Chicago's Favorite: Lou Malnati's Pizza

February 15, 2010 5:55:41 AM PST
Considered the oldest family name in Chicago pizza, Lou Malnati's is as rich in history as its pizza is in flavor. loumalnatis.com

Lou got his start in the 1940's working in Chicago's first deep dish pizzeria. Lou Malnati took his pizza expertise to Lincolnwood, a northern suburb of Chicago, where he and his wife Jean opened the first Lou Malnati's Pizzeria on March 17, 1971. Lou was known for his fun-loving character as well as making Chicagoland's best pizza. Loyal patrons lined the streets on opening day for a taste of his delicious deep-dish creations. Lou always thought it was funny that an Italian should open a pizzeria in a Jewish neighborhood on an Irish holiday. But that was Lou's style, he loved all types of people and didn't care much about what people thought.

After meeting with an enormous success in Lincolnwood, Lou decided to open another pizzeria in a little northwestern suburb by O'Hare Airport, Elk Grove Village. Unfortunately, the Elk Grove location had a tough beginning. A major road construction project began a few months after the restaurant's opening and for 14 months business suffered immensely. At one point the accountants advised Lou to close the doors before it ruined him. But Lou would have nothing to do with that idea and persevered. Sure enough, once the construction ended, people came in droves to Lou Malnati's Pizzeria in Elk Grove.

In 1978 Lou Malnati met with an untimely death when he fell victim to cancer. Lou's oldest son Marc was just graduating from college and joined his mother in the family business. A few years later Marc's younger brother Rick finished his basketball career at downstate Illinois' Bradley University and he joined the family business as well.

The family owned and operated company, now with 30 locations, has continued to grow thanks to its dedicated staff and loyal customers. About 25 percent of Lou Malnati's full-time staff have given 10 or more years of service.

Malnati's success comes from their commitment to quality. Every Lou Malnati's pizza is handmade from scratch using the finest and freshest ingredients. Every year the Malnati team hand selects California vine-ripened tomatoes for the perfect sweet and tangy taste. The exclusive sausage blend is seasoned to their exact specifications. The fresh mozzarella cheese comes from the same small dairy that has supplied Lou Malnati's for over 37 years. And the family's secret recipe for flaky, buttery crust has been passed down from generation to generation. You'll know with every bite that each pizza was made with care and special attention.

We hope that you have enjoyed this bite of Malnati history and look forward to serving you and your family soon!

Family-Owned and Operated

Lou Malnati's is a family-owned and operated company that takes pride in its service and quality. With 30 locations and growing, we often get questions about franchises. Although we know franchise opportunities can be a great way to grow a company, we want to ensure that every pizza served in each of our locations is handmade exactly to our specifications so we can deliver on our promise of quality. So, thank you for your interest, but we do not offer franchise opportunites.


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