Average cost: $10-$20
Centerstage Reviewer: Michael Nagrant
If you're shipping your pies around the United States via UPS, you must be doing something right. Sure, there's Uno, Malnati's and the like, but for most, Giordano's aggressive franchising and marketing has made it the iconic pie slurped around the world. Thick as Chicago brick and slathered with a Wisconsin-size portion of cheese and tangy tomato, these pizzas survive, through every tourist whoever engaged his neighbor across their common backyard fence, as the monster slice that didn't get away.
Open for more than 43 years, Giordano's bears the name of Joseph and Efren Boglio's mother. When the brothers first opened the restaurant, the pies were garlic-laden affairs, but time and consumer tastes have tempered the recipe a bit. The heft of a slice, though, remains a constant; if you can throw down more than a couple, you should consider challenging Takeru Kobayashi at the Nathan's famous hot dog eating contest.
Each of the locations have their own flavor but share consistent accents, like white- and red-checkered vinyl tablecloths, plastic tumblers, wood-backed chairs, silver-rimmed parmesan and red pepper shakers, exposed brick and classic photos, that channel a stereotypical Italian red sauce joint or family basement. The West Loop location in particular features a trove of 1893 World's Columbian Exposition and classic Chicago advertising posters.
Giordano's official website: http://www.giordanos.com