Full Disclosure: I paid for this meal with my own money and the opinions expressed are completely my own.
Chicago style pizza. When you have a craving for it, there really is no substitute. A couple of weeks ago while I was in Chicago for work, I decided that was what I wanted for dinner. Walking around Chicago is actually something I enjoy, so I decided I would just walk until I found a Chicago style pizza place. I was hoping to find one that I hadn’t been to before, but when I came across Giordanos, I remembered how good it was the last time I had it and decided I would try to go there. So, I went in to the already crowded restaurant (it was only 5:30pm) and checked to see what the wait was. I was hoping that since I was by myself the wait would be reasonable – if there even was one! Well, I was wrong. Apparently many other people liked Giordanos as much as we did because the wait was already 90 minutes! I’m kind of a wimp about waiting when I’m hungry so I had to pass and hope I’d find somewhere else with less wait.
Luckily, there seem to be Chicago style pizza places on every corner in downtown Chicago. I spotted Gino’s East down the road and decided to try there. They had kind of an odd system to seating people, they didn’t take names and everyone just stood in a line outside, so I was kind of skeptical when they told me the wait would be 20-30 minutes. But since this was so much less than the other I decided to just stick it out and wait.
It turns out that however they estimate their times is pretty accurate because I was inside and seated in about 30 minutes! There are a few different Gino’s East’s in Chicago but the one I went to (near Water Tower Place) was actually three stories tall! Maybe they just had a lot more room and that is how they could seat people so much quicker?
It didn’t take me much time to decided what I would have to eat so when the waitress came I placed my order right away. If you aren’t familiar with Chicago Style pizza, it takes about 45 minutes to bake. In order to minimize my time of awkwardly waiting at a table by myself, I made sure to order right away.
Since I knew my pizza would be a bit of a wait, I ordered some breadsticks as an appetizer. They were pretty good, and definitely a good idea to keep me from being out of control hungry, but they weren’t really anything special. Also, although I may have eaten more than I should have because I wasn’t super hungry when my pizza actually got there. Oops.
While I was waiting for my pizza I also drank almost an entire pitcher of water! Walking around all day makes me thirsty apparently. I also may have been drinking lots of water in an effort to not eat all of the breadsticks before my pizza came. 45 minutes is a long time to wait when you are by yourself!
When my pizza came I was very excited! The pizza was pretty good, but not my favorite. The crust was different than others I’ve had, more buttery I think. Not exactly a bad thing, just different, and I’m not sure that I prefer it. Of course the cheese and fresh tomato sauce was delicious! I was only able to eat one piece (ahem…too many breadsticks!) but since my hotel room had a refrigerator I took the rest home with me. I did feel kind of silly waiting that long for just one piece of pizza though, getting it delivery or takeout would have made much more sense for just one person.
My pizza craving was satisfied! It wasn’t my favorite that I’ve had, but it definitely did the trick. That thick gooey cheese and fresh tomato sauce is just so good no matter what the crust is like.
Taste: A-, not my absolute favorite but still pretty good. I’m just not sure that I loved the crust.
Cost: A, about the same as other Chicago style pizza that I’ve had.
Would I go there again? I’m not sure. I know it will be tempting if their wait is less that other places, but I think Giordanos is still my favorite!