As I’m off in Washington DC for a work trip and visiting family and friends, I have a blog friend, Sarah from Punched Clocks, who will be filling in for me this week.
My Family Trip to Giordano’s in Chicago
Having been born and raised in a state with no real pizza culture to call its own (Pennsylvania), my options are limited when it comes to ordering a pie. To be honest, my husband and I have never even ordered pizza delivery to our home. I’d much rather drive a few minutes to get some Pho or Thai takeout.
Anyway, there are exactly two places I get pizza from. One is an authentic Italian joint with to-die-for caprese pizza. The other is a chic hand-crafted pizza and craft beer spot downtown. Still, it’s not something we eat often.
Since I never get it at home, I always spring for the chance to try a good pizza joint when we find one. So you know I abandoned my “diet” and went straight for the deep dish when we headed to Chicago.
We asked around when we got there to find the best place to go. Giordano’s was the unanimous winner. I had heard about it before, too, so there was no debate when it came time to choose where to eat on our second day in the Windy City.
We had planned on exploring the Magnificent Mile to see some of the attractions and do some shopping, and made our way to the Giordano’s on Rush Street. We followed the bright neon sign to the restaurant. It’s located on the corner of Rush Street – right off of the shops of Michigan Avenue – and is actually quite modest compared to the bright signage. The atmosphere was anything but – the doors never seemed to stay shut for long as guests made their way in and out. Even from outside the restaurant, you could smell the pizza.
By the time we got there, we were starving. My husband and dad were eager to get there, too, if only to get us away from the boutiques, saying we already spent too much on stuff we “didn’t need.” No time to debate – We were seated right away, our mouths watering over the menu. Everything sounded so good, we could hardly decide what to order.
My sister, Morgan, opted for the garlic parmesan fries, which she LOVED. Unfortunately for me, I’m not a fan of parmesan, so I didn’t sample them — but they came with a ranch dipping sauce, too, for an even stronger punch of flavor. According to everyone else, they were hot and crispy and seasoned to perfection. Needless to say, there weren’t any left by the time the waitress came to grab the dishes off of the table.
The rest of us started out with the bruschetta, which they pile high with fresh mozzarella and tons of ripe tomatoes. So. Good. The bread beneath was the perfect amount of toasty, too. (Who else cringes at the thought of a soggy slice of bruschetta?)
We considered ordering the toasted ravioli, which comes stuffed with browned beef and a side of marinara sauce for dipping. But we wanted to save room for the main attraction, and knew we’d be stuffed with pizza (no pun intended).
Guys, I was expecting to have only a few options of deep dish but I was so wrong. Giordano’s has a full and varied menu.
I have to admit, I’m typically a thin crust girl all the way, and I was almost tempted to order one of their extra-thin crust pizzas when I spotted it on the menu. I was there for the famous Chicago-style deep dish, though, so I ultimately changed my mind. After all, Giordano’s is voted the best pizza by pretty much every publication so it had to be good!
For their deep dish, Giordano’s has a handful of different pizzas with a tried-and-true set of toppings, although you can also build your own pie or make it plain cheese. We went for the Chicago Classic — you have to go for the classic when you’re in Chicago, right? – which comes with pepperoni, mushrooms, onions and green peppers.
I must say, I was a fan of the combo. I always love a little bit of veggie and protein on my pizza, and peppers and onions are my favorite. Honestly, though, no amount of vegetables could justify a meal like this for anything other than a special occasion — it was definitely the most indulgent meal I had in a long time.
The pizza arrived about 20 minutes after our appetizers. Chicago deep dish takes a while to bake, especially when they’re made-to-order pies: they go into the oven when they’re ordered so they’re custom and fresh. I am absolutely not complaining about the wait, but it’s something to be aware of: this isn’t a “hot and ready” kind of place.
(Don’t mind my sister in the background, also trying to snap a picture of this cheesy goodness.)
I know I said I was a thin-crust girl, but I think Chicago deep dish makes me a believer. That might or might not have to do with the fact that this pie comes with a cheese-stuffed crust to go with the bubbly cheese that tops the pie, too. Oh. My. God. It was so good, but so heavy. I could hardly finish one slice before I had to tap out. Kyle was in heaven and went for a second, and I was a bit jealous that I didn’t have the strength to grab another myself.
So, you’d think after such a heavy main course we would be done with our dining experience at Giordano’s, but we couldn’t help but order one last thing: a sweet plate of mini cannoli for everyone to share. They weren’t as spectacular as the pizza, but you don’t go to Chicago for the bruschetta and cannoli — you go for the deep dish.
Next time, I’m starting and ending with the pizza. It’s just that good.
We ate at Giordano’s Magnificent Mile location, at 730 N Rush Street, Chicago, IL.