Yesterday, I went on the “Second City Pizza Tour” of Chicago. My coworker, Cathy, and I took a slightly longer lunch break and indulged in the amazingness that entailed not one, but four pizza places in the city!
The four places we visited are as follows: Giordano’s, La Madia, Gino’s East, and State Street Pizza. I will give a brief review of each place as they all served very different types of pizza. For visitors and chicagoans, it is a great tour to see which pizza you like the best! It was also a test of my true tolerance for eating slice after slice of pizza… and Cathy & I survived.
Stop #1: Giordano’s
I love Giordano’s pizza, but I was not happy with the way they treated us at the restaurant. Second City Pizza Tours cannot bring the tour group inside to sample the pizza. Instead, the managers insist the group eats their pizza outside… I found that puzzling and rude. Our tour guide told us that they have been stingy about this for a while, so they have just gotten used to it. In my opinion, if a company is taking a tour group to a restaurant and paying for the pizza, they deserve to eat it indoors. -1 point for Giordano’s, but +2 for their pizza… I just love the pastry crust and the chunky tomato sauce with the oozing cheese. Small slices for all, but definitely filling and a great place to start the tour.
|Our tour guide serving pizza on a park bench, that’s right.|
|Our group walking to La Madia|
Stop #2: La Madia
|Triple Pepperoni with white truffle oil|
|Goat Cheese, Leeks, Garlic & Pancetta|
|Taleggio & 3-hour Roasted Grapes|
After freezing outside while we ate our pizza, we were welcomed indoors to a classy contemporary pizzeria called La Madia. They had tables set up for our tour group and served everybody water. We were definitely impressed and Giordano’s didn’t even compare to the service at this restaurant. Here, we had the opportunity to sample four types of pizza from their brick oven (Margherita not pictured). They were all unique and fun to taste. My favorite was the triple pepperoni and least favorite was the grape & tallegio cheese pizza (I couldn’t really handle the sweet & savory taste, although it was well-made). I definitely want to stop back here for a meal sometime or one of their cooking classes or wine dinners!
Stop #3: Gino’s East
Awesome pizza, completely different crust. Their yellow cornmeal crust is a little sweeter than Giordano’s, and the sauce is sweeter as well and a bit tangy. The ambiance here is cool because there is graffiti all over the wall, and the pizza is served from their crisp baking pans. I enjoyed the pizza, but at the end of my piece, I wasn’t as eager to eat the crust as I was at Giordano’s.
Stop #4: State Street Pizza Company
Our last stop was only a five minute walk from our office, so we were happy with the ending location AND the pizza here. This is a walk-up and order place with a few high top tables to seat appx. twenty people, so it definitely has a different atmosphere than the other three places. We were given the “It’s for my girlfriend” pizza, and it definitely was a unique mixture: Whole wheat crust, mozzarella, goat cheese, spinach and sundried tomatoes. A nice finish to our tour, but I almost wish I had gotten to end on a plain cheese or pepperoni slice. I was FULL by this point, so only ate half of my share. FYI they serve pizza by the slice here in cheese, sausage and pepperoni.
OVERALL: I had so much fun with Cathy on the tour. Second City Pizza Tours is one of three pizza tour companies out there, but they are the only walking tour. I prefer a walking tour because you can walk off some of your pizza on the way to the next place! I hope everybody has a great halloween weekend! Tonight I am having my girlfriends over to sample pizza from Homemade Pizza Company which just opened it the Gold Coast! So excited! PIZZA OVERLOAD!! (And you’ll never guess what my halloween costume is!)