An open letter: Netflix Emily in Paris Chicago
Emily, we were doing so well. You were exploring Paris in beautiful clothes, sipping champagne, and trying to climb the corporate ladder. In fact, we even have a lot in common. We’re both from Chicago, work in the communications field, and love all things travel. #besties?
Then, out of nowhere, you diss Chicago. Our Chicago.
Wait, What did Emily do?
Okay, so Emily offended an entire city. How? She went after our pizza.
For those who haven’t watched the trending Netflix series, in one episode, Emily flings deep cuts against deep dish pizza. After one character says deep dish pizza is like, “quiche made of cement,” she responds “Oh no. You must have gone to Lou Malnati’s.”
As a lifelong Chicagoan, pizza is sacred in the Windy City. A religious experience, if you will. Like Cubs vs. White Sox fans, Chicagoans will get in an entire war of words about crusts, toppings, deep dish vs. thin crust, sauces and beyond from some of the city’s restaurants and pizzerias. Some Chicagoans swear by Pequod’s, others obsess over Gino’s East; Coalfire Pizza gets much deserved love – the list goes on and on.
As Eater Chicago’s article explains, many locals consider Chicago deep pizzas as “tourist food.” Sure, it has that perception at times. Plus, the Windy City culinary scene is WAY more than hot dogs and pizza. Obviously.
However, most Chicagoans really love our precious pizzas.
Emily in Paris Chicago
Okay, okay, so I’m not actually in a fight with Emily over pizza. Don’t @ me, Emily in Paris fans, haha! I’m actually only in a fight with her over ONE pizza – Lou Malnati’s.
In my humble opinion, there is one pizza to end all pizzas, and that’s Lou Malnati’s. Before Chicagoans tell me I’m wrong, I’ll explain why…
About Lou Malnati’s
For those of you who don’t know, Lou Malnati’s is an iconic pizza brand in Chicago. The company was founded in 1971, and the Malnati family is still involved in the chain.
Emily’s deep cutting commentary on our deep dish is no laughing matter. First, it’s coming at a time when the hospitality industry has taken a huge hit from the pandemic. Jobs were lost; restaurants have closed.
In a press release, the Lou Malnati’s team responded to the series, saying the following:
“While the writers of Emily in Paris may not be fans of Deep Dish Pizza or Lou Malnati’s in particular, generations of Chicagoans would strongly disagree.”
It goes on, “Malnati’s is always the first to participate in good-natured banter with pizza lovers from New York or California. However, it feels especially unkind to disparage anyone during these difficult times, given that most restaurants are struggling to hang on.”
Sauce AND Substance
Lou Malnati’s has AMAZING pizza, but it’s an even BETTER brand. They do so much for the community and non-profits. Some of their acts never even see the light of day.
You see, it’s not their sauce, but their actual company substance, that makes me love this brand. When my mom passed from a stroke 15+ years ago, a member of the Malnati family called my father to share his condolences.
He went on, “I want you to know that we have created a tab at the Lincolnwood location for you and your family. Your tab is covered by us. Use it when you feel sad, when your family doesn’t have the strength to cook a meal, simply wants a treat, or just needs a pick-me-up.”
The tab was a real thing, and it helped us through a very tough chapter. Nights when my Dad was overcome with grief and couldn’t leave the couch and on days when my brother and I got home late from the hospital and forgot to pick up food on the way or home or when we didn’t have an appetite to eat. Lou Malnati’s was there in a pinch. It made us feel better, and it gave us a taste of home when our home was upended.
Listen, we didn’t take advantage of the tab a lot. But we did take them up on it. I distinctly remember losing my appetite during my mom’s loss. At times, the only thing that even sounded appetizing was Lou’s cheese pizza.
Overall, I associate Lou Malnati’s pizza with care, compassion, empathy, and kindness. My heart sunk when I heard that statement in the show. My family and I will forever support Lou’s, and I’ll get “saucey” with anyone who thinks differently.
In the end, Emily, to be clear – don’t mess with Lou’s again.
Mmmmkay, thanks. 🙂