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Gio's Cafe & Deli

By Chuck Sudo in Food on Jun 6, 2005 9:00PM

In our continuous quest for good eats cheap Chicagoist today turns a wandering eye toward the wunnerful Bridgeport neighborhood- self-proclaimed “birthplace of mayors” and home of the Chicago White Sox- and introduces you to Gio's Cafe and Deli


Owned and operated by former Carlucci Rosebud Group veterans Giovanni Liucco and Nacho Bautista- prior to opening Gio’s in 2001 Liucco owned and managed Bella Notte restaurant in River North- Gio’s embraces the time-honored tradition of large entrees full of flavor at affordable prices prepared and served by a friendly staff. Gio’s also evokes thoughts of similar places removed from the tourist dens of Italy. It’s also how Chicagoist maintains its lithe dancer’s body.

Located on the corner of a quiet residential street, this unassuming little place doubles as both an Italian deli and a restaurant. Card tables bedecked with checkered tablecloths are set up between shelves of pasta, Italian pastries, and sodas, encouraging a relaxed atmosphere where diners walk in, grab a soda from the fridge, and sit down to check the day’s specials. The menu is overflowing for such a small place with at least six options of appetizers, hot or cold sandwiches, pasta, seafood, chicken entrees, and dessert. The arrancini appetizer (a breaded fried rice ball filled with meat and vegetables) is almost a meal in itself. For heartier fare that sticks to the ribs the tortiglioni carbonara, baked cavatelli, or shrimp diavolo (served in a spicy tomato sauce over al dente linguini) come in large bowls that beg for a doggie bag. A foamy cappuccino made with fresh ground Lavazza espresso will help all that food settle and help you get your legs back under you.

Favorable reviews in the Tribune and ABC-7 TV’s James Ward as well as starting a catering service last year have led to increased visibility for Gio’s- the place always seems to be busy these days when we walk in for our weekly take-out order of fusilli arrabiata. If you prefer to dine in or make it a quiet evening with friends bring that bottle of wine you’ve been saving for a special occasion- Gio’s is BYOB.

Gio’s is located at 2724 S. Lowe Avenue and is open Monday through Saturday from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Reservations are accepted and recommended for parties of eight or more. Call (312) 225-6368 for more information.