Deep dish pizza is a uniquely American creation. Inspired by the dish’s Italian heritage, sure. Created by second generation Italian immigrants, yes. And yet, as conceptually separated from those roots as it is to apple pie.
While Chicago is the official, obvious, undisputed birthplace and Mecca of the style, Houston has quietly boasted a deep-dish reputation for nearly 45 years thanks to one business. The original Star Pizza on Norfolk and Shepherd has been serving authentic, Chicago-style deep dish in the same green and white house since 1976.
The cramped quarters of a converted early 20th century home make for an intimate and familiar setting. Small wooden booths, each adorned with their own hand-painted murals, place you at arm’s length from the person across the table. The whole experience is rather appropriate in its sense of history. A refreshing departure from the lifeless stucco and plaster that plagues so much of this city.
Naturally, we ordered the deep dish. A 10” Starburst, the house specialty, includes ground beef, Italian sausage, pepperoni, onions, mushrooms and bell peppers. Served in its traditional steel pan, the outer crust, which like the pizza sauce is made in house from scratch, had developed a nice crispiness around the top that faded to bready goodness near the bottom.
Crust consistency across the pie was impressive, though likely aided by an unfortunate lack of cheese. The pies at Star Pizza are true deep dish, and really quite delicious, but they lack the generous, perhaps ill-advised levels of cheese seen at some of the more beloved Chicago joints.
Undoubtedly the best place in town to cure a nagging, unrelenting urge for Chicago-style pizza, this H-Town essential could still use a few more pointers from the OG’s in the windy city, even all these years later. That said, Star Pizza remains a Houston treasure. One we’re glad to see expanding.