We ate deep-dish pizza from Giordano's in West Des Moines to tell you if it's worth the wait
A look at business trends hitting the Des Moines metro area. Wochit
Chicago's beloved deep-dish pizza recently made the trek across the border and landed in Iowa.
And of course, Des Moines metro residents freaked out.
Giordano's, a popular Chicago-based pizza chain, opened its first Iowa restaurant on July 23 in the newly built Bridgewood Square retail center in West Des Moines at 120 Jordan Creek Parkway.
Since speculation about the Windy City staple coming to the Tall Corn State started in 2017, locals have anxiously waited to step foot in the restaurant and get a slice of cheesy goodness right at their doorstep.
That much was obvious with the wait times some people have reported online. Giordano's says it takes at least 45 minutes to build and bake its melty deep-dish pizzas, but the number of excited customers turning out for the restaurant's opening week added to the wait, with some people reporting delays of more than an hour to be seated.
But does Giordano's live up to the acclaimed Chicago standards that lure people through its doors?
We set out to get a slice of pie and give it a try.
Chicago Classic in Iowa
Unlike the typical thin-crust pizza most Iowans are accustomed to, Giordano's deep-dish pizzas are baked with a thick bottom crust and layered with toppings, copious amounts of mozzarella cheese, another crust and then a thick, chunky tomato sauce. The final product resembles something closer to a cake than a pizza.
To save ourselves the hassle of a potentially long wait, we placed a to-go order for the deep-dish Chicago Classic, which included pepperoni, green peppers, mushrooms and onions.
We placed the order at 11 a.m. on a Monday and the earliest pick-up time available online was 1:50 p.m. — well after lunchtime. Once we got to the restaurant, though, it was a quick in-and-out process and we had the small pizza for $21.65.
Back in the newsroom about 20 minutes later, we lifted the lid of the box to take in a whiff of our thick, pre-sliced pizza that stayed together quite well during the car ride. Despite not eating it immediately, the famous "cheese pull" was still there — reaching high into the sky as we lifted a slice on to a plate.
The first bite was a sauce explosion. For people who aren't used to eating deep-dish pizza, imagine tripling the amount of sauce on a normal slice. The fragrant, almost citrusy tomato sauce made the pizza more reminiscent of a baked pasta dish or a lasagna. The tomato sauce packs a flavor punch with each bite.
To break up the tomato flavor, chunks of toppings were scattered throughout each of the slices. These were not small chunks — each topping was very apparent. None of the vegetables were soggy, with the mushrooms providing an earthy flavor, while big pieces of onion and green peppers gave some textural crunch and sweet tang.
Cheese is cheese — always delicious, stretchy and a pizza essential. The mozzarella was generous and slabbed in the middle of the slice to ensure a bit of creamy dairy with each bite. It never tasted too oily.
Salty pepperoni was scattered throughout the pizza with some pieces of it in the sauce.
The crust was more doughy and cake-like, rather than crisp and flaky, which could be contributed to the car ride. It resembled the buttery-taste of a fruit pie with a moist bottom. And while some of the crust stuck to the box, it did maintain the integrity of the pizza.
Overall, it was a solid pizza and had everything you would expect: Thick crust, ooey gooey cheese and bursts of tomato and toppings with each bite. If you're a big fan of deep-dish pizza or reminisce eating Giordano's in Chicago, make your way to the West Des Moines location.
However, if you're not one of the thousands of Iowans who anxiously waited for the chain to arrive, don't feel rushed to go. While there are no complaints about the pizza, at the same time, there was nothing that made it stand out from other deep-dish choices in the Des Moines metro. Pizza is pizza, and pizza is good.
If you're able to get in when the wait time is shorter or order it for pick-up — go for it. But if you're planning on going for dinner, either wait for the hype to die down or get ready to order some drinks and appetizers to start.
- Location: 120 S. Jordan Creek Parkway, West Des Moines
- Hours: Monday-Thursday 11 a.m.-10 p.m.; Friday-Saturday, 11 a.m.-11 p.m.; Sunday, 11 a.m.-10 p.m.
- Contact: (515) 650-2058; giordanos.com
Linh Ta is a retail reporter at the Des Moines Register. Have a tip? Reach her at email@example.com or at 515-284-8198.