Castel Gandolfo – A First Look

The house salad is wonderful, served with peppers, olives, and fresh Parmesan cheese.

The house salad is wonderful, served with peppers, olives, and fresh Parmesan cheese.

Castel Gandolfo, the new pizzeria on the corner of Dearborn and Chicago, is housed in a building that’s been home to doomed restaurants.
The first was a shady BBQ place that was there for years. I have no idea how it survived. I never saw more than two people in there at any one time and there were no signs that they made frequent deliveries. It’s still a mystery that plagues me.

Then, Iggy’s 3 moved in, painted the walls a garish red and black, and served up late-night eats that totally missed the mark. Iggy’s didn’t last long, and after that the space was vacant for ages, its windows a popular surface for graffiti.

Now, the building is all spruced up again, sporting a fresh coat of yellow paint on the outside, and new fixtures, tables, and green and white walls on the inside.

But will Castel Gandolfo manage to break the slow business/ lousy food curse of the restaurants that came before it?

Maybe. The jury is still out.

Its menu is simple and focused. You’ve got a few decent wine selections, two salads, a long list of pizza toppings, and a few desserts to choose from. All of the pizza is thin crust and is prepared in a brick oven. Pretty straight forward right? You’d think. But then it took ages to get our pizza.
All of the tables around us ordered the daily special – a pizza topped with arugula – and they were served right away. But my dining companion and I were in the mood for sausage, and we had to wait and wait to get it. Were all the special pizzas pre-made? Did they mess up our order? While we waited, we wondered.

When our pizza arrived, it was really good. I even enjoyed the leftovers the next day! But since Chicago prides itself on outstanding pizza, I must admit it was no standout.

I’m skeptical that a new mediocre pizza place can survive in this town, especially when it only accepts cash and doesn’t deliver in a neighborhood littered with TV watching apartment dwellers.

Still, I’m not ready to count Castel Gandolfo out just yet. I wish them luck because they’re going to need it, and I’ll be going back.

Our pizza was good, but we had to wait for it.

Our pizza was good, but we had to wait for it.

Castel Gandolfo
800 N Dearborn St
Chicago, IL 60610
(312) 787-2211
Get directions

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