Lou Malnati's Pizza

Report: Lou Malnati’s Pizza Sold to Investment Firm

The pizzeria that changed Jon Stewart's mind about deep-dish has been purchased by the Meritage Group, according to Bloomberg.

According to Bloomberg News, Lou Malnati’s, an iconic Chicago pizza chain featuring deep-dish pies, has been sold to a private investment firm.

The report cites sources who said Lou Malnati’s owners, including BDT Capital Partners, have sold the company to Meritage Group. The Malnati family will remain as stakeholders in the company. The chain was reportedly valued at more than $500 million.

After working for 22 years at another legendary Chicago deep-dish pizzeria, Lou Malnati opened the shop bearing his name in Lincolnwood, Illinois, in 1971. “He thought he’d be the next Ray Croc in the pizza business,” his son, Marc Malnati, told PMQ when the chain was inducted into the Pizza Hall of Fame.

Lou died of cancer in 1978, at which time his wife, Jean, and Marc took over the company.

Marc Malnati famously represented the family’s brand in an appearance on The Daily Show in 2013, where he defended deep-dish pizza to host Jon Stewart, who had previously referred to the style as “tomato soup in a bread bowl.”

“This is an above-ground marinara swimming pool for rats,” Stewart said on his show. “I want to know that, when I get drunk and pass out on my pizza, I’m not going to drown.”

Marc arranged a deep-dish truce with Stewart, appearing on The Daily Show with a pie from Lou Malnati’s. Stewart gave it a try and pronounced it “very tasty.”