Giordano's Pizza Opens in Uptown

Oozy melty cheese stringing from stuffed pizza—what’s not to like?! At Giordano’s in Uptown, which opened to the public in the afternoon on July 15, I enjoyed a sampling of some of this Chicago-based restaurant’s signature dishes during a special preview lunch that day.

We started with bruschetta, followed by the Original Chicago Chicken Chopped Salad and their house salad, which were all good but the star of the show—their famous stuff pizza—was yet to come.

Next, the Super Veggie thin-crust pizza arrived and I was pleasantly surprised by the variety of veggies atop the pizza (mushrooms, green pepper, onions, broccoli, spinach, artichokes, and black olives) and how well the flavors melded together without any overpowering the other.

And then it arrived. The cheesy stuffed pizza for which Giordano’s is known—and with good reason. It’s not just “deep dish” pizza; this stuffed pizza has a bottom and top crust which are filled in between with melty cheese. We tried the Chicago Classic, which is pepperoni, mushrooms, onions and green peppers in the cheesy middle layer and the tomato sauce is on top of the second layer of crust. Delish. Did I mention the melty cheese?

I know my husband was quite jealous of my preview lunch—and he had just been to Giordano’s in Chicago last month. He and other diehard fans of the Chicago Giordano’s restaurants should enjoy the fact that the pizzas will be made with the exact same ingredients as those in the Windy City. Giordano’s CEO Yorgo Koutsogiorgas stressed that as even the water used to make dough can affect it, they’ll make the dough there and have portions shipped to Minneapolis, ready to roll. For other menu items, which include a classic pasta selection and sandwiches, they like to use local ingredients as much as possible.

Super Veggie Pizza Giordano's
super veggie thin-crust pizza

General Manager of Giordano’s Minneapolis Uptown John Gleason noted that there will be a lot of trucks traveling from Illinois with supplies but there will be some differences in the bar arena to reflect Minnesota. I saw that brews from Finnegan’s, Fulton, Summit, Surly and also Grainbelt are currently included in the offerings. I paired with root beer for this workday lunch, which I have always felt goes well with pizza, too.

The recipe for Giordano’s stuffed pizza is one that has reportedly evolved over 200 years since Mama Giordano developed her double-crusted, cheese stuffed masterpiece every year for Easter. The pizza became a sacred tradition in the Giordano family and a legend in the town of Torino, Italy. Years later, original owners and Italian immigrants Efren and Joseph Boglio moved to Chicago and the brothers introduced their mama’s recipe for stuffed pizza in 1974, when they opened the first Giordano’s on Chicago’s south side.

There had to be a sweet ending to this midday feast and, sure enough, a plate with some classic treats arrived—mini cannoli with ricotta cream filling, tiramisu and a deliciously decadent chocolate layer cake with creamy frosting in between the layers and even mini chocolate chips on the top, which was my favorite of the trio.

The restaurant’s modern, open atmosphere with very high industrial-look metal beam ceilings is designed to be a departure from the “old school” classic Italian digs that sport checkered tablecloths and such. I could see how it may get a bit loud in the restaurant in the evening as it was for even the preview lunch, but perhaps we could call it “lively.”

Koutsogiorgas said opening a Giordano’s in Minneapolis made a lot of sense as there is much in common with Illinois and studies identified Uptown as a good entry point for them. The much-anticipated restaurant is at 2700 Hennepin Avenue—there is even a parking lot for some lucky customers.

No reservations are accepted, and I imagine there could be some long waits to get a table, but Koutsogiorgas was quick to note that you can order for pick up or delivery and they even ship frozen pizzas nationally. Online ordering is coming soon for the Uptown location. Buon Appetito!

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