Deep dish pizza can get a bad rap, particularly the thick, goopy versions that more closely resemble your great-auntie’s casseroles than a proper pie. Of the small cadre of L.A. pizzerias bucking the Neopolitan-style trend to craft deep-dish ‘za, none are doing it better than Dough Box Pizza & Bread in East L.A.
The secret to Dough Box’s deep dish supremacy is, ironically, that it shows some restraint. Sure, Hollywood Pies (where one of Dough Box’s co-founders, Alexandra Gonzalez previously cooked) or Masa might offer traditional, Chicago-style deep dish, with crusts so tall you need a yardstick to measure them, filled to the brim with tomatoes and cheese, and they’re delicious ― but so heavy that a single piece might leave you feeling laden. Dough Box manages to capture all that deliciousness, but applies some kind of kitchen magic to lighten and freshen the classic up, and keep you coming back for an extra slice.
Each of the topping combos on the menu is named for a street in the neighborhood, from the Boyle, a classic mozzarella and pepperoni, to the loaded-up Hill, featuring mozzarella, garlic, spinach, Italian sausage, and housemade ricotta cheese. That all lands atop a buttery crust developed by the shop’s other co-founder, Tony Hernandez, a vet of acclaimed bakeries Bread Lounge, and Proof.
Since opening in early 2016, the pizzeria has built a considerable fan base for it’s deep-dish (and, two nights a week, a special-edition thin crust offering), and have already been able to bank on that success to expand to a new storefront and cafe. The cafe offers a limited by-the-slice menu for walk-up customers, in addition to full pies available for local delivery and carry-out. Unless you live within five miles, carry-out is your best bet, so call ahead (by at least half an hour; deep dish isn’t quick).