Vacation - Part III / Sub-part B - Day 1

After driving almost all day, we finally arrived at the hotel without too much problem. We were all tired and hungry, so after checking in, we decided to try and find some authentic "Chicago Style Deep Dish Pizza" and then try to get to the Sears Tower or the Hancock observatory that night. We checked the hotel room folder for any adds - and found a pizzaria that listed that on the menu.

Gianni's Ristorante & Pizzeria

When we found the restaurant, I was pleasantly surprised. I found it to be a quaint family owned Italian restaurant. This is what I love. I can not stand the "corporate" cookie-cutter restaurants where you eat the same thing no matter if you are in Seattle, New York, Miami, Minneapolis, Dallas, or anywhere. Inside Gianni's Ristorante & Pizzeria there was a small bar in the corner, and a few people gathered around that corner bar and TV screen watching the last game of the 2006 World Cup - France vs Italy. There was one other couple dining in the little restaurant. We were seated at a larger table in the other back corner.

Not sure what to expect, we placed our order for the Gianni's Special, and a small thin-crust cheese pizza (for Jonathan - the finicky pizza eater). The Gianni's Special was Cheese, Green Pepper, Onion and Sausage. When we placed our order, the waitress told us it was going to be "a while" - and the menu said it would be at least 45 minutes. Now this was interesting to me.

As we were waited, (and the time got longer) we decided to postpone the Sears Tower / Hancock Observatory visit for the night, and perhaps drive the route to the Field Museum (where we had tickets for the next morning) to make finding it easier (in the morning).

Now you need to know that it was interesting to me because I have (as a child) been to Chicago, and had "Chicago style deep dish pizza". It was the running joke in our family for many years. My memory of it was about a 5 inch thick "wheel of cheese" set into a pizza crust with toppings plunked into the bubbling mass of cheese. So, after having talked about my memory of what "Chicago Style Deep Dish Pizza" was, my family (and I) were excited to see if this was unique to that pizza, of if this was actually what "Chicago Style Deep Dish Pizza" is all about.

Well, I was close. My memory may have been distorted or exaggerated because of my impressionable youth. The pizza was not 5" thick. It was more like 1 ½" - 2" thick - and when you pulled a piece from the tray - the cheese and toppings strung out all over the place! It was a messy, stringy, cheesy, delicious mass of pizza!!

Michele ate one piece. Benjamin ate one piece. Zachary ate half of one piece. I'm a big guy. I can pack away food when I want. I ate one piece, and a half of the half that Zachary left behind, and could not put another bite into me. Heck, I had a hard time with the after dinner mint. Each piece came in at close to a pound.

While "Chicago style deep dish pizza" was not EXACTLY what I remembered it to be, it was quite a bit of what I remembered it to be. If anyone is "googling" this and reads this entry, and you live in or around the Franklin Park, Illinois area (yet have not tried Gianni's Ristorante & Pizzeria) - I recommend you give it a try!

Also (on an interesting side note) - The family employees (who had a heavy Italian accent) were very happy about Italy winning the World Cup that night! It was fun to watch them celebrate the Italian win! They apologized to us - we let them know that there was no need for apology - completely understandable!!

By the time we left Gianni's Ristorante & Pizzeria, it was later than we expected, and darker than we expected, and neither Michele or I wanted to be driving around Chicago in the dark not sure where we were going. We returned to the hotel (with leftover pizza in tow) and called it a night.

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