Indianapolis is quickly becoming one of the hottest food cities in America. A destination for true foodies who are interested in everything from fine dining to food trucks. This column will put the spotlight on one of these local hot spots to help get the word out and share in the love of all things food.
Review by Dustin Heller (@eatindywatchindie on Instagram)
The Cubs or the Yankees? The Sears (Willis) Tower or the Empire State Building? The “L” or the Subway? These are all questions that are sure to get residents of both the Windy City and the Big Apple into a heated argument. We’re not going to get into any of that since this is a food column, but we are going to dive into another fight-worthy comparison: Chicago-style pizza versus New York-style pizza. I’m a lover, not a fighter, so I can find room in my heart for both.
Full disclosure, I hold no prejudice towards any style of pizza. With that said, the king of the Chicago-style pizza is taking center stage in the spotlight this week as we pay a visit to the iconic Giordano’s. No, we don’t have to travel all the way to Chicago for this magnificent pizza; they have three locations right here in the Indy area. The River’s Edge location on the north side is located just east of Keystone at the Crossing, the downtown location is at 43 N. Illinois St., and south siders can visit 1901 E. Stop 11 Rd. in Greenwood to get their fix. All three locations bring big city taste and the authentic feel of Chicago to central Indiana.
As legend has it, the Giordano’s pizza recipe began in a small Italian town near Torino, Italy, over 200 years ago and has been evolving ever since. It wasn’t until 1974 that Efren and Joseph Boglio moved from Italy to Chicago to start their own pizza business. They opened the first Giordano’s on Chicago’s historic south side and the rest is history. I’m obviously not the only one that loves this place–they’ve been named “Chicago’s Best Pizza” by NBC, CBS Chicago, The New York Times, Chicago Magazine, Chicago Tribune, etc. Needless to say, they are serving up some pretty special pies that make folks take notice.
The deep dish pizza obviously takes top billing at Giordano’s, but that’s not all they do well. They also take pride in their delicious appetizers, salads, sandwiches, pastas and desserts. They are not a one-trick pony, but everyone knows you have to get the pizza! I’m guessing most of my readers have had a Giordano’s pie before (if you haven’t, fix that immediately), so I’m going to focus my “can’t miss” attention on some of their newer menu items. If you haven’t visited Giordano’s in a while, you probably haven’t had the pleasure of trying the four items highlighted below. So, without further ado, away we go:
Bratwurst Pizza: What is more Chicago than putting a bratwurst inside a deep dish pizza? I don’t know, maybe if they spread the sauce in shape of the Cubs logo? Either way, this pie is the epitome of all things great about Chicago cuisine. They use top-shelf Vienna Bratwurst sausage to add a nice touch of smokiness to the flavor profile, and then combine it with caramelized onions for a little sweetness. They then top it off with their signature tomato sauce and mustard. Wait…what? That’s right, mustard on a pizza. Don’t hate until you’ve tried it. It all adds up to one sensational pie that is sure to make any Chicagoan proud. The Giordano’s cheese pull is a thing of legend!
Meat & More Meat Sandwich: You wanna know what I like better than meat on a sandwich? More meat! Ah, you see what I did there. For all you meat lovers out there, this is the sandwich for you. Let’s count them as we go: pepperoni (one), sausage (two), salami (three), bacon (four). That’s right, four different meats all piled high on a toasted garlic Italian roll. To make matters even better, they smother all that meat with melty mozzarella and their famous marinara sauce. I guess it’s kinda like a meat lovers pizza in sandwich form. Brilliant!
Artichoke Fritters: Personally, when I think of a fritter, it is of the apple or corn variety, but did you know that fritters are found in many different cuisines from all over the world? A fritter is simply a piece of food that has been dipped in batter and then deep-fried. Pretty much anything you eat at the State Fair could be considered a fritter. The artichoke variety at Giordano’s are more on the lighter side than the heavy stuff you’d find at the fair. The artichoke hearts are lightly breaded and fried until golden brown and crispy. They are served with a side of lemon basil aioli that has the perfect amount of zest to ignite your taste buds.
Oversized Skillet Salted Caramel Cookie: The name alone is a mouthful, but just wait until you sink your teeth into this warm and gooey sensation. They bake the cookie in their pizza oven just enough to keep it nice and chewy, and then finish it off with vanilla ice cream and a decadent sea salt caramel sauce. They also offer a chocolate chuck cookie as an option for you chocoholics out there. This dessert is living proof that you can never be too full for dessert.
Well, I guess the debate will live on for another day, but Giordano’s is sure making a strong case for the Chicago-style side of the argument.