It’s summertime, typically the perfect time to travel. In a normal year, I’d have gone to see my beloved Cardinals play baseball in St. Louis and, being only a short train or bus ride away, I’d have added a stop in Chicago, if for no other reason than to enjoy a deep dish pizza at Gino’s East. Everyone has a favorite Chicago pie and Gino’s is mine — Heaven on Earth, really.

Craving the taste of my favorite pizza, I had two choices: take a risky trip to the Windy City, or pay to have a few of their mouthwatering creations sent to me in Florida. I chose the easier, safer and more affordable option: to have a taste of Chicago shipped directly to me — no flights, hotel or taxi cab required!

Before I tell you how to get Gino’s pizza and food from many other legendary restaurants shipped across the country, I want to say a few words about this pizza. I took quick video after preparing a Gino’s pizza at home over the weekend to share the beauty with you. The pizza is deep, delicious, tomatoey, layered with cheese and loaded with extras. It’s filling, too – with half of a small 9″ pizza being all that my stomach can handle.

Gino’s East has a long and interesting history. Founded in 1966 by two taxi drivers and their friend, the company is still a family business and has been serving pizza for more than 50 years. One of the founders was born in Sicily, but he wasn’t responsible for developing the secret recipe. That honor belongs to Alice Mae Redmond, a black woman who formulated the recipe and developed a process to bring the most out of the ingredients.

Amazon & Goldbelly: Two companies that can send your favorite restaurants to you, wherever you are.

OK, it’s time to reveal the goods. How can you get your favorite Chicago pizza (or food from many other iconic restaurants) shipped to your home?

Enter Amazon and Goldbelly.

First off, Amazon sells everything, including your favorite pizzas. Here’s a link to the Gino’s East store on Amazon Marketplace.

Gino's East Meaty Legend pizza box on kitchen counter.

Gino’s also sells their pizzas through Goldbelly, an online marketplace for local restaurants serve customers throughout the United States. Goldbelly features hundreds of different restaurants, including Gino’s East. Here’s a link to Gino’s East on Goldbelly.

Some restaurants charge money for shipping, but Gino’s doesn’t. I paid $89 for three Meaty Legend pizzas. There was no sales tax, since they were shipped out of state. A slightly larger pizza would cost $27 plus tax and tip at the restaurant, so $30 per pizza delivered to me in Florida seems like a fantastic deal.

Shipping frozen foods — Is it safe?

While I can understand the apprehension surrounding frozen foods in the mail, it is safe! Restaurants figured out a long time ago that by packing food in styrofoam containers along with dry ice and traditional ice, foods can remain frozen for up to a week.

My package was shipped on Wednesday and delivered by FedEx on Friday. The package was ice cold and my pizzas were still frozen.

Is the pizza as good as the restaurant?

No, it isn’t. It’s hard to cook a pizza in your traditional home oven the way that it is done at a pizza joint. But this pizza was better than anything else in the frozen foods aisle, and it’s made from the same ingredients used at the restaurant.

Frozen pizza on oven rack.
Deep dish pizza after being cooked.

It’s a damn good pizza, and the real benefit is that I was able to enjoy Chicago deep dish at home with my family… in Florida.

Which other restaurants will ship food?

The list is so long! Be sure to check out the Goldbelly website for an extended list of restaurants in their network. Note that some restaurants of America’s best restaurants handle sales and delivery in house, and won’t be listed on Amazon, Goldbelly or other third-party marketplaces.

Here are the restaurants that I plan to order from next:

  • Bouchon Bakery, Yountville, CA — Sweet treats by Michelin star chef Thomas Keller that I would love to try.
  • G&M Restaurant, Baltimore, MD — There is no question that they make the best crab cakes in America!
  • Imo’s Pizza, St. Louis, MO — A local staple, made with Provel cheese.
  • Pappy’s Smokehouse, St. Louis, MO — My favorite BBQ in the Midwest.
  • Pat’s King of Steaks, Philadelphia, PA — This is my 2nd favorite Philly Cheesesteak.

There are many more choices, but these are next on my list. What restaurant would you like to try at home?


Featured image courtesy Gino’s East.