Time capsule: Pizzeria Uno

When people think of Chicago, they undoubtedly think of deep-dishpizza: layers of toppings piled high and baked into a bucket of crust thatcustomers need a knife and fork to dig into. The source of this often imitated(and, some would say, never duplicated) style? Pizzeria Uno,which opened its doors in 1943 on 29 E. Ohio St. in Chicago’s RiverNorth district, was the fi rst to offer the deep-dish style of pizza thathas been so closely associated with the Windy City; due to its immensepopularity, owner Ike Sewell opened a second location (Pizzeria Due)one block from the original in 1955 and succeeded in attracting evenmore customers.

Flash forward to 1978, when Aaron Spencer (current Uno ChicagoGrill chairman) convinced Sewell to expand into other markets; thefirst location outside Chicago opened in Boston in 1979, and the firstfranchise unit opened in Washington in 1980. Over the years, manychanges have taken place—the company’s name changed to UnoChicago Grill in 2005, is currently headquartered in Boston, and nowoperates more than 200 stores in far-fl ung locales such as the UnitedArab Emirates and South Korea—but the two original locations inChicago are still churning out deep-dish pizzas for throngs of fans inmuch the same way as those first pioneers 65 years ago. And, withthe new launch of Uno Due Go!, the pizzeria giant enters the quickserveindustry with hundreds of planned openings in airports, mallsand other locations across the country, serving up deep-dish andflatbread pizzas. But the company’s greatest success, says RichardK. Hendrie, senior vice president of marketing for Uno ChicagoGrill, is spreading the pizza gospel on a global scale: “We provedthat a worldwide, successful business could be built from the modestbeginnings of a specialty, albeit world-class, item—deep-dish pizza.”