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Feast Chicago: Gino’s East

March 12, 2012

Born and raised in Pittsburgh with New England leanings, my pizza preference usually falls on the thin crust side of the spectrum. But when in Chicago, you eat deep dish. Of the many pizza joints in town, Gino’s East had nostalgia value for Dave, so we walked in for our second lunch of the day and were told immediately (and by three people) that deep dish pizzas take 45 minutes, thin crust 30. It seemed sad that the staff felt the need to really drive this home, you could tell they were used to being berated by hungry customers and cranky tourists.

The walls at Gino’s East are covered with signatures, black and white photos, and a lot of “mark+ karen 4eva!” declarations. It’s exuberant to say the least. The pizza, dripping in cheese, was just as lively.

If you don’t already know, deep dish pizza was invented in Chicago in 1943. The biggest difference is the crust – a heavy thick dough made of olive oil and cornmeal, very different from the flour and water crust I’m used to. The crust is pressed into a heavy, deep pan and pulled up the sides, then filled in with cheese, toppings, and sauce. You have to eat deep dish with a knife and fork – there’s no folding a slice over, and this is not a quick meal. But, Chicago-style can easily accommodate extra cheese and toppings. With normal, thin crust pizza, more than two toppings is a soggy mess, and extra cheese inevitably ends up sliding onto one side of the pie.

Gino’s pies also had excellent mozzarella – it actually had flavor, unlike a lot of bland pizza cheese. If you go, a small pizza is plenty for two people (especially if it’s your second lunch), and remember to bring your own sharpie to write on the wall.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Pat permalink
    March 14, 2012 12:01 pm

    What did you write on the wall?

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