedly not the word used)-deep-dish pizza, eventually to be known nationwide as Chicago-style pizza, was born. Pizzeria Uno opened its doors on Dec. 6, 1943......

    Another star that night will be Aldean Stoudamire, enjoying a rare break from the pizza ovens. Stoudamire is the head chef at Pizzeria Uno; she has been cooking Chicago's most famous pizza for 36 years.

    "Not too many people know it's black cooks who make the pizza," she says. "They're surprised. I remember when Horace Grant came in-about 11:30 p.m.-so we all just came out. I told him I was the chef. He says, `You mean to tell me you're the one making my pizza?' And he grabbed my hand."

    Aldean is no secret to the Pizzeria Uno faithful. To them, employees and customers alike, she's "Momma," a title that commands respect and affection. There are other cooks in the kitchen, other prep workers. Yet there is no doubt that every Uno pizza is one of Momma's.

    Uno's pizza is an intensely personal work, made by hand and proportioned by feel. In all their years, the cooks at Pizzeria Uno and Pizzeria Due (the sister restaurant, younger by 14 years and a block away) have never used a written recipe-a fact that severely complicated matters when, in 1979, Ike Sewell agreed to franchise his concept.

    "It was a nightmare," jokes Page Townsley, now general manager of Uno and Due. "We'd ask how much dough to use, and they'd pick up some and say, `About like that.' We'd ask how much water to add to the flour, and they'd say, `Just fill it up to the scratch on the bowl.' "

    Eventually, a team of workers followed Stoudamire and Elnora Russell (Stoudamire's now-retired counterpart at Pizzeria Due) around the kitchen, piecing together the recipe by watching Stoudamire and Russell in action.

    There's a recipe in place for the Pizzeria Uno franchises; Stoudamire doesn't use it. As a consequence, no two Uno pizzas are exactly alike. At its best, though-when the thick crust is crispy and crunchy, the tomatoes lively and acidic and the slab of mozzarella rich and texturally daunting-an Uno pizza is pure heaven.....


    So let other establishments churn out precisely metered, numbingly identical pizzas; Uno is a Chicago original, and its eccentricities are as cherished as is the excellence of its product.

    Two of Chicago's other famous pizzerias trace their lineage to Uno. The original bartender at Pizzeria Uno was Rudy Malnati; his son, Lou, opened Lou Malnati's Pizzeria, and Lou's sons still run the business, which now has four locations. Alice Redman, one of the original Pizzeria Uno chefs, left the company to help create what is now The Original Gino's East. Though there are discernible differences in their pizzas, the Uno heritage is evident."


    ProQuest document ID: 24275346
    Document URL: http://proquest.umi.com/pqdweb?did=2427 ... &VName=PQD
  • Post #12 - May 19th, 2005, 7:04 pm
    Post #12 - May 19th, 2005, 7:04 pm Post #12 - May 19th, 2005, 7:04 pm
    gleam wrote:That being said, steve, let's make sure everyone is clear that when we say Uno we're talking specifically about Pizzeria Uno at 29 E. Ohio. The others are utterly miserable corporate clones under the same name. Avoid them at all costs.
    So true!
    I did absolutely nothing and it was everything I thought it could be.
  • Post #13 - May 19th, 2005, 9:57 pm
    Post #13 - May 19th, 2005, 9:57 pm Post #13 - May 19th, 2005, 9:57 pm
    gleam wrote:That being said, steve, let's make sure everyone is clear that when we say Uno we're talking specifically about Pizzeria Uno at 29 E. Ohio. The others are utterly miserable corporate clones under the same name. Avoid them at all costs.


    Yes. This is a very important fact for people not completely familiar with "real" Pizzaria Uno/Due pizza to be aware of. The franchises might as well be called Pizza Hut AFAIC. Only the original locations are worth going to.
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #14 - May 20th, 2005, 6:11 am
    Post #14 - May 20th, 2005, 6:11 am Post #14 - May 20th, 2005, 6:11 am
    Maybe I missed something here, but I was asking why people favor Due's rather than the original Uno's next door. Does Due's take reservations?
  • Post #15 - May 20th, 2005, 6:17 am
    Post #15 - May 20th, 2005, 6:17 am Post #15 - May 20th, 2005, 6:17 am
    Jerry wrote:Maybe I missed something here, but I was asking why people favor Due's rather than the original Uno's next door. Does Due's take reservations?


    The only reason, at least for me, is that it's bigger so the wait is shorter. The pizza is pretty much the same at either location. They do not take reservations, but you can call ahead and place your order so that you are seated more quickly when you arrive.
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #16 - May 20th, 2005, 6:44 am
    Post #16 - May 20th, 2005, 6:44 am Post #16 - May 20th, 2005, 6:44 am
    Jerry wrote:Maybe I missed something here, but I was asking why people favor Due's rather than the original Uno's next door. Does Due's take reservations?

    Jerry,

    Personally I favor Uno's, still my favorite for deep dish Chicago-style. Actually, I can't comment on any difference between the two pie wise as I have not been to Due's for 20-years, only Uno's.

    I would like to add my voice to the chorus that the original Pizzeria Uno's, 29 E Ohio, is completely different than any other restaurant named Uno's. Avoid franchise/chain Uno's unless death from starvation is imminent.

    I also like Lou Malnatis , particularly thin crust, but, as I've said before, I don't really have a pony in the pizza race and like all types from thin to thick.

    Enjoy,
    Gary

    Pizzeria Uno
    29 E Ohio St
    Chicago, IL 60611
    312-321-1000
    One minute to Wapner.
    Raymond Babbitt

    Low & Slow
  • Post #17 - May 20th, 2005, 8:21 am
    Post #17 - May 20th, 2005, 8:21 am Post #17 - May 20th, 2005, 8:21 am
    Uno + Due = Overrated
  • Post #18 - May 20th, 2005, 8:28 am
    Post #18 - May 20th, 2005, 8:28 am Post #18 - May 20th, 2005, 8:28 am
    saps wrote:Uno + Due = Overrated


    Maybe, but I think both places deserve some credit for being pioneers in the area of Chicago deep dish. 30 years ago, they were much more special than they are now. This may be due as much to the growth of competitors in the same "space" as it is to any decline in their quality.

    Hammond
    “Nobody exists on purpose. Nobody belongs anywhere. Everybody’s gonna die. Come watch TV?”
  • Post #19 - November 15th, 2006, 8:53 pm
    Post #19 - November 15th, 2006, 8:53 pm Post #19 - November 15th, 2006, 8:53 pm
    I have always gone to Due's instead of Uno's and I don't know why. I try to visit it every couple of years and the last time I was there I thought it was still the best pizza I've ever had. That first bite is so good it makes me misty eyed.
  • Post #20 - November 16th, 2006, 2:37 am
    Post #20 - November 16th, 2006, 2:37 am Post #20 - November 16th, 2006, 2:37 am
    uno's and due's are an instituion in chicago. a worthy fact. similar to al's on taylor st. maybe i'm sentimental, but i don't believe any of these are resting on their laurals and all still get my vote.
    "In pursuit of joys untasted"
    from Giuseppe Verdi's La Traviata
  • Post #21 - November 16th, 2006, 10:15 am
    Post #21 - November 16th, 2006, 10:15 am Post #21 - November 16th, 2006, 10:15 am
    jazzfood wrote:uno's and due's are an instituion in chicago. a worthy fact. similar to al's on taylor st. maybe i'm sentimental, but i don't believe any of these are resting on their laurals and all still get my vote.


    Agree - I'm a big fan of eating-in at Due's. Always have liked the pizza, never noticed a dropoff.
  • Post #22 - November 16th, 2006, 10:35 pm
    Post #22 - November 16th, 2006, 10:35 pm Post #22 - November 16th, 2006, 10:35 pm
    I believe the owners of Uno and Due also own the mexican place next door (Su Casa). They're not part of the chain. That's my understanding.
  • Post #23 - November 21st, 2006, 10:43 am
    Post #23 - November 21st, 2006, 10:43 am Post #23 - November 21st, 2006, 10:43 am
    gleam wrote:That being said, steve, let's make sure everyone is clear that when we say Uno we're talking specifically about Pizzeria Uno at 29 E. Ohio. The others are utterly miserable corporate clones under the same name. Avoid them at all costs.


    When I ate at the E. Ohio Uno about a year ago I was shocked to find that their pizza tasted liked the miserable corporate clones that have popped all over the nation. Very light tomato sauce that tasted like the canned variety and not the least bit chunky. Extremely dissapointed, haven't been back since. Hopefully Due's has not gone down this road.
  • Post #24 - November 21st, 2006, 2:51 pm
    Post #24 - November 21st, 2006, 2:51 pm Post #24 - November 21st, 2006, 2:51 pm
    2Utah2 wrote: Hopefully Due's has not gone down this road.


    Nope. Only the franchises. The original Uno's and Due's are as stellar as ever.
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #25 - November 21st, 2006, 3:05 pm
    Post #25 - November 21st, 2006, 3:05 pm Post #25 - November 21st, 2006, 3:05 pm
    call me sentimental, but in nearly 50 yrs of uno's and due's eating, i've never had anything but consistantly the best pizza of it's type. i've never noticed a lesser sauce or toppings and consider it (for my taste) the definitive chi style deep dish pizza.
    "In pursuit of joys untasted"
    from Giuseppe Verdi's La Traviata
  • Post #26 - November 27th, 2006, 11:00 pm
    Post #26 - November 27th, 2006, 11:00 pm Post #26 - November 27th, 2006, 11:00 pm
    My Pie will always be at the top of my chicago deep dish list. It used to be Due's but My Pie certainly has won me over. The tomatoe sauce used has a hint of wine which really enhances the overall taste. The crust, buttery and crunchy. And I have yet to find a place that offers an all you can eat pizza, salad bar and soup buffet like My Pie offers.... for less than $10!
  • Post #27 - February 6th, 2013, 12:21 pm
    Post #27 - February 6th, 2013, 12:21 pm Post #27 - February 6th, 2013, 12:21 pm
    I know I've been hard on them in the past over the quality of their pizza, but I have to say that my faith has been restored in Pizzeria Due. My last few trips to Pizzeria Due have been excellent in terms of both service and food quality. Their deep dish pizza has been as good as ever which is good news to someone like myself who grew up on Pizzeria Due. Their sausage from Anichini Brothers is still some of the best Italian garlic sausage I've ever had, along with Rudy Malnati, Jr's sausage at Pizano's (Pizano's also uses Anichini Brothers garlic sausage) and Burt Katz's garlic sausage at Burt's Place (Burt has never disclosed where he gets his garlic sausage). Pizzeria Due still uses the long, stringy onions that, for whatever reason, are much tastier than the traditional smaller, square cut onions at Lou Malnati's and Pizano's. And Pizzeria Due's tomato sauce is still excellent- not quite as chunky as Lou Malnati's, but every bit as tasty. Great experience all the way around.

    While there, I had an interesting conversation with the manager. I told him that for whatever reason, I've always enjoyed Pizzeria Due's crust recipe better than their older sibling at Pizzeria Uno. I told him that the crust at Pizzeria Uno sometimes comes out hard and not as tasty as Pizzeria Due's crust, whereas Pizzeria Due's crust is more buttery and pastry like. I also told him that Pizzeria Uno's crust often appears more brown, whereas Pizzeria Due's crust is more of a yellow color, with both olive oil and corn oil thrown in for some extra flavor. And he didn't disagree with anything I had to say, either. Instead, he related that because of the high volume of tourists at Pizzeria Uno, Uno's often par bakes their crusts. He then went on to say that Pizzeria Due never par bakes their crusts, and that they never will, unless you are ordering one of their pizzas to take home and cook for yourself as the lone exception.

    There was a story many years ago by Phil Vettel in the Chicago Tribune Tempo Section (maybe 1982 or 1983???) that I can't seem to link to where the former GM of both Pizzeria Uno and Pizzeria Due admitted that there is a difference between the two pizzas, and that not only could she tell the difference, but that many of their long time customers could tell the difference as well. Count me in as one of those lifelong customers who can tell the difference. The GM stated that there was a difference in the dough makers, and that fact, in and of itself, could be the difference.

    Either way, I've had some wonderful deep dish pizzas these last few months at Pizzeria Due. I've been eating at the place for literally almost 40 years. Before the proliferation of Lou Malnati's and their 34 locations (and growing), Pizzeria Due was always the big treat for my friends and family because we didn't live anywhere near a Lou Malnati's back in the day. And that's nothing against Lou Malnati's because I'm a big Lou Malnati's fan. Lou's is the pizza I eat the most, along with Pizano's. But it's good to know that Pizzeria Due is still putting out great pizzas, especially since Lou Malnati himself spent 22 years in the kitchen at Pizzeria Due, and Rudy Malnati, Jr. spent some time at Pizzeria Due as well before going on to establish Pizano's.

    Hopefully, both Pizzeria Uno and Pizzeria Due will be around for another 70 plus years, along with Lou Malnati's and Pizano's. I can't imagine living anywhere else and not having immediate access to true, classic deep dish pizza. And hopefully Burt Katz can continue making his classic pan pizzas, too for a long time to come.
  • Post #28 - February 6th, 2013, 12:48 pm
    Post #28 - February 6th, 2013, 12:48 pm Post #28 - February 6th, 2013, 12:48 pm
    deepdish wrote:There was a story many years ago by Phil Vettel in the Chicago Tribune Tempo Section (maybe 1982 or 1983???) that I can't seem to link to where the former GM of both Pizzeria Uno and Pizzeria Due admitted that there is a difference between the two pizzas, and that not only could she tell the difference, but that many of their long time customers could tell the difference as well.

    Wow, I didn't realize Vettel has been there for that long, but sure enough, he has! In his fourth article in the Tribune, on July 20, 1982, less than a month after his first credit there, he wrote the article, entitled, "The Upper Crust in Uno, Due Kitchens". Based on what's available from my public library, it appears that the Tribune's archives have electronic copies of complete article text only since 1988; prior to that they have photo images of the original print articles. Oh, and when searching, the article is credited to "Phila Vettel", thanks to a blotch next to his first name on the original. Fortunately I searched only on his last name.

    Here's the part you mention:

    Phil Vettel wrote:While on the subject, Smith confirmed a long-standing belief of the Uno and Due faithful: "There is a difference between the two pizzas. I can tell it, and I'm sure a lot of our customers can - but they're pretty evenly split which one is better. I'm not sure why there's a difference. Each has her own way of doing it, so maybe that's it. It could even be the dough mixers. Uno's has the original mixer we used; Due's uses a brand-new Hobart. Just that much could be the difference."
    Last edited by nsxtasy on February 6th, 2013, 12:58 pm, edited 3 times in total.
  • Post #29 - February 6th, 2013, 12:50 pm
    Post #29 - February 6th, 2013, 12:50 pm Post #29 - February 6th, 2013, 12:50 pm
    deepdish wrote: While there, I had an interesting conversation with the manager. I told him that for whatever reason, I've always enjoyed Pizzeria Due's crust recipe better than their older sibling at Pizzeria Uno. I told him that the crust at Pizzeria Uno sometimes comes out hard and not as tasty as Pizzeria Due's crust, whereas Pizzeria Due's crust is more buttery and pastry like. I also told him that Pizzeria Uno's crust often appears more brown, whereas Pizzeria Due's crust is more of a yellow color, with both olive oil and corn oil thrown in for some extra flavor. And he didn't disagree with anything I had to say, either. Instead, he related that because of the high volume of tourists at Pizzeria Uno, Uno's often par bakes their crusts. He then went on to say that Pizzeria Due never par bakes their crusts, and that they never will, unless you are ordering one of their pizzas to take home and cook for yourself as the lone exception.

    There was a story many years ago by Phil Vettel in the Chicago Tribune Tempo Section (maybe 1982 or 1983???) that I can't seem to link to where the former GM of both Pizzeria Uno and Pizzeria Due admitted that there is a difference between the two pizzas, and that not only could she tell the difference, but that many of their long time customers could tell the difference as well. Count me in as one of those lifelong customers who can tell the difference. The GM stated that there was a difference in the dough makers, and that fact, in and of itself, could be the difference.
    .


    Back in the late 80's, it was always a treat when my family would come in from the suburbs into the city to meet my dad for pizza. And when it happened, it was always at Due. As I grew older, I tasted the different variations of the Chicago deep dish style, but I always remembered liking Due the best. There was always something extra which the competition just didn't match. I always told visiting guests (who were sticking to the city limits) that Due was their best bet for deep dish and not to settle for the famous older brother since in my words "Due still does things the same way whereas Uno is more commercialized." I'm glad to hear I wasn't just blowing smoke up their ass. It might be time for my quarterly deep dish pizza fix soon...
  • Post #30 - February 6th, 2013, 4:24 pm
    Post #30 - February 6th, 2013, 4:24 pm Post #30 - February 6th, 2013, 4:24 pm
    @lodasi: For me, Pizzeria Due will always be the ultimate treat and the quintessential example of classic Chicago style deep dish pizza. I feel the same way about Pizzeria Uno- I just prefer the crust at Due's for the above stated reasons. Where Lou Malnati's uses a thinner layer of garlic sausage from Peoria Meat Packing and Pizano's uses their Anichini Brothers garlic sausage more sparingly, both Pizzeria Uno and Pizzeria Due still pack on a thick layer (at least an inch) of their Anichini Brothers garlic sausage. It always has the perfect blend of garlic, cracked black pepper, and just a little bit of fennel. It's always perfect.

    Sometimes, it saddens me to see other places get so much more media attention than Uno's/Due because to me, Uno's and Due will always be the best.

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