Thursday, January 13, 2011

Gino's East

Just as I thought my journey on the Chicago Pizza Tour was beginning to wind down, I had no idea what I was in for.

Holy shit. Welcome to Gino's East.

This is Gino's East's largest location, formerly a Planet Hollywood, where vandalizing is not only allowed but encouraged on any untouched spot in the joint-

Why not? It's fun for the whole family!

Gino' East was founded in '66 by two taxi-drivin' buds Fred Bartoli and Sam Levine with their pal George Laverde. Though they were (relatively) recent Italian transplants, they had no idea what they were doing when it came to deep dish pizza, so they hired this woman:

Alice Mae Redmond. This righteous lady cut her teeth making pies at deep dish ultra HQ Pizzeria Uno and Pizzeria Due for 17 years before heading over to Gino's East to do some major damage.

Unhappy with the taste and consistency of the crust in Uno's pie, Alice made some major tweaks to create what has now become legendary at Gino's- a thick, bready, corny crust.

Yes, you heard me right. This stuff tastes about one ingredient away from actual cornbread and has a slight sweetness to it.

Somebody that saw this picture without any explanation thought it was a bloody foot. What you're looking at here is Gino's crumbled sausage deep dish pizza (not to be confused with the disc-like patty sausage variety) consisting of the aforementioned crust, a pound and a half of mozzarella, sweet chunky tomato sauce, and small bits of sausage.

Alice eventually retired in 1989 after developing recipes and working at Gino's for 29 years. I'm impressed...

...unfortunately I can't say the same for Of all the deep dish places I visited, I think I liked Gino's LEast.


  1. Most importantly, how does this compare to Subway's Pizza?!

  2. Defending deep dish to east coasters is one of the most boring things I do, but for some reason I feel the need to defend the history of Gino's East. I've been out of the city for a little while, but the most recent time I've tried Gino's it was noticeably worse than previous times. I asked around and the general consensus is that something terrible must have happened, because everyone recognizes that it ain't what it used to be. So I'm not saying what you had was good, just that there's a reason people talk about it, or have an attachment to it.

  3. If you are ever in SF, you have to try out Little Star for some deep dish. I'm certain you will enjoy it.

  4. Hi thank you for all the info. My family actually owned Geno's my uncle was Sam Levine. I can truly say best pizza ever. Sorry the place was sold it will always remain in my heart.


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