By Lori Fredrich Senior Food Writer, Dining Editor, Podcast Host Published Mar 16, 2021 at 11:01 AM

Lou Malnati’s has been in the Milwaukee market for just over a year, having opened their Fox Point location in December of 2019.

But beginning Wednesday, the Illinois-based pizzeria is celebrating a big milestone: its 50th anniversary.

It was March 17, 1971 when Lou Malnati and his wife Jean opened their first deep dish pizzeria in Lincolnwood, a northern suburb of Chicago. It was there that the Lou Malnati’s Pizzeria story began, and it’s through the work of Lou’s sons, Marc and Rick Malnati, that the legacy continues to this day.

Many things have changed since 1971, but Lou Malnati’s has remained largely the same, staying true to their original recipe and offering customers consistency in quality and hospitality. It’s all part of an equation that has made them one of Chicago’s iconic brands and enabled them to expand into new markets including Indianapolis, Milwaukee and Phoenix. In addition, Lou Malnati’s was recognized as one of the Chicago Tribune’s Top 100 Places to Work for the eleventh year in a row and also voted as a National Top Workplace.

They are no small accomplishments.

“As I look back on our first 50 years, my brother and I are grateful to have had a mother and father that taught us that anyone can be successful if they’re willing to persevere, and strive for excellence in all that they do,” noted owner Marc Malnati in a release on the anniversary. "Building Malnati’s has been an incredible team effort, and our goal has always been to bring people in that are willing to do the relational work necessary to create more than just another company, but to actually create a community."

Time to celebrate

To kick off their 50th, Lou Malnati’s is inviting customers to partake in a variety of specials during the months of March and April.

  • March 17-21: Order a large deep dish “Lou” or “Chicago Classic” pizza for just $19.71.

  • March 22 through April 15: Get 50% off select menu items Monday-Thursday (view the complete list here)

Customers can also share their favorite Lou’s moments through photos and stories for a chance to win a $25 gift card and 50th anniversary t-shirt. Enter here, or post your photos to Instagram, Twitter and Facebook with the hashtag #LousTurns50 for your chance to win. Winners will be selected every week throughout the month of March.

The pizzeria will also host additional contests, special events and employee engagement activities throughout the year. For more details and a complete list of events, visit 

“We have a strong leadership team, led by our CEO Mike Archer, and we are a family business that loves to be an integral part of our customers’ family traditions,” adds Malnati. “We’re working hard to create even more opportunities to celebrate together, as our biggest goal is to be around 50 years from now.”

Lori Fredrich Senior Food Writer, Dining Editor, Podcast Host

Lori is an avid cook whose accrual of condiments and spices is rivaled only by her cookbook collection. Her passion for the culinary industry was birthed while balancing A&W root beer mugs as a teenage carhop, fed by insatiable curiosity and fueled by the people whose stories entwine with each and every dish. She’s had the privilege of chronicling these tales via numerous media, including OnMilwaukee and in her book “Milwaukee Food.” Her work has garnered journalism awards from entities including the Milwaukee Press Club. 

When she’s not eating, photographing food, writing or recording the FoodCrush podcast, you’ll find Lori seeking out adventures with her husband Paul, traveling, cooking, reading, learning, snuggling with her cats and looking for ways to make a difference.