Gino's East is a Chicago-based restaurant chain, notable for its deep-dish pizza (sometimes called Chicago-style pizza), and for its interior walls, which patrons have covered in graffiti and etchings. The restaurant features deep-dish pizza baked in cast-iron pans, as well as sandwiches, soups and salads.
The original Gino's East was opened in 1966 by two taxi drivers, Sam Levine and Fred Bartoli, and a friend, George Loverde. The deep dish pizza is cooked with the cheese on the bottom, then the toppings and then the sauce. The original location of the restaurant was at 160 East Superior Street, just east of Michigan Avenue, in the Streeterville district of Chicago.
The company subsequently opened other locations in the Chicago Metropolitan Area, including Naperville, Rolling Meadows, Lake Zurich, Deerfield, Oak Lawn, and Highland, Indiana. The Oak Lawn location closed in 2008. The Naperville location closed in late 2010. Additionally, Gino's East operates a mail-order business, where patrons can order frozen pizzas and have them shipped overnight. The company opened its first restaurant located outside the Chicago area in Granger, Indiana, but closed it in 2012. And since 2007, Lake Geneva, WI.
The restaurant eventually moved from its Superior Street location into another space at 633 North Wells Street (in the former Chicago location of Planet Hollywood). The tradition of writing on the walls, however, remains the same in the new location. The original location on Superior Street reopened in 2007. In 2014, the River North location moved just south of 633 N. Wells to 500 N. LaSalle Street, a building previously occupied by nightclub Lasalle Power Co.
In 2014 the company announced expansion into Texas (ATX Brands acquired franchising rights to operate the chain outside the State of Illinois), with the first location outside of Chicago to be located in The Woodlands with a November 2014 opening, followed by a January 2015 opening in Willowbrook, Houston. A San Antonio location is expected to open sometime within the first quarter of 2015, followed by an anticipated May opening in Downtown Austin. The locations in Texas (Houston, San Antonio) are former Bikinis Sports Bar and Grill locations which were company-owned by ATX Brands. While there are plans to expand into the DFW area, an opening date and location has yet to be announced.