A look inside the windows: The News gets a closer look at the Macy’s Christmas displays

Amelia Mehring poses with her grandfather, Aqui Rivera at the Macy’s window.

By Jesse Wright, Staff Writer

 

The weather’s cold. Snow flurries dance through the crisp air.

And even so, a crowd of people gathers on State Street, pausing to peer into a window, to catch a glimpse of Santa.

It’s the Macy’s window displays and they are working their annual magic.

For locals, there is plenty in downtown that gets, well, regular. There’s no reason to visit the Bean every day. Few locals take selfies with the skyline.

But the windows at Macy’s attract the tourists and the Chicagoans alike because whether it is a first-time visit or a longtime tradition, there’s something in those windows everyone wants to see.

“We come every year,” said Karen Rivera, who visited the windows with her husband, Aqui and their granddaughter, Amelia Mehring.

“We used to bring her father, when he was a boy,” Karen explained.

But what most people don’t see—what they can’t see—is the planning. Brian Pelusa is the store’s visual manager and the man behind the windows and even though Christmas window displays take up a small amount of time and space in the Macy’s year, there’s a big deal. It’s a lot of work getting folks coming back, year after year, for generations.

“The planning and execution process can take anywhere from nine months to a year,” Pelusa wrote in an email. “Usually once the holiday windows are unveiled for the season, the brainstorming begins for the next year’s windows.”

Macy’s of course is a chain, so the store on State Street is part of a larger, national conversation that includes things like themes. After the stores agree on a look, the decorations are shipped out.

“This year’s window displays were packed and shipped in 20 pallets/crates made up of 15 double length and five standard sized skids,” Pelusa wrote. “Also, we typically use about 50-60 pounds of fake snow in each year’s displays.”

The installation team is four or five people and then Pelusa’s visual design team includes four people and they add the finishing touches.

When Pelusa is designing the windows, he has to bear in mind the history of the tradition. He explained the store has offered displays since the 1870s—and over those years, they have developed a reputation.

“Macy’s was the first store to feature holiday windows created for the pure fun and joy of the season and, with that, began a tradition that still lives on today in numerous cities including New York, Chicago, Boston, Washington, D.C., San Francisco and Salt Lake City,” Pelusa wrote. “In Chicago specifically, we’re celebrating the 51st anniversary of our annual holiday window display at Macy’s on State Street.”

This doesn’t mean the display itself is old. While some of the iconography like Santa may remain consistent, Pelusa said the general themes do change.

“Each year a few new elements are added,” he said. “This year, we are excited to continue to celebrate all the Reasons to Believe.”

Besides that, each window has its own theme and color palette though there is at least one constant feature used to tie the all the displays together visually.

“Borders are placed around the windows to add to the overlying theme and to reflect Macy’s particular branding style,” Pelusa said.

Pelusa said so much work and care goes into the windows, he understands why they attract people. There’s a lot to take in and he has some advice on how to do it right.

“There are so many meticulous details in each window — from the sculpting of the caricatures, to the props, to the backdrops and more,” he wrote. “I’d recommend that viewers get up close to the glass and look at every inch. Then step back, so they’ll see the small details start to pop out, showing how exciting the entire window is.”

Finally, for anyone looking to spruce up their own windows—or a room in their home—with Christmas spirit, Pelusa has some advice.

“A good tip that I would recommend to anyone decorating their home for the holidays is that lighting and color go a long way, but when you add music plus a fragrance, such as a candle or potpourri, the decorations become even more captivating since they will touch on all your senses,” he wrote.

Check out the window displays through Christmas at 111 North State St.

A closer look at the Chicago Thanksgiving Parade

By Elizabeth Czapski, Staff Writer

The Chicago Thanksgiving Parade has been bringing joy to residents for decades. The event started in 1934 as a way give people a little happiness during the Great Depression and this year’s parade promises to be as joy-filled and as fun as ever, with a few modern flourishes.

What’s new…

Viewers should tune in on time because right in the very first hour of the Uncle Dan’s Outdoor Store Thanksgiving Parade will feature a performance by the Black Ensemble Theater. The performing arts group will offer a preview performance of their “Women of Soul” production, which runs through Jan. 13. The performance will include a special salute to Aretha Franklin as well as a celebration of some of the biggest stars of soul.

What’s returning…

Every parade features familiar balloons, floats and music. But how many have Wookies?

Yes, the The 501st Legion – Midwest Garrison is back again. In late October parade officials announced the return of the largest Star Wars costuming club in the area.

The star warriors will be joined in the parade by another group of relics—knights. Returning this year will be Medieval Times’ Knights of the Realm.

Also returning is the The Southland College Prep band, a college band that formed in 2010. The band has grown in recent years and is now considered one of the premier marching bands in the parade, boasting 100 members with 25 dancers to boot.

Speaking of bands, local favorite Kelly High School Marching Trojans will return to perform their 2018 winter festival show.

The grand marshal…

While this year’s grand marshal had not been announced by press time, Chicagoans and parade fans can expect the marshal to be beloved and a part of the city’s history. Past marshals have included Ronald McDonald (2017) (the company is headquartered in Chicago),Chicago native and actor Matt Walsh (2016) and Chicago native and wrestler CM Punk (2012).

For a complete list of what to expect, check out the parade website, www.chicagothanksgivingparade.com.

Behind the scenes…

Of course, there is more to the parade than the floats and smiles most people see. Amanda Caswell, who does public relations for the Chicago Thanksgiving Parade, provided some of the parade’s fun facts. Here’s a look behind the scenes at the parade:

In 2014, 400,000 people attended the parade — that’s almost equivalent to the entire population of Tulsa, Oklahoma.

That year, 2,500 gift bags were handed out.

There are 5,280 feet in the parade route, which is exactly one mile.

It’s a global phenomenon with 19 states, 16 countries and 23 different cultural groups were represented in the 2014 parade, making it a true international affair. Thanks to television coverage, the parade is annually available to approximately 80 million homes and viewed by millions around the world. In addition, many visitors come from around the world, from places like Switzerland, Mexico, Australia, Bahamas, Puerto Rico, Canada and beyond.

According to media reports of last year’s parade, there were around 5,000 parade participants, 1,300 volunteers, 15 floats of all kinds and 18 marching bands, according to numbers from Thrillist, the Chicago Tribune, and Patch.com.

Finally, about 200 people handled the parade’s balloons in the 2014 parade, and those balloons were filled with 39,500 cubic feet of helium.

For the record, in 2014 there were 70 members of the “poo crew,” who ensure State Street would not smell like manure after the parade was over.

The Chicago Thanksgiving Parade will take place on Nov. 22, 8–11 a.m. on State Street from Congress to Randolph. Don’t want to leave the house? Anyone can watch the parade live on WGN America and WGN9.

If you go…

Leave early and plan well. Streets will be blocked off for the parade route and parking will be tough, so give yourself lots of time. Public transportation will be running, though on a holiday schedule so if you take a train, check the schedule.

If you want a front row seat on State Street, good luck and set the alarm. It’s best to arrive by 7 a.m. to claim a spot, though there are usually spaces near State and Van Buren not too far from the Harold Washington Library. Expect train noise around that area.

 

The Chicago Thanksgiving Parade provided statistics from the 2014 event. Updated stats will be available after this year’s parade.

Swan Lake enchants at the Auditorium Theater

By Elizabeth Czapski | staff writer

The Joffrey Ballet’s opening performance of Swan Lake at the Auditorium Theater in October offered Christopher Wheeldon’s elegant and thought-provoking reimagining Peter Tchaikovsky’s classic ballet.

Wheeldon’s Swan Lake first premiered with the Joffrey in Chicago in 2014 and became one of the Joffrey’s best-selling productions, according to a press release from the ballet company. Now the production has returned to Chicago.

According to the press release, Wheeldon’s vision was influenced by the paintings of Edgar Degas, who was a contemporary of Tchaikovsky and painted ballerinas at the Paris Opera. The program explains Degas also painted ballet patrons, who were assumed to be interested in ballerinas beyond their careers.

Wheeldon’s Swan Lake is set in 19th-century Paris and presents a ballet-within-a-ballet; the Paris Opera is putting on a production of Swan Lake, and a wealthy patron enters the picture, chatting with some of the ballerinas. The principal dancer, who plays Siegfried in the opera’s production, becomes suspicious of the patron’s intentions. Eventually, the principal dancer is consumed by the dances he is rehearsing—fantasy and reality blend together—and he becomes Siegfried, and the story of Swan Lake begins.

The suspicious patron in Wheeldon’s Swan Lake becomes the evil sorcerer Von Rothbart in the principal dancer’s fantasy, creating another remarkable connection to Degas’ artistic themes.

The dancers deliver the story with passion, grace, precision and stunning athleticism, transitioning flawlessly from scene to scene, emotion to emotion. Sorrow turns to love, turns to playfulness with incredible expression. A can-can and strip tease from cabaret dancers provides a light-hearted moment in Act III. The Chicago Philharmonic, conducted by Scott Speck, pulls the audience into the story through the score.

The costumes and set design are nothing short of magical and recall Degas’ paintings.

The Joffrey’s Swan Lake is an outstanding ballet that is not to be missed. The show runs Oct. 17-28 at the Auditorium Theater of Roosevelt University at 50 E. Congress Parkway. More information at joffrey.org.

Haunting haunts: The scariest places in town

By Taylor Hartz, Staff Writer

Fort Dearborn at Wacker Drive and Michigan Avenue

The site once known as Fort Dearborn is said to be the oldest haunted spot in Chicago.

During the war of 1812, the intersection of Wacker Drive and Michigan Avenue was filled with American soldiers when the Pottawatomie attacked—killing 148 people, including 12 children.

Legend has it that people can photograph ghostly beings at the spot, so be sure to snap a few and look closely.

The Chicago River near Clark Street Bridge

The Chicago River may be haunted by the souls of more than 800 men, women and children who lost their lives aboard the sunken Eastland steamship in 1915.

One of Chicago’s most infamous tragedies happened on July 24, when 2,500 employees of Western Electric, their families and friends boarded the S.S. Eastland for the company’s fifth annual employee picnic.

Shortly after families boarded the ship, it rolled over into the water between Clark Street and LaSalle Street – 844 people, including 22 entire families, never made it out of the water alive. In the century since, many have reported seeing apparitions in the area.

Congress Plaza Hotel

Last year, Travel & Leisure named New Eastside’s Congress Plaza Hotel the most haunted spot in Illinois.

One of the hotels most notorious guests was gangster Al Capone and some say he may have never left as reports say he can still be seen strolling the halls.

Capone isn’t alone. The ghost of a murdered homeless man, “Peg Leg Johnny,” is said to reside in the Congress as well and is fond of playing with light switches to spook guests.

Another man’s ghost is said to roam the hotel’s eighth floor, reports say, where the elevator often stops even when no one—at least no one visible—has pushed the button.

Finally, a woman is said to haunt room 441, where multiple guests have reported seeing a shadowy outline of her body.

Chicago Water Tower

Streeterville’s iconic Chicago Water Tower is most famous for its breathtaking architecture, and for surviving the Great Chicago Fire in 1871. But the structure may have been the site of a man’s death, too.

According to legend, one employee of the water tower stayed behind to operate water pumps as the Chicago Fire raged closer. To save himself from burning to death, the man is said to have hung himself on the top floor of the tower. Many have spotted the silhouette of his body hanging in the window above the Magnificent Mile.

Published October 2, 2018

The Chicago Tribune moves into a new digital ‘space’ age

By Jesse Wright | Staff Writer

Published September 4, 2018

The Chicago Tribune’s move from the Tribune Tower to Prudential Plaza was not just a change of address for the storied paper, it was a change in the corporate organism itself.

With the move, newspaper leadership used the opportunity to shake up the newsroom and reconfigure the layout, transforming a legacy newspaper into a 21st century media player, active online and in print with its reporters feeding stories into myriad digital platforms.

Christine Taylor, managing editor of audiences, explained how the new newsroom layout—devoid of a lot of offices and cubicles—is improving how the staff reports the news. “We can move quicker to facilitate a more organic conversation,” she said of the open floor layout.

Reporters hard at work in the new Tribune newsroom.

The editorial department has five offices reserved for senior staff while everybody else, including multimedia editors, mostly digital natives, work shoulder to shoulder, she said.

Those editors help shape reporters’ stories as they’re written to better deliver the news to specific digital platforms.

“As we pursue different ways we tell stories, we’re not just driving everything toward the printed product and we want the people who understand those platforms best to be part of the conversation,” Taylor said.

In this way, the journalism giant hopes to compete with digital-only news outlets, like Buzzfeed, that operate across social media platforms in order to maximize exposure to a younger, tech-savvy audience, she said. Taylor said the Tribune will not sacrifice quality for clicks.

“I try to understand why [readers] tend to gravitate toward [digital] storytelling and then ask how do we participate in that space,” Taylor said. “How do we sell stories on those platforms and get those readers to interact with us?”

If that is the main question facing legacy news outlets, Tribune leaders believe the Prudential Plaza could provide the answer. Without walls to divide the newsroom, the operation works like a hive—each reporter working on his or her story, toward a common goal of greater readership. At the center of the newsroom, reporters have access to digital metrics, scorecards that track how well stories are performing and connecting with readers.

“As we pursue different ways we tell stories, we’re not just driving everything toward the printed product and we want the people who understand those platforms best to be part of the conversation.”

– Christine Taylor, Managing Editor, Audience

“One of the ideas around the restructuring was to put the audience at the center of everything we do,” Taylor said.

It’s a new way of reporting, in a new location, and Facilities Director Lynne Allen said the move was rough, especially on long-time employees who felt a personal
connection with the old tower.

“It was hard for people,” Allen said. “It’s an iconic building.”

For nearly a century, that iconic building was home. The Tribune moved into the Tower on July 6, 1925. Within those walls, presidents visited with editors, Ann Landers, Mike Royko and Gene Siskel banged out innumerable columns and hundreds of reporters pursued leads, called up sources and did the work that earned the paper 25 Pulitzer Prizes.

Despite the move, that history is far from forgotten in the Tribune’s new home in Prudential Plaza. In one corner, two couches, relics from Ann Landers’ office, sit ready for reporters to use during a break.

Historic front pages, etched in glass and illuminated from behind, line hallways. Quotes, taken from Tribune Tower’s front lobby now glisten in new shiny steel, old relics and artwork juxtaposed against a sleek modern day office interior. A historic wooden editorial board table, with chairs so worn that the leather has split, are given prominent positions in the the office landscape.

“If we had good furniture, we tried to reuse it,” Allen said.

In the middle of it all, a broad highway of a staircase connects the Tribune’s three floors. Allen calls them the “town hall stairs,” designed to accommodate staff for all employee meetings. The staircase also opens up the space, unifying the separate floors.

Eastlake Studio designed the space, and Allen said adding the wide staircase through the heart of their property in Prudential Plaza was no small feat.

“This was probably the most ambitious part of the project,” she said. “The stairs interconnect our space and make everything make sense.”

This, Allen explained, is a big difference from Tribune Tower.

“The Tower was a dark space with small windows,” she said. Floor to ceiling windows surround the office space at The Prudential Plaza. “Here, it’s nice to look out over Millennium Park all day long,” Allen said.

She said the newspaper looked at several properties but Prudential Plaza
was the best.

“We couldn’t have ended up at a better place,” she said.

Chicago artist opens U.S. Pizza Museum

With museum, Chicago gets a slice of the pizza history pie

By Jesse Wright | Staff Writer

Published September 5, 2018

Everyone knows pizza has long been big business in Chicago. With dozens of restaurants all through the city and suburbs offering a wide variety of styles and traditions, it is no surprise that Chicago is known as a destination city for pizza aficionados.

The newly opened U.S. Pizza Museum. Photo by Angela Gagnon

But now there’s more than pizza. Last month the U.S. Pizza Museum opened at the Roosevelt Collection Shop, 150 Roosevelt Road, adding an important side dish to the meal itself—history.

Kendall Bruns founded the museum several years ago as a series of pop-up events at various pizza restaurants. With gathered steam—and funding—he is hoping to make the Roosevelt Collection address a permanent home of his pizza memorabilia. Indeed, the museum itself is less a collection of pizza lore and myth as it is a collection of pop culture ephemera—important to pizza lovers of the late 20th century and a fun trip down memory lane for most people.

An ode to Chicago-style pizza at the new museum. Photo by Angela Gagnon.

The space opened Aug. 10 and judging from the people waiting to go inside, there are plenty of people who are interested in checking it out.

“We’re just here to learn about pizza and Chicago,” said museum visitor Shaheen Thasa.

The pizza museum made national news and, maybe predictably, the announcement was met with outrage among New York City pizza fans who took to Twitter to complain that any pizza museum should belong to New York.

“I’m not biased or anything, but Chicago pizza is the best,” Thasa said. Bruns, the founder, has taken pains to remain neutral in the debate. He displays memorabilia from around the United States and in interview after interview, he would not pick a favorite style of pie.

Bruns describes himself as a pizza agnostic and said the national social media debate about his museum was not intentional.

Bruns said he hopes pizza unites more than it divides.

“People can get passionate, but it doesn’t have to be this division,” he said. Bruns said any type of pizza can be tasty.

The collection of pizza memorabilia is located in the Roosevelt Collection. Photo by Angela Gagnon.

“I enjoy all different styles of pizza,” he said. “And everyone should.”

He explained that the food should unify Americans because whatever style they grew up eating, the food itself has a special place in most peoples’ memories.

“People have this connection to their memories of the pizza they ate growing up,” he explained.

Another visitor said good pizza depends less on the region and more on the preparation.

“I think any pizza that has a hand-tossed crust, grated mozzarella cheese and home-
made sauce is good,” said museum visitor Daniel Gulco.

To find out more about the U.S. Pizza Museum, its hours and ticket prices, visit uspizzamuseum.com

The Palmer House gives guests a glimpse into historic Chicago

By Elizabeth Czapski | Staff Writer

Published September 4, 2018

One of the oldest hotels in America sits right outside of New Eastside, at 17 E. Monroe St.

The historic Palmer House | Photo by Elizabeth Czapski

The Palmer House Hilton was intended as a wedding gift from Potter Palmer, an innovative businessman and the hotel’s namesake, to his new, much younger wife, Bertha, an educated socialite who was a champion for women and the arts.

The hotel first opened in 1871, but was destroyed by the Great Chicago Fire just two weeks later. It was rebuilt across the street, re-opening in 1873, according to the Palmer House’s director of publicity and resident historian Ken Price.

Price has been with the Palmer House since 1983 and leads a guided tour of the hotel called “History is Hot!” Participants eat lunch in the hotel’s Lockwood Restaurant & Bar, and visit the Palmer House’s one-room museum, which opened in 2010.

The one room Palmer House museum. Photo by Elizabeth Czapski

The history Price teaches doesn’t rely
on timelines and dry facts. Rather, he takes names and dates and weaves them
into enthralling narratives, giving life to historical figures.

The Palmer House became a social
hotspot over the years, attracting famous
guests from all over the world including
many U.S. presidents, Charles Dickens and
Buffalo Bill. Musicians like Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald and Liberace have performed in the hotel’s Empire Room.

An original recipe brownie served at the Palmer House. Photo by Elizabeth Czapski

The hotel was advertised as the first fire-proof hotel in the world, and the first to installlighting and telephones. Potter Palmer also invented an early version of the elevator, Price said. Perhaps most importantly, one of the most popular sweet treats in America was invented at the Palmer House—the brownie.

The kitchen still serves brownies made with the original Palmer House recipe.

It isn’t necessary to stay at the Palmer House to experience its historic beauty. Just pop in the lobby for a drink to experience the Grecian frescos on the ceiling, 24-karat gold chandeliers and bronze angel statues.

Haute Dogs to help Canine Companions

By Elizabeth Czapski | Staff Writer

Published September 4, 2018

A different breed of fashion show is coming to Chicago on Sept. 20 at the Peninsula Chicago Hotel, 108 E. Superior St.

Haute Dog, a fashion show wherein both human and canine models walk the runway, will support Canine Companions for Independence, an organization that provides assistance dogs free of charge to adults, children and veterans with disabilities.

A woman and dog on the runway at a Haute Dog event. Photo by Marcin Cymer

Haute Dog began as a costume contest in Los Angeles, but three years ago, Canine Companions expanded to Chicago andchanged the format, according to Molly Schulz, the public relations and marketing coordinator for Canine Companions.

“We really wanted to find a way to combine the fashion industry and that fantastic … culture of Chicago with Canine Companions,” Schulz said.

A Haute Dog fashion show took place in Columbus, Ohio earlier this year.

This year’s models include Ravi Baichwal from ABC 7 Chicago and Natalie Bomke from Fox 32 Chicago, among other notable names. The human models will be accompanied on the runway by their own dogs or by a puppy from Canine Companions.

Members of the Greater Chicagoland Chapter of Canine Companions will volunteer at the event, assisting dog recipients and their canines. Shultz said the volunteers will be there to “mingle and talk to people so they can really hear about our mission firsthand from the people that we serve.”

A woman and service dog at a Haute Dog event. Photo by Marcin Cymer

Tails in the City, 1 E. Delaware Place, a luxury pet boutique, will provide all of the hound-some clothing for the dog models, Schulz said. Designers for the humans include Alice + Olivia, Contessa Bottega, Vince and Burdi.

All proceeds from the event will benefit Canine Companions for Independence.

In addition to the fashion show, cocktails, hors d’oeuvres and a silent auction will be available for guests, making for a paw-si-tively un-fur-gettable event.

Anyone can stargaze at the Adler

By Taylor Hartz | Staff Writer

Published September 5, 2018

Stargazers take note: If the night sky is unavailable, try the Adler. 

Guests get a campfire lesson on star gazing at Camp Adler. Photo by Taylor Hartz

Through the Adler’s Adler after Dark events, adults—the shows are 21 and over—have an opportunity to see something they would otherwise miss: The sky.

In August, the dome theater was set up to show the sky above in an experience called Look Up, with guests laying around a cozy mock campfire on fleece blankets strewn about the room. Host Maggie O’Brien, a facilitator at Adler playing the role of a fellow hiker, led this session where she was on a mission to spot some stars and catch a glimpse of a meteor shower.

Using a sky map on the dome screen, O’Brien pointed out stars and constellations that Chicagoans can see without trekking out into the country.

The best spot to make right now, said O’Brien, is a glimpse of Mars. O’Brien explained that thanks to a process called “opposition,” Earth and Mars are currently traveling in orbit close together, making the distinctly red planet visible from downtown. The best place to see it, said  O’Brien, is near the lakefront, or anywhere with a limited number of street lights.

In September, the Adler is asking its patrons to get decked out in their favorite ‘90s fashion and sing along to some throwback hits while learning about the rise of the internet. The night of nostalgia, themed around the decade, will take place on Sept. 20.

In October, Adler will get in the halloween spirit with a spooky look at “the deep.” This Adler After Dark event will explore the deep ocean and deep space.

All After Dark events feature specialty cocktails that fit the theme, along with other bar offerings.

“Moon juice” cocktail at Camp Adler. Photo by Taylor Hartz

“It’s not the Adler you remember as a kid, this is a unique way to experience the museum,” said Sater.

Tickets for each monthly event, held on the third Thursday of each month, go on sale the third Friday of the previous month and each month features a different theme.

In August, attendees were invited to learn about space travel. The team at Adler brought NASA astronaut Brian Duffy and the current NASA team behind the Space Launch System to talk about “extreme camping” – or, living in space.

“I’m not sure there could be any more extreme camping than going to the moon and Mars,” said Marcia Lindstrom, Strategic Communications Manager at NASA Space Launch System.For more information visit https://www.adlerplanetarium.org/adler-after-dark.

Is it OK to touch? A New Yorker learns Chicago pizza rules

By Tom Conroy | Staff Writer

To fork or not to fork? As a native New Yorker, I always struggle with the moral conundrum of whether or not I should be eating deep dish with my hands or using a
knife and fork. Am I legally allowed to pick up a slice of deep dish pizza? Am I allowed
to fold it? When in Chicago, I want to do as the Chicagoans do, so I went straight to
the source.

The legendary Giordano’s Pizzeria, which has more than 40 locations in the Chicago area, provides a breakdown of pizza-eating styles on their website and what that says about your personality.

Their analysis of the fold-it-over-and-eat-it method says that you are an efficient and clean eater who multitasks at a fast pace. As a native New Yorker who works in media, I could not agree with this more— standing in a crowded pizzeria in Manhattan with no seating while wolfing down a couple of slices can only be accomplished with this method.

The site describes the knife-and-fork method for deep dish pizza as indicative of a patient person who savors the meal. I’m usually at a savage level of hunger when preparing to eat pizza, so I have no time for such formalities.

Brennan Holness, the restaurant manager at the Giordano’s near Millennium Park, 130 E. Randolph St., assuaged my fears when I asked about the proper way to eat
their famous deep dish pizza.“You can do whatever you feel most comfortable doing,” said Holness, a Los Angeles native who has been with Giordano’s since 2016. “I would recommend waiting for it to cool down a little bit before you go to pick it up.”

I knew I could count on a fellow transplant from one of the coasts to guide me in the right direction. Holness seemed perplexed by my use of the term “pie” to describe a pizza, but was not judgmental toward my East Coast lingo. He recommended either a Giordano’s Special (sausage, mushrooms, green peppers and onions) or a Chicago Classic (the same, but with pepperoni instead of sausage), so I guess I’m ordering one of each when I go.

Maybe I can find someone to share them with me first.

While learning about the some of the more prominent deep dish destinations in the city, I was intrigued by their histories and their connections to each other.

For instance, Lou Malnati, whose restaurant now sits at 439 N. Wells St., originally worked at Pizzeria Uno, 29 E. Ohio St. It calls to mind the history of New York pizza—how Grimaldi’s and Juliana’s came from Patsy’s, while Totonno’s came from Lombardi’s, which is considered to be New York’s first pizzeria. Giordano’s was founded by brothers Efren and Joseph Buglio in 1974, when they perfected their Mama Giordano’s Easter Pie into their famous so-called stuffed pizza, an even deeper variation of the traditional deep dish.

Now I have all the tools necessary to assimilate myself to the Windy City. I didn’t want people looking at me like the outsider I am—I just want to eat some pizza.

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