Gino’s East (The Original)
633 N. Wells
Chicago, IL 60610
Honestly, this was an experience for which I was not prepared. I had a preconceived image of Gino’s painted in my mind – a bright, cheery pizza place – boy was I in for a surprise! Gino’s is an experience that can only be had first-hand. Inside, every possible millimeter of the walls, booths, and any place possible is covered in graffiti. The only place not graffitied was the Ladies’ Room, on the way to which is a hallway decorated with photos of celebrities sitting in the restaurant, including Brad Pitt, Britney Spears and many, many others. Once that sank in, I realized that I was in a place that was a celebrity in and of itself. Gino’s was ‘where it’s at.’
I’ve had deep dish pizza before, but not “the original” deep dish from Gino’s. The staff was friendly and up front – if you order a deep dish it’s going to take 45 minutes. Yikes…would it be worth it? We ordered a small cheese deep dish – 4 slices for $14.95. Add a cup of hot tea and a root beer to that order and for two people it came to just over $25 with the tip.
The wait staff was conscientious and stopped in often letting us know the status of our pizza. I thought that was really nice.
Then, the moment and the pizza arrived in what appeared to be a “well-seasoned” black iron pan, with golden crust surrounding a bright red tomato sauce center. This “small” pizza was anything but small, yielding four large pieces, and when they say deep dish they mean it – I could barely finish one slice. It was over an inch thick between the pastry-like crust and the substantial gooey cheese. FYI, Mr. Picky (David) loved it.
Gluten-free/Celiac Note: this pizza crust (per the waiter) is much lower in gluten than other pizzas, and also contains corn flour which lowers the gluten content even more. So if you’re not too sensitive, you SHOULD be able to give this a try. If you are sensitive, Gino’s also offers gluten-free pizza! I didn’t try that because I didn’t realize until after we had ordered that the gluten-free option was available. Next time, I guess!
If you make it to Gino’s, don’t forget your appetite…and your pen.