I fell in love with Chicago-style pizza while living in the city years ago, and after returning to Utah I would frequently bemoan the lack of quality Chicago-style pizza in the Salt Lake area. When Chicago transplants Jim and Joe Pecora opened Sweet Home Chicago Pizzeria in Draper in 2005, I was excited to try it, and the pizza didn't disappoint.
In 2009, Sweet Home Chicago opened a second location at The District in South Jordan. The South Jordan location serves a full Italian menu as well as pizza, salads, appetizers and sandwiches.
Sweet Home Chicago serves Chicago-style thin crust pizza as well as stuffed pizza, but not the deep dish pizza you might get at a place like Pizzeria Uno in Chicago. The crust on Chicago-style pizza contains both oil and cornstarch, so it's thin and rich, not thick and bready like the crust you would get at a place like Pizza Hut or even The Pie.
Sweet Home Chicago makes their own sausage, sauce and dough, and they use 100% whole milk mozzarella cheese. My favorite pizza there is the thin crust pepperoni, covered with large slices of spicy pepperoni. The stuffed pizza is amazing, with a thick layer of cheese and meat or vegetables between two layers of crust and topped with seasoned crushed tomatoes.
Besides the pizza, Sweet Home Chicago serves Chicago dogs, Italian beef sandwiches and meatball sandwiches, which I've tried and enjoyed, but not as much as the pizza. They also have a couple of different salads, including a yummy Italian salad with a unique sweet Italian dressing.
The atmosphere at Sweet Home Chicago is casual, with fun Chicago memorabilia on the walls and sports on the TV. The specialty pizzas have Chicago-inspired names like "The Jake and Elwood," "The Taylor Street," "The Bleacher Bums," and "The Don." Of these, the Taylor Street, with salami, sausage, meatballs, capicola, and prosciutto, is my favorite, but in general I don't like pizza with more than three toppings. If pizza has too many meat toppings, it will be greasy, and if it has too many vegetable toppings, it will be soggy.
Sweet Home Chicago's faults seem to be results of its success. On busy nights there can be a long wait for the pizza, so call ahead for an estimated wait time. The service provided by Sweet Home Chicago's young staff can be inconsistent, which is a problem with Draper restaurants in general. The restaurant is sometimes filled with smoke from the large pizza oven, and it would be nice if the management would try to resolve that problem.
Sweet Home Chicago's prices are higher than you would find at a low-budget national chain, but their pizza is a lot better, and they frequently run great specials. For example, if you get on their e-mail list you can get a coupon for a family meal deal that includes an extra large pizza, garlic bread and a large Italian salad for $17.99. Sweet Home Chicago's busiest night is usually Tuesday, when the pizzas are buy one, get one free.
People seem to either love or hate Sweet Home Chicago's pizza, with more people in the "love" category. In my opinion, it's one of the best pizza places in Utah, especially if you like Chicago style.
Sweet Home Chicago Pizzeria
1442 E. Draper Parkway in Draper
11587 District Main Dr. in South Jordan
(At "The District", just outside the movie theater)