Jeff is a bit of a pizza connoisseur. He’s been a fan since the good old days, when he was working at Stuc’s Pizza in McHenry, Illinois, during high school. He got to eat all the pizza he wanted to while working. Really, for a high school boy, payment in pizza is practically better than cash! And his all-time favorite pizza is from Pizza Villa in DeKalb, Illinois, with its deliciously thin and crispy crust.
But if you’re traveling to Chicago, you shouldn’t miss the experience of Gino’s East pizza, the traditional deep dish Chicago style pizza that is justifiably famous. The original Gino’s is in downtown Chicago, and it’s the most fun to visit. Bring your Sharpie to graffiti up the place while you wait for your food, like thousands of patrons before you.
Be sure to bring your appetite when you go because this deep dish gooey goodness is super filling. Unfortunately, that didn’t stop me from eating nearly my entire personal pizza. The pies are different than traditional pizzas because they’re baked in cast iron, and they have the cheese on the bottom (and plenty of it), THEN toppings, THEN sauce. The sauce is my favorite part. It’s a very unique tomato sauce. It’s not thick and intense like many pizza sauces but light and very fresh tasting. The tomato flavor bursts into your mouth and it’s suddenly summer in the middle of December. As my Aussie friends would say, it’s beautiful.
We enjoyed spinach deep dish pizzas, one of their signature flavors, while the others in our group had meat toppings. Word on the street is that their sausage is the thing for meat lovers. For those who aren’t into deep dish, they also serve a thin crust pizza. Budget travelers could get away with sharing the lunch special. And if you don’t want pizza — although it’s a bit tragic to go to Gino’s and not try the pizza — they do have other menu offerings.
There are several Gino’s restaurants around Chicagoland, so you don’t have to go downtown to experience this tasty treat, but writing on the walls of some of the satellite restaurants is discouraged. You’ve been warned!
Do you have a favorite pizza place in Chicago, another travel destination, or even your hometown? Let us know in the comments, and enjoy your week or your weekend!