Happy Birthday Lou Malnati’s!


On March 17th, 1971,

(Yes, St. Patrick’s Day!),
Lou Malnati opened his very first Deep Dish Pizza restaurant in Lincolnwood, IL.
Lou’s was my very first deep dish and it has forever influenced my love of the style.

Photo of Lou Malnati's in Lincolnwood, IL -photo by Paul Riismandel via Flickr
Photo of Lou Malnati's in Lincolnwood, IL -photo by Paul Riismandel via Flickr

Happy Birthday, Lou’s!
Keep the deep dish coming!

3 thoughts on “Happy Birthday Lou Malnati’s!”

  1. Also, you can blame some of Lou’s popularity to 3 words:
    UNO Chicago Grill.
    Somewhere Pizzeria Uno lost its way and created the Appelby’s of Deep Dish by failing to maintain a standard and not trusting their own creation.
    Chicagoans can no longer just say “Go to Uno’s” for deep dish.
    They can, however, be certain that Lou Malnati’s will serve up the goods.

  2. Where did the adoration of Lou Malnati’s come from? Or, rather, where did its pr machine come from…? My parents met and lived in Chicago in the late 50s, I lived in Chicago for several years in the late ’80s, early ’90s (1 year in Hyde Park, then Lincoln Park/Near North) — and I never heard anyone mention Lou Malnati’s! It was Gino’s if you were downtown, Uno’s for individual and nostalgia (expansion did them no favors, but your first is your first…), Giordano’s stuffed for everyday because it was in the neighborhood. Then about 10 years ago, suddenly Lou Malnati’s is all over food tv as the voice of Chicago-style pizza! Did we miss out? Or is Malnati’s just the loudest voice?

    1. Well, I’m going to guess that it originated in the suburbs, since Lou Malnati’s started in Lincolnwood in the 70’s, which quickly expanded to a chain of restaurants in suburbs, gaining much well-deserved popularity. I grew up in the burbs, and it was a very rare occasion that anyone in my family would trek out to the city for deep dish at Uno or Gino’s, but our families, cousins, etc., would often get together for deep dish at a Lou’s in the burbs. Lou Malnati’s was my first experience with deep dish, so it’s often the one I compare all others to. That said, I have been to the big three in my adult years, and though The Original Uno (and Due) are very similar to Lou’s, I still have a preference for Lou’s. I didn’t care for the moat of yellow crust from Gino’s East, and never had the opportunity to try the original Gino’s on Rush for comparison.
      Obviously, if you’re growing up in the city proper, you may only have seen a Malnati’s within the last few decades. You’re right though. Malnati’s has a great PR machine – Their Lou-To-Go mail-order frozen pizza business was a big part of it, but Marc Malnati seems to have gone out of his way to be on as many pizza programs as possible. 🙂

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