Deep Dish Battle: Little Star vs. Zachary’s

San Francisco’s Little Star edges out Zachary’s from Berkeley with 5-2 votes among Pickle Palace diners as the birthday girl finds herself unable to choose between the pies.

This was part of my 33rd birthday dinner with pizza and PJs. I wanted to set up a taste test between two Bay Area pizza giants: Little Star in San Francisco and Zachary’s in Berkeley. After comparing tasting notes with my friends, I hoped we would know which one had the best deep dish pizza.

As for the PJs, I wanted to dine in a comfy setting with my Bay Area friends. Leave the heels at home ladies! So, we nestled into our friend’s kitchen and dining room in the Mission and made some cocktails.

Deep Dish Battle: Little Star vs. Zachary's
The Little Star slice has cheese on top and the Zachary’s slice is topped with chunky tomato sauce.

We compared these two pies:

  • The Little Star Classic came with sausage, mushrooms, onions and green bell peppers
  • Zachary Special had Italian sausage, green bell peppers, onions and mushrooms

Another big difference – my hubby ordered the Zachary Special half-baked. So, we could pop it in the oven and enjoy it piping hot. I’m not sure if Little Star had that option for their take-out pies. Still, it’s difficult for any pizza to compete with another pie that had a chance to bake closer to dinner time.

On to the tasting notes.

Zachary’s fans raved about the fresh vegetable toppings. The chunky tomato sauce was yummy. Zachary’s deep dish crust hit all the right notes on doughy-ness and it did a fantastic job sopping up the hot topping juices. My favorite memory of a Zachary Special was from my Cal days. I remember flying out of Oakland and I carried on a lukewarm slice in a Tupperware. While my fellow travelers munched on complimentary nuts, I enjoyed pizza for breakfast.

Little Star fans loved the sausage and cheese in the Classic pie. They could not get enough of the cornmeal texture of the deep dish crust, baked with buttery goodness. The Little Star crust reminded me of my favorite Chicago pizzeria, Lou Malnati’s. After a long day of classes and shooting in the field, I always looked forward to my comfort food at Lou Malnati’s, with red wine and garlic bread.

Bottom line: I couldn’t choose between Zachary’s and Little Star. I love them both.

What’s your favorite deep dish pizza?

Leave a Reply