310 W. Randolph St. Map
CPC invaded Giordano's on 7/17/2008.
In the five years that the Chicago Pizza Club has been in existence, I am sure that every member has eaten at Giordano's. It is probably the classic stuffed pizzeria in Chicago, but the CPC had overlooked it as a group. The time came to correct that oversight and I, for one, am very glad we did.
Giordano's opened in 1974, allegedly basing its stuffed pies on the owners's mother's Easter deep-dish, double-crusted, ricotta-stuffed pizza. Personally, I am a bit skeptical of their story largely because the people at Nancy's, which preceded Giordano's, introduced stuffed pizza to Chicago and claim their pies are based on a version of an Italian pastry. The founders of both restaurants both are from the Turin, Italy area and both settled in Chicago. I think there must be more to the story and if anyone knows anything about it, please post in the comments.
While Nancy's has largely left the City of Chicago, Giordano's remains stronger than ever. And Edwardo's and Bacino's, two other prominent stuffed pizza chains, were both founded by former Giordano's employees. Regardless of where the idea for stuffed pizza came from, I think that Giordano's can claim more credit for the style's existence than any other restaurant.
So how have decades of fame and success affected Giordano's? Well, going into the meeting, more than a few members were skeptical. I have always liked Giordano's, but I rarely choose to order from it. My skepticism only increased when calls to the corporate office failed to find a human being and my email to the office to discern the oldest location went unanswered. Ultimately, the Club went to the downtown location on Randolph because it is next door to the corporate office.
Seven members attended the meeting at the restaurant that was filled with Chicago-themed artwork, including multiple reprints of old South Shore Railroad posters. The ceiling was decorated with the phrase "Eat Pizza" in multiple languages. We sat in high-backed wood chairs at a table covered with a red and white checkered tablecloth.
We ordered two pizzas, a stuffed spinach and a thin crust sausage. 41 minutes later, our pizzas were served. The stuffed pizza was outstanding. A melted mountain of mozzarella, with loads of fresh spinach, all covered with a chunky tangy sauce with ample fresh oregano, and sitting on a good crust that was strong enough to hold it all.
The thin crust, which we only ordered because of the Club's commitment to trying all stylistic options each restaurant offers, was a welcome surprise. The more than plentiful sausage was well seasoned with a noticeable amount of fennel. The cheese was cooked perfectly with a combination of toasty and gooey textures. Personally, I would have liked more sauce on the crust, but I think I may have been alone in that gripe.
The consensus of the Club seemed to be that we were all excited to be reintroduced to a high quality pie that we had ignored for too long. Giordano's lived up to its reputation as THE place for stuffed pizza.
Petey gives Giordano's 7.416/10.
The thin crust sausage
More spinach action...
Where it went down...
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Thursday, July 17, 2008