Perhaps you’ve heard the buzz about the new Giordano’s in Uptown. There is excitement: opening day featured two-hour lines and four-hour waits for the Chicago-style pizza. There is disinterest: from people who consider deep dish pizza an abomination, a form of hotdish. I went during lunch, walked right in and sat down, and had a pizza that was identical to the pizzas I’ve had at Giordano’s in Chicago. No better, no worse. So don’t buy into anyone who says “It’s not the same.” It is.
First of all, Giordano’s is technically not deep-dish pizza. It’s stuffed pizza. They’re almost identical, but stuffed pizza like Giordano’s has a thin layer of crust on top of the pie, which is then covered with sauce and sprinkled with parmesean cheese. Giordano’s says it takes 45 minutes to bake one of these pizzas, and we received our pizza precisely 44 minutes after ordering it. So be prepared to wait.
My friend Tom and I sat at the bar, where we chatted with a very friendly and familiar face. Service at Giordano’s was quite good. They set expectations for people who may not be used to eating deep dish, and there are a lot of smiles. The general manager used to be a GM at Masu at Mall of America. Most Giordano’s around the country don’t have bars, but this is Uptown. You’ll find Summit, Surly, and Fulton on tap, and many other local beers by the bottle. Lonely Blonde goes nicely with the sweetness of the Giordano’s sauce, so that’s what we got.
We also ordered the Original Chicago Chicken Chopped Salad: if you think it looks like what you get at Tucci Bennuch, that's because it is. Giordano’s chef created this salad of little pasta tubes chopped with chicken, bacon, peas, and blue cheese topped with a honey mustard dressing that tastes more like a vinaigrette. It was tasty. It’s a salad at a pizza place, what do you want?
But you can write about all sorts of things on the menu of a Chicago-style pizza place, all that really matters is the pizza, right? It’s good! In our “special” the cheese was hot, thick, stringy, gooey. The sauce had a nice lightness and sweetness that balanced out the weight of all that’s below. The onions, green peppers, and mushrooms were still crispy and fresh, and the sausage had a nice flavor.
The crust on the bottom is thinner than you’d get in a deep dish, it’s about 1/4 inch thick, but the outer crust is higher than a deep dish. My only quibble with Giordano’s is their crust: it’s more like a cracker and less of a buttery bomb than my favorite Chicago deep-dish, Lou Malnati’s Pizza. That said, the crust holds the ingredients nicely and doesn’t get soggy.
At lunch, Giordano’s offers a $10 special with a personal pizza, side salad/soup/fries, and a soda. That came out very quickly, although there’s a lot of crust on a 6-inch round pizza, so be ready for that. Bottom line: I certainly wouldn’t wait hours in line for Giordano’s, and frankly Mozza Mia in Edina makes a heck of a deep dish, but I really enjoyed my stuffed pizza, and I can’t wait to go back for more.
Giordano's, Hennepin Ave. S., Mpls., 612-444-3143, giordanos.com