The Time Emily in Paris Messed with Chicago

In Defense of Lou Malnati's
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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.

Now that Netflix has renewed you for Season 2 (and amidst your recent Golden Globe Awards nomination drama), let’s talk.

Emily in Paris Lou Malnatis
CREDIT: NETFLIX; GETTY IMAGES via People

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.”

WHAT?!!!

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.

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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…

Lou Malnatis Emily in Paris
Photo courtesy of Lou’s

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.”

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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.”

Lily Collins Emily in Paris
Photo courtesy of Stphanie Branchu / Netflix

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.

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In Closing

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. 🙂

Lily Collins Netflix Drama
Photo courtesy of Netflix

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View All 11 Comments

  1. J
    Jessica Camerata wrote:

    Yes to Lou Malnatis! I could go for a big slice right now! Also, loving all these throwback photos to Paris. Gosh I can’t wait to hop on a plane and travel again.

    xo Jessica
    an indigo day

    Published 2.24.21 · Leave a Reply
  2. L
    Leyla Tran wrote:

    Oh Jenn!! What a wonderful post – not only for our city but for Lou Malnalti’s. Thank you for sharing and for always supporting Chicago. I’ll order a pizza from Lou’s this weekend.

    Published 2.24.21 · Leave a Reply
    • J

      Thanks, Leyla! Ugh, my heart seriously sunk after hearing the writers took aim at Lou’s and Chicago. Our city and Lou’s deserves better! 🙂

      Published 2.24.21 · Leave a Reply
  3. A
    Alicia wrote:

    I loved this post so much. I’ve never had the pleasure of visiting Lou’s, but once I make my way back to Chicago, it is definitely going to be on my list. I love how they treated you and your family like their own! What a gem!

    Published 2.24.21 · Leave a Reply
    • J

      We’ll have to go there together when you come to the Windy City! It’s definitely worth a visit!

      Published 2.24.21 · Leave a Reply
  4. K
    Kate wrote:

    Love Lou’s pizza. I’ve lived in Seattle for years now but born and raised on Lou’s. I had it shipped for the Cubs playoff run in 2016, along with Portillos. I tear up thinking about it. Nothing reminds me more of my Grandma. Chicago never, ever leaves you. ❤️

    Published 2.24.21 · Leave a Reply
    • J

      Thank you so much for sharing! Portillo’s is amazing, too. Love that you love Lou’s and the Windy City. It’s truly a special place! Bob is also a huge of Seattle (I’ve never been!). Hopefully have the pandemic calms down!

      Published 2.24.21 · Leave a Reply
  5. A
    Alejandra Ramírez wrote:

    Great post! Lou’s is amazing for doing this!
    Thank you for defending them!

    I don’t like Emily in Paris and their comment is 😐

    Love your photos

    Published 2.24.21 · Leave a Reply
  6. Y
    Yhey Delgado wrote:

    Aside from the terrible choice to diss an iconic brand of Chicago, I found it demeaning towards influencers. They were portrayed as lower class, marketing wanna he’s that are only in it for the comp items, and the IG likes. Most of not all the influencers I follow do it because they enjoy it. They support their local vendors, restaurants, and small businesses. This is an added value to any business in 2020-2021. Influencers do research, develop relationships with brands, and collaborate with others in the community.

    While some, may take advantage and try to get a free pass, this is not the norm. It also made the viewer understand that no serious influencer could actually do the job without being in a corporate America job it having a college degree. That can’t be father from the truth. All of us can wear expensive clothes, but it takes a smart brain to develop something of your own and making it unique. I find it beyond hypocritical, for a show to pick on influencers as they did, yet sponsor the members of the HFPA to a 2 night exclusive stay in a luxury hotel at Paris to pitch their show. In the corporate world, that is considered insider trading. Shameful how some of these organizations systematically keep the playing field tight sealed for some who may not have the means to send them off on a trip to the set of their small studio show/series/documentary, etc). So Emily, while I am a woman who was hoping your show would bring me tranquility and take me off to Every adults dream travel destination, you managed to have me sit and question so many things, that left me homework to try and figure out what the point was of putting someone /something down . It wasn’t necessary. You could continued sipping champagne and loving Paris like we all do without picking on any brand/city/career choice/education leve. Not cool!

    Published 2.24.21 · Leave a Reply
  7. J
    Jen wrote:

    We love lou’s too…and after reading this, I love them even more!!!!!!!!! But I’m partial to a cheese with thin butter crust and a lou’s family salad. 😉

    Published 2.24.21 · Leave a Reply

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