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Foodie Freebie Friday: Chicago Style Pizza!


Welcome back and I hope you had a great weekend! My weekend was spent with friends and family... and today I'm playing tour guide for my sister's family who is visiting for the week. It's been 2 years since their last visit so I'm taking them around to enjoy some of my favorite spots in the city. One thing they are looking forward to is enjoying the food of Chicago. We're famous for so many delicious eats but the one thing that we're probably most known for is the Chicago style pizza.

Chicago-style pizza is a deep-dish pizza style developed in Chicgao. The term also sometimes refers to "stuffed" pizza, another Chicago style. True Chicago-style pizza features a buttery crust, generous amounts of heese and chunky tomato sauce. Chicago also has many pizzerias serving thin-crust pizzas, some of which are in a style unique to the Windy City, but as a term Chicago-style pizza generally refers to deep-dish styles.

The Chicago-style "deep-dish" pizza was invented at Pizzeria Uno, in Chicago, in 1943, reportedly by Uno's founder Ike Sewell, a former University of Texas football star. However, a 1956 article from the Chicago Daily News asserts that Uno's original pizza chef Rudy Malnati developed the recipe.

The pizza begins with a simple, thick layer of dough (made with olive oil and cornmeal) that is laid into a deep round pan and pulled up the sides, then parbaked before the toppings are added to give it greater spring; the pan is generally oiled heavily in order to create a fried effect on the outside of the crust. The crust is covered with cheese (generally sliced mozarella) and covered with meats, usually in a solid layer, or patty, just above the crust, Italian sausage (a Chicago staple), as well as vegetables such as onions, mushrooms and bell peppers. A sauce, usually uncooked, of crushed or pureed tomatoes is then added. Typically this is finished with a grated cheese blend. On the usual pizza, about a pound of cheese is used. Deep-dish pizza is usually eaten with a knife and fork, since its thick gooeyness makes a slice of pizza larger than eight or ten inches messy to eat with the fingers.

Besides Uno, famous deep-dish restaurants include Uno's companion restaurant Due, which was opened just down the block by Sewell in 1955. However, a year before, in 1954, the Original Gino's Pizza, located on Rush Street, opened its doors, and 12 years later in 1966, Gino's East opened. Other deep dish restaurants include Edwardo's, Connie's, Giodano's, Carmen's, Bacino's, Pizano's (which is owned by Rudy Malnati's son, Rudy Jr.) and Lou Malnati's. Lou Malnati's was founded by another of Rudy Malnati's sons. -- Wikipedia


One of my favorite places for pizza is Lou Malnati's. Outside of downtown, they are my go-to place for Chicago pizza because it's a perfect balance of a buttery crust and savory toppings. In fact, I prefer it cold and eaten the next day!

Lou Malnati's Pizzeria is a family-owned Chicago-style pizza restaurant chain headquartered in Lincolnwood, IL. It was founded by the son of Rudy Malnati, who was instrumental in developing the recipe for Chicago-style pizza, and it has become one of the Chicago area's best-known local restaurant chains.

Lou Malnati began working with his father Rudy in the 1940s making deep dish pizza. In the 1950s, he co-managed Pizzeria Uno with his father. Lou and his wife Jean opened the first Lou Malnati's Pizzeria on March 17, 1971 in Lincolnwood, IL.

The Lincolnwood restaurant was very successful, and the family subsequently opened another store in Elk Grove Village. After an initial rocky start, the second restaurant proved profitable and the company continued to grow. As of October 2007 Lou Malnati's owns and operates 27 stores in the greater Chicago area. The chain participates in the Taste of Chicago and has been active in local charities.

After Lou Malnati died of cancer in 1978, his wife and sons Marc (hairlip) and Rick took over the business and they continue to operate it today. The main competition for "Lou's," as it is often called, are Giordano's Pizza and Gino's East.

Lou Malnati's is a prototypical Chicago style pizza. A thin crust of pizza dough is laid in a seasoned deep-dish pizza pan and raised up on the sides. The ingredients are placed on a Chicago style deep-dish pizza in the opposite order of a thin crust pizza. The first ingredient is thick slices of mozzarella cheese that are placed directly on the dough. Then additional ingredients like mushrooms, onions and sausage are spread on top of the cheese. The pizza is then topped with a tomato sauce made with whole chunks of tomatoes. One of the more popular features of a "Lou-Mal" pie is the "sausage patty," which is, as the name describes, a single patty of Italian sausage below the layer of tomato chunks or sauce, as opposed to the more traditional crumbled sausage.

So for this week's Foodie Freebie Friday, I'm giving away a Chicago style pizza package from Lou Malnati's. It's one of my favorite pizza places in the city and they have a great assortment of pizzas to choose from. One lucky reader will get their pick of what pizzas they want from this site. Which one would you choose?!

Some guidelines:
- Giveaway is only for those who live in the United States. My apologies to my international readers!
- You must have a valid email address so that you can be contacted if you win.


To enter the giveaway, leave a comment answering:
- What do you like topping your pizza with?


Deadline: Thursday, April 16, 2009 at 12 midnight CST.

One Winner will be randomly chosen by Random.Org's Interger Generator based on the number of your comment and will be announced on Friday, April 17, 2009. Good luck!

110 comments

  1. Garlic and olives are my favorite pizza toppings! Oh and buffalo chicken is a close third!

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  2. My ablsolute favorite pizza toppings are spinach and feta (and if it comes in Chicago style deep dish that is the ultimate!)

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  3. I'm pretty basic with my pizza - I love lots of cheese and mushrooms. :)

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  4. I love sausage and mushroom pizza!

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  5. My fave, I know it is weird, Sauerkraut and Canadian Bacon! I don't like the stuff by itself or in any other form....just on pizza..I have yet to talk DH into trying it though.

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  6. My favorite is hot peppers and pineapple. Sometimes with ham, sometimes without.

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  7. I love tomato, mushroom & onion!

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  8. buffalo chicken or pineapple and canadian bacon!

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  9. ANY topping is good for me... I just love pizza!

    But my all time fav would have to be roasted garlic and green olive. My husband calls me crazy, but it's delicious!

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  10. Pepperoni and mushrooms!! And now I'm totally craving it!

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  11. Mushrooms are my favorite pizza topping, and onions, too.

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  12. I love mushrooms and olives, two things my husband does not!

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  13. I absolutely love pizza but am so boring, I only like my pizza topped with cheese!!! Other toppings never really do it for me!

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  14. What a fantastic giveaway! I love pizza, but this is my favorite. I love Italian sausage, pesto, fresh mozzarella, sun-dried tomatoes, and kalamata olives. Yummy!

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  15. I have a friend in Chicago and she sent me this pizza, it is SOOOOOOOO good. But for me, I just love some cheese on my pizza.

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  16. Totally the sausage and spinach and deep dish is the best!

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  17. My husband was born outside of chicago and SWEARS by chicago pizza. I hope I win and suprise him. I love ham and mushroom on mine.

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  18. grilled chicken & jalepenos are by far my faves! Also love green chili on my pizza! Yum

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  19. I really love sausage on pizza. I once had pizza in chicago that had one large disc of sausage that covered the whole thing - it was so good! I should head to the windy city more often since it's practically next door to MPLS.

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  20. My number one topping (besides the obvious, cheese) is pepperoni. It's just a classic topping. I have been dying to have Chicago style deep dish pizza ever since I saw it on Bobby Flay Throwdown.

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  21. I love anything with goat cheese!!! But If I won these pizzas I would have to go with sausage and invite my native Chicago-born parents over... they still lament the lack of quality Chicago style pizza in the Twin Cities.

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  22. I like the sausage and pepperoni one!

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  23. Oh man, Lou's! Best Chicago pizza! My favorite pizza toppings are pepperoni, sausage, and mushrooms, but for deep dish pizza you gotta go sausage.

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  24. I am not very picky at all when it comes to pizza toppings.

    One of my favorite toppings is onion. My husband and I discovered green olives (after it was recommended to us) as a great pizza topping as well.

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  25. I miss Lou Malnatis so much! My favorite toppings are spinach and mushroom. Simple and delicious.

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  26. My favorite is canadian bacon with pineapple!

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  27. I love lots of meat and peppers on mine! YUM!

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  28. I love pineapple and jalapeno!

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  29. JalapeƱos and pineapple for me please!

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  30. Awesome giveaway-- I have been dying to try their pizza since I seen it on the Food Network. I like pepperoni and mushrooms!!!

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  31. Veggies! Lots and lots of veggies. I love to pile on the mushrooms, tomatoes, black olives, spinach and the last crucial ingridient to all my pizzas is jalepenos. I like spice!

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  32. From Lou's? Sausage for sure!

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  33. What a great giveaway - my husband and I wooed over Chicago deep dish pizzas 10 years ago. Now we live in New Haven Apizz' territory (thin, charred crust, Neopolitan style), but we'd kill for a Lou Malnati deep dish! I love sausage on my pizza, but it doesn't hold up well on the thin crust style that is most popular around here. Yum...

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  34. Pretty boring---pepperoni and if im feeling crazy, extra cheese.

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  35. I love Lou Malnati's, it's so good!

    I like lots of toppings! My favorites are extra sauce, ham, tomato, green pepper, green olives & banana peppers. Yum!

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  36. I love my pizza cheesy and saucy with sausage and veggies peppers onions olives the whole shebang!

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  37. I'm simple - usually just cheese & mushrooms or sausage does it for me, but I enjoy cheese & pineapple every once in a while. Yum!

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  38. Omigosh. Chicago style pizza is my downfall. How do I choose just one favorite?

    Oh, alright. If I must choose -- it's spinach all the way, baby! With plenty of cheese.

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  39. I like good 'ol fashioned plain pizza (maybe a little garlic if I'm feeling experimental that night!). My husband prefers his with sausage and pepperoni, sometimes even some pignoli nuts.
    ~Tracy (TWebber16 @aol.com)

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  40. I'm pretty boring, pepperoni, onions, green peppers. sometimes I just like cheese. Or grilled chicken. Yumm!

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  41. I like beef, black olives and onions-- and lots of cheese and sauce.

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  42. 1 cheese and 1 roni. I am boring but they are my favorite!

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  43. My favorite is Supreme. Ham, pepperoni, bacon, green peppers, onions, and mushrooms.

    I also really like just ham.

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  44. I completely miss Lou Malnati's! My favorite toppings are tomatoes, basil, and goat cheese.

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  45. I'm a fan of pepperoni, sausage, and tons of red onions.

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  46. My favorite pizza toppings are ham and mushroom, but when it comes to Chicago style pizza I love the spinach!

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  47. ham & pineapple usually...but i also love tomato, spinach, olives, and mushrooms...

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  48. I've always been a pretty traditional sausage and mushrooms kind of girl, but lately I've been craving chicken and spinach on my pizzas.

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  49. My favorite Chicago style pizza is stuffed spinach, but usually I love tomatoes and mushrooms.

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  50. My all time favortie pizza topping ate the Hawaiian! Ham and pineapple.....soooooo sood! YUM!

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  51. I love pepperoni, black olives and green bell peppers on my pizza!!! YUM :)

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  52. I like plain cheese; pineapple and canadian bacon; or onions!

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  53. Woohoo! I love pizza. My favorite toppings are Pepperoni & Pineapple. Such a good combo!

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  54. I love pineapple on pizza. The combination of savory & sweet can't be beat!

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  55. I think I'm pretty much a staple girl when it comes to deep dish as I love pepperoni, onions, peppers, and mushrooms.

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  56. I married a Chicago native and it's always been Gino's East for him, so I'm really curious how Lou Minalti's stands up. Depending on my mood my favorite toppings are pineapple and canadian bacon or pepperoni, olives, green bell peppers, red onions, and mushrooms. Ymmm, I'm hungry now :)

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  57. I like to keep it simple with pepperoni!

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  58. I love Pizza!!! But I am kind of boring when it comes to the toppings. I love pepperoni, sausage & pineapple

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  59. Pepperoni is my favorite topping.

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  60. I've never had pizza from Chicago...but, I love pepperoni pizza!

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  61. Plain old pepperoni for me!

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  62. Oh yum, pizza is my fave! I love cheese, shrooms, green onion and peppers!

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  63. I love Hawaiian style. One of the ones that I like the best had almonds and cinnamon added to it... sooo good.

    I also like a spinach stuffed crust.

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  64. Yummmm, pizza! My absolute favorite combo is sausage, mushroom, onion and fresh garlic.

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  65. Chicken and Broccoli is my favorite, but I normally end up getting pepperoni since not many places have this.

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  66. i love a blt pizza..bacon lettuce and tomatoes with a creamy sauce..HOLY MOLY good!!! mmmm what a delicious giveaway

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  67. I LOVE PIZZA! Being a New Yorker I do love NY style but can not resist Chicago style either! I love spinach on pizza and pepperoni as well. One thing that I think NY has a leg up on is the bigger variety of toppings, one of my absolute favorites that is rarely on the menu in Chicago is fried eggplant, YUM! Also white pizza with spinach AND broccoli is king...okay so I guess I don't dislike very much! :oP

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  68. Favorite....Pepperoni, mushrooms, bacon & extra cheese...yum!

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  69. Lou Malnati's is the BEST! One of the biggest things I miss about Chicago. For deep dish, I like it simple, just cheese. But it's the crust that makes the pizza. OK, I have to stop, my mouth is watering.

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  70. I love any veggies except green peppers. I also secretly love sausage and pepperoni, but I only make/order that on special occassions :)

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  71. I love Hawaiian. OR Mr. gets bell peppers, olive and sausage. MMM

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  72. Uno's for deep dish spinach, sausage, and onion. Thin crust is Malnati's sausage and onion. Yum!

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  73. I like anything and everything!!

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  74. Any kind of meat, with pineapple! :)

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  75. I'm a pepperoni kind of girl! I've never had Chicago style pizza, I hope I get to try it!

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  76. My favorite pizza is veggie! The more veggies, the better. At a place around here, they make a Veggie Special with a garlic-olive oil sauce that is awesome! Its also pretty light, so I don't feel too guilty afterwards ;)

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  77. Looks like some awesome pizza! I would pick the sausage and pepperoni.

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  78. i would have to say double cheese. that way me and the hubby can both enjoy - he is a carnivore and i am not (www.cooking4carnivores.com). he used to live in chicago and we order lou malnatis sometimes for a treat. they really are fantastic!

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  79. What a great giveaway! My H is from outside of Chicago and I know he misses true Chicago deep dish. My favorite toppings for pizza is grilled veggies and chicken although my husband prefers meat- any and all kinds...together ;)

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  80. Spinach, feta and sundried tomatoes! Yum!

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  81. I like veggies on my pizza - brocolli, spinach and chopped tomatoes are a great combo!

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  82. Oooh, so many choices! I love spinach, mushrooms and sausage. I miss Chicago-style pizza, so this would be a great prize!

    evitawylie at hotmail dot com

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  83. I have a great love of all veggies on pizza, but my absolute favorite is big hunks of tomato and sausage sprinkled with cheese. Makes me drool just thinking about it...mmm!

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  84. Spinach and carmelized onions are my all-time favorite pizza toppings.

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  85. On average, I'll go for pepperoni and mushrooms, assuming that the mushrooms are fresh.

    I'll admit, though, that the Franconello's on Maxwell has a caramelized onion pizza that is to die for.

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  86. I live in OK and it maybe weird (Okay it is weird) it does not matter what kind of pizza as long as it is served with a side of Ranch.
    [email protected]

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  87. I love barbecued chicken pizza! Yum!

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  88. I don't know that I have ever met a pizza/toppings I don't like. :) My staple favorite to order is sausage, mushroom, banana peppers, onion, and pepperoni.
    However, the best pizza I have had thus far was topped with: spinach, broccoli, caramelized onions, grilled chicken, tomato, and lots of provolone and mozzarella cheese!

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  89. My favorite pizza toppings is chicken alfredo. Yum!
    jnmiller at mywdo dot com

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  90. Sausage, green pepper and onion. From Lou's, of course! Oh how I miss good pizza! Can't wait to visit Chicago in August...Lou's, here I come! [email protected]

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  91. I was thinking beer, but then I realized you meant ON the pizza...artichokes and mexican cheese with baisil and thin slices of tomatoes

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  92. Sausage and pepperoni are my favorite toppings.

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  93. I love sausage black olives and onions on my pizza!!

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  94. Plain old cheese and pepperoni

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  95. Pineapple and fresh tomatoes -- no question. :)

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  96. My favorite would have to be Pepperoni & Mushroom and, of course good cheese. And, Chicago Style...you can't get any better!

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  97. Oh yum... you just can't get pizza like that here.

    I'm a fan of carmelized onion, pear and gorgonzola with roasted garlic sauce instead of tomato sauce on my pizza, but I love a good classic pepperoni pizza too!

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  98. MY standard topping is pepperoni and green bell peppers. But I also love BBQ chicken with carmalized onions, or carne asada with fresh tomatos and salsa verde. YUM!

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  99. Canadian Bacon, Pineapple, Green Peppers & Mushrooms. Yum!

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  100. mushroom, sausage, onions and peppers - yum.

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  101. Peppers, onions and sausage = a very delicious pizza!!!

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  102. Basil, tomatoes, mushrooms, fresh mozzarella, and garlic!

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  103. I won Foodie Freebie Friday last week so I'm probably not eligible but I can't NOT comment: our favorite combo topping is onion, mushroom and Italian sausage. Yum!

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  104. Wow, my first visit here, and I see an awesome giveaway!! I've always wanted to try this pizza ever since I saw it on foodnetwork!!

    I am a simple person with pizza: Pepperoni and cheese. That is all I need! A few mushrooms are nice as well.

    Thanks!

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  105. My favorite would have to be a pepperoni & bacon pizza.

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  106. I'm all about the Hawaiian pizza (pineapple and canadian bacon). yum!

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