Last week Hubby had his annual corporate meeting in Orlando so he drove down (he HATES to fly) on Monday morning and when it was over on Thursday afternoon, I flew down to join him for a long weekend. My flight got in around 3:30 pm but instead of him having to go to the bother (and the expense of all those tolls) of picking me up at the airport I just took a shuttle to the hotel. By the time I got to the hotel and got settled it was about time to eat dinner.
We couldn’t decide where we wanted to eat so we got in the vehicle and just started driving around. We drove down to International Blvd but nothing really “spoke” to us. Then we came back towards Celebration and stopped off by Lake Buena Vista and just starting driving up and down the road to see if anything struck our fancy. We’ve been to Orlando several times over the years and we started talking about the different restaurants we’ve eaten at during our different stays and we had kind of settled on another restaurant when we saw a sign for Giordano’s Famous Stuffed Pizza. Intrigued by the sign and the thought of “Chicago style” pizza we decided to go in. Am I glad we did!
I can’t remember our waiter’s name but he was from Chile and a delightful young man. He and hubby had a good time talking about Chile and soccer I guess I’m showing my ignorance of Geography and culture, but, I had no idea that Chile was more closely “related” to Italian culture than Latino culture. I guess I had just assumed since it was in South America that it would be more Latin flavored. His name (and his voice) sounded more Italian and he looked more Italian than Latino. He was a great server and told us he was moving to Philadelphia soon to be with his girlfriend. How sweet!
The back of the menu told the background on the restaurant. Apparently there are around 40 I think he told us. There are several in Orlando and other Florida cities although they started in Chicago. The owners of the chain named the restaurant after their mother, whose name was Giordano. She used to make the deep dish double crusted stuffed pizza for her family back in Italy when he was growing up especially on holidays like Easter. When her son moved to the United States (Chicago) he went to work in a pizza restaurant but he was disappointed that the pizza was not like his mother’s recipe and when he was able to open his own restaurant he tried to make the pizza as close to his mothers as he could. Eventually he and his brother went into business together and opened Giordano’s. You can read their story here (http://www.giordanos.com/aboutus.html) in an excerpt from Chicago Magazine.
They brought us a complimentary order of garlic cheese bread that was wonderful and hubby ordered some fried mushrooms that were probably some of the best fried mushrooms that I have ever eaten. We ordered a small pizza but it is so thick that I could only eat a couple of bites and I was full. It was really great and the dough tasted like it was two different types of dough. Maybe it was the way it baked up but the bottom dough tasted more like pizza dough and the top dough seemed more like it was pie crust. It was light and flaky and delicious! We ended up taking most of it back to the room with us and eating it the next night and I think hubby had some for breakfast the next morning too! He also ordered a tiramisu. I only tasted a bite of it because I was SO full from the pizza but it was really good also.
And according to the waiter and the website you can even order their pizza online and they will prebake it (half done) and ship it to you packaged in dry ice! So, it’s nice to know if we get a BIG hankering for it, I can always have it shipped! Probably won’t be quite as good as it is in the restaurant but I’m sure it will be great and it was overly priced either, so… if you are in Chicago or Orlando or any of the other cities where they are located and you get a hankering for some wonderful Chicago style deep dish stuffed pizza find a Giordano’s and I guarantee you won’t be disappointed.