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.
800 N Dearborn St
Chicago, IL 60610