When deciding not to sell DBB earlier this year I wrote this:
Not only was I not ready to get rid of DBB, I was more inspired than I ever have been to make it better, to be more engaged, to make it more profitable. The charitable component will never go away but it doesn’t have to be the only financial component.
So I sought out companies that I loved, companies that could become part of the fabric of this site. And being that our readership is, to a large part, outside of Chicago, they needed to be either national companies or Chicago-based, but delivering across the country.
Lou Malnati’s checked every box.
The process took a few months but I’m extremely pleased to announce today that Malnati’s is now DBB’s first corporate partner. And I’m using the word “partner” and not “sponsor” on purpose. This is not gonna be a chuck-up-a-banner-ad-and-send-a-monthly-check relationship. I’m going to write about my many experiences at Lou’s and highlight their Tastes of Chicago line. We’re going to do a bunch of giveaways to readers. Lou’s likes DBB and I am a big fan of theirs. So over time we’re going to evolve this relationship in a way that’s both (a) mutually beneficial and (b) integrated in a way that never disrupts getting our content to you, the reader, in a simple and seamless way.
To celebrate this partnership, Lou’s sent me pizzas. And I was skeptical.
I’ve been to Malnati’s on Rush at least fifty times. I know how good their deep dish is. I dream about those crusts, and that sweet, delicious sauce. How the hell is that going to translate after traveling 800 miles from Chicago to Queens?
Well, it does. I don’t understand it, but it does.
The preparation couldn’t be simpler. Take the pie out of its wrapping. Wipe away the condensation in the pan. Spray a bit of oil. Throw it in the oven. If you have a good, modern oven, the pizza will be ready in 45 minutes. If you have my oven, it’s about an hour ten.
About 20 minutes in, the smell took over my apartment. That deep dish Chicago joint smell. One of my most well-traversed routes in Chicago is the walk from The Drake Hotel to Malnati’s on Rush. That smell reminded me of that walk. The anticipation. Knowing what I’m about to experience again. It’s an “Alexa, play Sweet Home Chicago” kind of feeling. The first sip of an Old Style. Rick Pearson’s voice. The artwork at the Old Town Alehouse. That Malnati’s smell. Those things are Chicago to me. And to have it in my kitchen in Queens was incredible.
When you reheat pizza in an oven, the crust often suffers the more dire fate. Not these Malnati’s pies. The crust glistens in the oven and is every bit the exquisite pastry you’d expect.
Is it the same exact product I’ve had dozens of times on Rush, with several Millers on the side? Of course not. It’s just traveled half the country in a box. But it’s delicious.
I gave a pie to friends (Lou’s sent me four!) – folks who’d never experienced deep dish before – and the review came in via text: “Woah.” Sarah and I ended up eating the other three in about 4-5 days. I just couldn’t handle them being in my freezer and not in my stomach.
Here’s a quick video of the preparation process.
(Once the images stop, I just let Nina Simone do her thing in the darkness.)
Welcome Lou Malnati’s to the DBB family! We’ll be doing our first big giveaway later in July. Stay tuned!