Alex swung by the front desk of the hotel to inquire about who would deliver Chicago style pizza and that’s when we got some bad news. Giordano’s was the only place that delivered to the hotel, and it charged an $18 dollar delivery fee because it was located so far away. Also, there was an hour and a half wait, which really didn’t seem appealing at the time although I could stomach that if it meant I didn’t have to stand up anymore.
There was some debate about how to handle things. Adoniram was really excited about exploring the streets of Chicago some more, and I was on the opposite. My feet hurt, and I wiped (Did I mention Adoniram was almost half my age), so I was okay with ordering some regular pizza or finding something else to eat that didn’t result in a lot of walking. I was so desperate to stay in; I even offered to pay the $18 delivery fee on my own. We ate some Clif bars, drank some water, and just showing off our goodies from the con while trying to decide how to proceed. I wore my arch strap, swapping it from one foot to another, and just sat back in that amazing chair. An hour and half later I was feel refreshed and so were the other guys, and we decided as a group to go ahead and head downtown in search of some authentic Chicago pizza.
Alex was excited about showing us downtown some and now that I was rested I was excited about seeing it. We hopped the L Train, took the fifty minute trip downtown, and got off on the closest stop near the actual Giodano’s restaurant. There is some debate in Chicago about whether Giodranos is actually Chicago style pizza, I think by some locals it’s viewed as the more tourist friendly place, but that was okay with us. We were tourists!
So we hop off the L Train and its dark. We are downtown Chicago, a city known for its violent crime (of course, all three of us lived in Memphis) but surprisingly at least I felt pretty safe. Dowtnown was clean with lots of tourists and other people walking around and it was gorgeous outside. We walked over to the Willis Tower (formerly the Sears Tower) and took a few pictures. Then it was time to use our GPS to find Giordanos which was supposedly just a couple blocks away.
We walked a couple blocks and suddenly my GPS spazzed and said we were going in the wrong direction. I’m not sure if it was my cheap LG Stylo phone, my T-Mobile service or the skyscrapers all around us, but the GPS could not direct us properly. I conceded to Alex’s AT&T phone which didn’t fare much better. After walking back and forth covering quite a few blocks, I finally stumbled upon a bus stop bench complete with a map. Who knew in 2016, we’d be so grateful to see a map when we were all three armed with cell phones.
The map got us going back in the right direction, but Alex’s memory of his old hometown wasn’t quite what it used to be. We passed through the strangest Target I’ve ever seen and a large gang that at first we thought were a youth ministry, but realized rather quickly they were not. They didn’t bother us, and we didn’t bother them, and we just continued walking the street of Chicago keeping our eyes peeled for pizza.
We ended up at a huge landmark that I cannot remember and Alex knew we weren’t in the right spot. So, we decided to admit defeated and hailed a cab to take us to our desired pizza.
Both nights, it took us well over an hour to find food, but it turned out to be a great memory. Three guys wandering the street of Chicago lost and only further confused by your malfunctioning cell phones.
The Giordanos we were dropped off at had two entrances, but we didn’t know that. We walked into the bar side entrance that was much slower and not staffed as well as the main entrance. All three of us just stood there for a few minutes waiting for someone to come along. Finally I made a break for the bathroom and Alex went up to the bar to inquire about some assistance. He got attitude, but that seemed to be the Chicago way, and by the time I got back we were being seated in the much busier dining portion of the restaurant.
It was 9:30 PM, and we were just sitting down to eat. We wanted to order fast since they were so busy, so we decided on a large pepperoni pizza. The pizza took forty-five minutes to cook, but once again, we were thrilled to be seated, chatting about relationships and video games over a plate of mozzarella sticks.
When the pizza finally came out, it was hard not to smile. I don’t know what I was expecting but it was not that.
We all took our slices and dug in with a fork, and I am not kidding you when I saw it was the most delicious pizza I ever tasted. Maybe the lack of food and huge calorie deficit I had for the day played into that decision, but it was wonderful. We didn’t think the three of us could get through it, but we did. Alex and I kept going back until that pizza pan was clean.
(Note: Giordanos ships frozen pizzas for a reasonable price. I haven’t ordered one yet, but after writing this, I promise you it won’t be long before I do.)
When we exited Giordanos, returning back out into the beautiful city where this time… we found a map on a bus stop to find our way back to our train. Technology failed us that night and an old fashion map guided us home.
I’ve never been to a city as big as Chicago, so I was shocked to see how many people were riding the train at midnight and to find people playing the violin at the train stop. There was just something magical about standing on a train platform counting the mice while listening to someone playing Coldplay’s La Vida Vida on the violin.
We were only a block away from the L Train, so we hopped on and made our way back to The O’Hare Hilton. We were all tired and there was no arguing that. Adoniram fell asleep on the train and Alex and I attempted to chat over the loud sound train. I had Alex take this very unflattering picture of me. I think you can see the exhaustion, along with a very forced smile.
We woke up Adoniram and made the short walk to The Hilton and up to our room. It was almost midnight by the time we got back and after a quick shower we chatted a bit before heading to bed to do it all over once more.