Here’s the thing about pizza: If you grew up eating a certain style, or from a particular restaurant, you’re likely loyal to that place. The small Indiana town where I grew up had a pizza joint that, many folks would say, serves terrible pizza. But every time I go home, I simply must eat some. To me, it’s a slice of heaven.
So pizza beauty is in the eye of the beholder. That’s typically true for C-U pizza as well. If you grew up here or went to school at the U of I, chances are you’re a Papa Del’s aficionado. But if you’re from Chicago, you might prefer a place like Giordano’s, which opened this week in Market Place Mall.
Giordano’s is a ubiquitous pizza chain based in Chicago that specializes in deep dish “Chicago style” pizza. If you’ve never eaten at one, you’ll want to give it a try. Giordano’s has a good reputation, although like anything else in life, that’s not a unanimous sentiment. Que sera, sera.
When I visited this week, the restaurant reminded me of being at a Chicago location. The walls were decorated with Chicago memorabilia and sports teams, appropriately mixed with scenes from the U of I. (The Illini are Chicago’s Big Ten team, or something like that.) The food — I ordered deep dish, of course — tasted just like it does in Chicago, the service was prompt, and things seemed to be operating smoothly.
If you order deep dish, of course, be prepared to wait a while. Mine took 40 minutes, which is typical. Giordano’s also offers thin crust, extra thin crust, appetizers, sandwiches, salads and classic Italian dishes. Lunch specials — dubbed “fast lunch combos” — are offered Monday-Friday from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. You get a main course and side dish for $7.45.
One nice thing about the building: There is a separate area — even a separate entrance — for carryout/pick up orders. You needn’t try to wade through the crowd or track down a hostess to tell someone you’re there to pick up a pie. Just go the counter marked carryout/pick up. And they also offer delivery service.
Between Papa Del’s, Giordano’s and Rosati’s, C-U has options for deep dish pizza. And if you love pizza as much as I do, that’s a very good thing.
Tony Bleill is managing editor of Chambanamoms and a self-styled pizza connoisseur.