My Pi is a family-owned business. My father’s hobby is cooking and he studied cooking his whole life. In the early 1950s, he started developing his recipe for deep dish pizza. He continued to work on this recipe while at Northwestern’s Business School. To pay his way through school, he opened a hot dog stand on the Northside. He also worked as a steward at his fraternity.
No fraternity has ever eaten so well because he had carte blanche to work on all of his recipes, from pizza to filet mignon. My dad based his pizza recipe on improving his favorite pizza. He studied and experimented with tomatoes that were not as acidic and he developed a “spice pack” that would enhance the flavor of the tomatoes on his pizza.
After college, he worked his way up the corporate ladder until he became a partner in a large financial brokerage company, all the while entertaining his family and friends and repeatedly hearing, “You should open your own pizzeria.” So, on August 24, 1971, my father opened the first My Pi on Sheridan Road across from Loyola University in Rogers Park.
He started with the deep dish pizza recipe that he had been perfecting since the 1950s. His commitment to serving pizzas made out of the finest ingredients was an immediate success.
Throughout the years, he opened more than twenty My Pi restaurants in 9 states. My Pi was the first Chicago deep dish pizza restaurant opened outside of Illinois and has been saluted as the best pizza in the towns where it was located. When I was fourteen, my father opened a small carryout version of his restaurant in our hometown. I started cooking there and continued to work at his restaurants for eight years. Then I moved onto restaurant management school and the Culinary Institute of America.
I spent the next ten years working as a chef in fine dining restaurants around Chicago until I decided to recreate the restaurant I grew up in serving my father’s pizza. I hope you enjoy eating our food as much as we enjoy preparing it for you!
What makes so special?
Our unique pizza in the pan is one of kind. Our family recipes have been used for decades and you can taste the difference in our special tomato sauce. The sauce is flavored with a secret recipe of herbs and spices to give our pizza its special flavor and we use only vine-ripened San Marzano-style Roma tomatoes.
Our deep dish and thin crust pizzas are popular with our regulars. Each gets its own blend of up to four artisanal Wisconsin cheeses including the best locally made mozzarella in the midwest.
Secret recipe of herbs & spices
Our tomato sauce is flavored with a secret recipe of herbs and spices created by my father in the 1950s to give our pizza its unique flavor.
We use San Marzano-style Roma tomatoes, which are grown in the lush valley area around Modesto, California. They are vine-ripened, so they develop a full sugar taste. Most tomatoes are double or triple cooked when canned.
My Pi’s tomatoes are single cooked so they keep their firmness and bright taste Only a small amount of tomatoes are canned in this manner. We believe the tomatoes grown in this area are superior to the San Marzano’s grown in Italy. The Italian version is higher in acidity and not as sweet.
Fresh homemade dough
My Pi’s deep-dish dough recipe was developed by my father, a fourth-generation baker, whose family came to the United States from Bialystock, Belarus in 1905.
My Pi’s recipe is made fresh every day and timed so the third “proofing” of the dough is in the oven - the way all bread products should be developed.
That is why My Pi pizza has a wonderful, fresh yeast taste and crispness that remains tender to the bite.
We use a combination of up to four different cheeses in our different types of pizzas. All are artisan made in central Wisconsin, where we believe the best quality mozzarella is made with milk from grain-fed dairy cows.
Our sausage is fresh primal cut meat flavored with herbs and spices to be compatible with our tomato sauce.
It is important to note that our thin crust, deep dish, and stuffed pizzas use different tomatoes, sausages, spices, cheese, and dough, so each pizza is made to have unique characteristics favorable to each type of pizza.
We make our salads to order using the freshest ingredients. We don’t make salads in advance like other places and let them sit around till you purchase them. We put it together when you order them.
Try our unique mandarin orange vinaigrette! It’s made from our homemade mandarin orange vinegar and best of all we make it naturally lower in fat than most vinaigrettes.
Each pizza is unique
Cheese: We use a combination of up to four different cheeses in our different types of pizzas. All of our cheeses are artisan-made in central Wisconsin, where the best quality mozzarella is made with milk from grain-fed dairy cows.
Tomato Sauce: Our tomato sauce is flavored with a special blend of herbs and spices to give it its unique flavor. Most pizzerias use just plain tomatoes straight out of the can and add no spices to enhance the pizzas flavor.
Sizes - Deep Dish:
Small pizza is 9 inches & serves 1-2
Medium pizza is 12 inches & serves 3
Large pizza is 14 inches & serves 4
Sizes - Thin Crust:
Small pizza is 12 inches & serves 1-2
Medium pizza is 14 inches, serves 2-3
Large pizza is 16 inches & serves 4
Carryout & Delivery: We prefer to not cut our deep dish pizza if you are carrying out or having it delivered. By not cutting the pizza, there are no avenues for the pizza sauce to seep down to the crust & make it soggy. Therefore, the pizza will arrive at its destination with a crisper crust & it will be a better pizza.
All our desserts are homemade
Chocolate Chip Cookies: Our chocolate chip cookies are made from real grade AA butter, farm fresh eggs, pure cane sugar, Hershey’s chocolate chips and our secret ingredient.
Brownies: Our brownies are made with all natural ingredients. We use Hershey's chocolate, farm fresh eggs, real grade AA butter, and lots of our secret ingredient.
Cheesecake: Our cheesecake is a 30 year old family recipe. It’s sweet, creamy, & delicious. And we’ve added a lot of our secret ingredient.
My father retired his last restaurant in the Lincoln Park area of Chicago in 2008. And now the Bucktown, Chicago location is the only remaining location. For the many people who like to reminisce, below is a list of all the locations, when they initially opened and if they were owned & operated by the Aronson Family (AFO) or they were Franchises (Fr).
1971 Rogers Park, IL (AFO)
The Original Location
1973 Miami Beach, Fl (Fr)
1974 Tulsa, OK (Fr)
1975 Golden Valley, MN (Fr)
Oklahoma City, OK (Fr)
1976 Boulder, Co (Fr)
Norwalk, Ct (Fr)
Glen Ellyn, IL (Fr)
1977 Hicksville, NY ( Long Island ) (Fr)
1978 Lincoln Park, Chicago, IL (AFO)
1978 Phoenix, AZ (Fr)
1979 Dadeland, Miami, Fl (Fr)
1979 Kendale Lakes, Miami , FL (Fr)
Edena, St. Paul, MN (Fr)
1980 Massapequa, NY ( Long Island ) (Fr)
Fort Wayne, IN (Fr)
1981 My Pie, Too Hubbard Woods,
Winnetka, IL (AFO)
1982 Gainesville, FL (Fr)
1984 Wilmette, IL (AFO)
Wheeling, IL (AFO)
1985 Re-opening of Glen Ellyn (AFO)
Huntington, NY ( Long Island ) (Fr)
2000 Bucktown, Chicago , IL (AFO) (Open)
2009 Northbrook, IL (AFO)