060817-blm-loc-1giordanos

Giordano's, called "Chicago's Best Pizza" by the Chicago Tribune, CBS Chicago, NBC and others, according to its website, opened Tuesday in the former Qdoba restaurant at 1505 N. Veterans Parkway, Bloomington.

FOR THE PANTAGRAPH

BLOOMINGTON — Giordano's Pizza is open for business in the Twin Cities.

The Chicago-style deep dish chain's newest franchise, at 1505 N. Veterans Parkway, opened for dinner at 4 p.m. Tuesday. It will open at 4 p.m. each day until regular operating hours begin Saturday.

"It’s a day I’ve always wanted to be here," said franchise owner Aaron Uftring, a Chicago resident, Illinois State University graduate and Minonk native. "I’m very excited to have our first day open to the public.”

Regular operating hours will be 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to midnight Friday and Saturday, and 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday.

The restaurant, located at the former Qdoba site, is currently offering only dine-in and carryout service, but delivery and online ordering will be added later.

“We want to make sure they can handle the speed of a full dining room and carryout, and after that we’ll start offering delivery,” said Uftring. "We’re still training, and we have our trainer still here working with our cook."

Diners also are limited to the interior dining room because the exterior isn't finished yet. The restaurant seats 75 inside and will add more outside, where a patio with a brick wall, concrete and a pergola is being added.

“The patio is getting poured tomorrow, so it’s not open yet, but it will be hopefully this week,” said Uftring. “I’m not sure how many tables we’ll get outside yet."

The location has about 50 employees and offers the full Giordano's menu, including deep dish pizza, sandwiches, soups, salads, appetizers and desserts.

The restaurant also has a liquor license for beer and wine.

“We are one of the Chicago originals, and we’re looking forward to bringing that true Chicago-style pizza to the Bloomington-Normal market,” said Uftring in June. “We think there’s a strong demand for the product down there."

Follow Derek Beigh on Twitter: @pg_beigh

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Staff Writer

Reporter for The Pantagraph.

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