June 10, 2007
633 N. Wells Street
Chicago, IL 60610
Small Cheese Deep Dish Pizza ($11.95)
A trip to Chicago just wouldn’t be complete without some deep dish pizza—Charlie Trotter’s will have to wait till next time! This was my first visit to the Windy City so I consulted my friend Gash, a Chicago native currently residing in Cairo (!), about where to find the best pie in town. He recommended Gino’s East and Pizzeria Uno. I decided to give Gino’s a try because Uno is a chain and readily available across the USA. In fact, I’ve eaten at an Uno in San Diego.
The original Gino’s East was a cramped hole in the wall with tortuously long waits, but an expansion in 2001 moved the eatery to its current location inside an abandoned Planet Hollywood. In order to retain some of the original Gino’s unique ambiance, every piece of furniture covered in graffiti was moved to Sly, Bruce, and Demi’s old haunt. As much effort as the folks at Gino’s put into hiding the fact that they’re located inside a relic from the 90′s, the faux spotlights out front along with the celebrity hand prints on the walls are a dead give away.
I sat in a cozy booth for two and yearned for a Sharpie pen as I waited for my small cheese pizza to arrive. After a twenty-five minute wait, my pie appeared. The amiable waitress cut me a slice (a quarter of the pizza) and said she expected me to eat at least two slices before I left. I said I would try my best.
The pizza was fresh out of the oven and the cheese and sauce were still bubbling on the surface as I dug in. A fork and knife were essential for the first few bites, which were absolutely scrumptious! Oozing mozzarella cheese, aromatic marinara, and a bread-y crust proved to be a potent combination. I’m not a deep dish expert (yet), but this pie was awesome. The most distinctive quality about Gino’s pizza is its crust. Sturdy, un-greasy, and mild in taste, the crust contrasted splendidly with the abundant sauce and cheese. I was really impressed by how well the crust held the hefty toppings too. I easily ate half the pie and I packed the second half to go. I definitely didn’t disappoint my waitress.
The Windy City