The Big Mac Blog

Arlington’s Gino’s East delivers pizza, not Chicago

A Gino’s East deep dish pizza is now available in Arlington, Texas.
A Gino’s East deep dish pizza is now available in Arlington, Texas.

If you have not enjoyed the greatness and low-cal alternative that is deep dish pizza, prepare yourself for a longer dining experience. These pizzas are not ready in 10 to 15 minutes. Think closer to 45 minutes.

Once you clear that hurdle, you are ready for deep dish pizza, and one of America’s most celebrated and worshiped pizza joints - Gino’s East. This classic Chicago style and Chicago-originated pizza place has been slowly franchising around Chicago for years, has ventured into nearby Wisconsin and now all the way down to the great state a Texas.

Gino’s East has come to Arlington, Texas with a new location just off of Interstate 30, about one-half mile from the Rangers Ballpark. As a loyal fan of this place in Chicago, I could not wait for the chance to enjoy a Gino’s deep dish roughly 20 minutes from Engel Manor (the moat is not quite finished).

The spot in Arlington is loaded with Chicago-style decor - Chicago Bears, Chicago Cubs, Mike Ditka, etc - photographs as well as famous Chicagoans’ autographs on the walls. You are not coming here for the decorations. You come here for the deep dish.

For those of you familiar with the original spot in Chicago, do not expect the charm of that locale. It is the same, large obstacle for any franchised location is that it’s going against the idealized memory of the original spot.

Expect a good, franchised pizza place. It is simply impossible to replicate Gino’s Easts’ characteristics, namely those famous walls. Replicating the pizza requires time, too. This spot in Arlington has been open for about a month, and it has yet to quite master these difficult pizzas.

I ordered the deep dish Meaty Legend - pepperoni, Italian sausage, Canadian bacon, and American bacon. These pizzas are pies in every sense, which is why they require so much time to prepare. This is not a quick in-and-out pizza place, but after eating one or two slices and you’re done.

The knock on this pizza is the crust - something about it tasted just off. It tasted overly corn-mealy, while the rest was solid. The manager there said the guys cooking these pizzas were still mastering it; a deep dish is not quite like cranking out a regular crust pizza.

The menu is loaded with other options, including thin crust pizza, and a giant beer selection. This location will begin delivery service around July 1, too.

If you are looking for a solid deep dish with a Chicago flair, Gino’s East in Arlington is a good choice. If your expectations are Gino’s East in Chicago, you’ll need to go to Chicago.

Mac Engel, 817-390-7760

Twitter: @macengelprof