One of the things I love most about pizza is how many different variations there are for one simple meal. Whether it’s stuffed, Chicago-style, grilled or fired-up in a brick oven, I’m sure to love it. And well, being from the Chicago-area I consider myself to know a good pizza when I bite into one.
It should come as no surprise then, I’d been anxiously awaiting the opening of Gia Mia Pizza Bar, a new Italian-style wood-fired pizza place in our town. Apparently, so was everyone else. We attempted to go opening week, but the wait was too long and the restaurant jam-packed. We tried again last Friday and were luckily able to get right in (arriving at a restaurant at 5:15 on a Friday night usually has that effect).
So was it worth the wait? Absolutely. The decor and ambiance of the restaurant was welcoming, casual and refined. Lots of rustic touches, black and white culinary photos showcasing the pizza-making process and sunlight pouring in through large windows at the front of the building. Our waitress promptly came to our table and was incredibly friendly and enthusiastic about the menu. She even suggested her favorite dishes to us and helped me choose a glass of wine.
Everything at Gia Mia is meant to be shared — sort of an Italian twist on tapas. The menu was extensive and featured much more than just pizza. I was thrilled to see vegetables had their own section on the menu. I love a chef who can appreciate veggies and make them taste delicious! Walking in, we knew we would order a pizza, but were unprepared to have so many other options. I’m pretty sure I would have tried one of everything if I could have managed.
In the end we chose to start off with the Fresh Local Burrata. Cheese handcrafted close to home? I’m sold. The burrata was smooth, flavorful and topped with a delicious pesto. It was served with charred grapes which I thought was incredibly unique and tasty. The grapes were extra sweet, yet retained a grilled flavor. They paired perfectly with the cheese.
For pizza, we chose The Livia which featured extra-virgin olive oil, garlic, basil, oregano, mozzarella, spicy soppresseta and roasted onion. This pizza was loaded with flavor and had just the right amount of kick to it from the soppresseta. Again, I loved the mozzarella and savored every bite of the pie.
I wish we could have tried more, but we were full after that. I’d love to return to the restaurant with a larger group so we can try even more dishes. Until then, I’ll just be counting down the days until we visit again. On my list are the smashed potatoes, little gem lettuces salad and the wild mushroom pizza.
Time to go make some breakfast… my stomach is growling just thinking about our meal all over again.