There are a lot of Giordano’s around Chicago. Norah thankfully decided to start me off on Lou Malnati’s even though Giordano’s was closer, something that I was grateful for as Lou’s was tastier and I ended up visiting Giordano’s twice in two days.
Willis Tower Lunch
I Tindered in Chicago. People do it when they’re passing through London so I thought that I might as well join the crowd of travelling Tinderers. It was very easy to get dates. On my first day of doing it I managed to arrange three dates for the following two days. I don’t know what others were looking to get out of it, but clearly they were endeared by my photos and bio of “looking to find the perfect pizza.”
We met in the Willis Tower, which many Chicagoites refuse to call by its current name – Sears all the way (much like Kendal’s/House of Fraser in Manchester, history wins out). As with most skyscrapers, the interior of the Willis is as soulless as the corporate drones that inhabit it.
“Did you really want to get pizza?”
“I always want to get pizza.”
Deep dish usually takes 45-60 minutes to make, but Giordano’s have a lunch deal where you get a drink, individual pizza and starter for $10. I really do wonder why this guy wanted to meet me on his lunch break, especially as I ruined his diet – his hobbies include working out and world travel (he works for United so get free flights) – and he rarely eats carbs usually.
Soup to start, with saltines to crumble in. Very Italina-American. A light start, though I’m sure laden with hidden calories.
I had an ice tea. I don’t get why people go so mad for plain ice tea. As a child I used to drink gallons of Lipton’s flavoured ice tea (peach, raspberry and guava were my favourites). Ah, those sneaky sugars.
It was meatier than Lou’s and seemingly sturdier. I have read that Giordano’s has a slightly different technique to other deep dishes. It didn’t come in a dish so I expect its crust has more integrity. I messaged Hans a picture of it (which I have subsequently lost) and he replied that it looked like a rosebud.
The acoustics inside were very good, so much so that I’m commenting on it. here were a lot of people and chatter, but somehow you could easily make conversation and couldn’t really hear the conversations of others. Italian-American decor and exposed ceilings are doing it right.
Carbs and fat and chat and goodbyes.
I was asked on a second date that I never went on.
“You’re going southside?” Neither Norah nor any of her friends have been as far south in Chicago as I have. Hyde Park wasn’t initially on my hitlist, but when called on a date I figured “why not”. Improv taught me to say yes to life, and so far I haven’t been proved wrong.
The date (“a doctor, but not the kind that helps people”) asked me what I wanted before I set out. I said the special. He ordered ahead.
Decor and acoustics were similar to the Willis Tower branch. The waitress was friendly, but this is to be expected in American eateries. There were only two other tables while we were there.
Ordering ahead works wonders and the pizza came within five minutes of seating.
“We’re not going to finish this.”
“Maybe you’re not.”
I finished my half with ease.
I like how they serve pizzas in Chicago. It makes it feel like more of an event. And that the wait staff have to serve you the slices, although here they gave us slightly more autonomy, with the pizzas coming pre-cut. I feel the picture above doesn’t do justice to the depth of the dish.
While I tend to have a scorched earth policy with restaurants and men, I’m glad that I came to another Giordano’s as the individual pizza isn’t a proper representation of the full hog.
This seemed to have a greater mix of ingredients than the other deep dishes that I had, which is to say that it was not as overloaded with cheese and tomato sauce. It even had veggies, which gave it something of a freshness amongst all the salt and fat.
We were in and out within an hour. My date didn’t finish his half, but he gave me his remaining slice. Americans are more forthright about asking for meals to be boxed. The English care less about food waste. I think that I have an American soul, something that I was increasingly convinced about during my visit.
Lou’s has a better crust. Giordano’s is more convenient (in terms of number of stores) and has a better ambiance and acoustics. I never tried Pequod’s, the other pizza place that came most recommended on Tinder and online.
This ended my deep dish journey.