I love Gioco: An Italian Restaurant in Chicago’s South Loop Neighborhood

Al Capone. Mugshot information from Science an...

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Gioco is a charming restaurant  located in a turn-or the-century historic building built in 1890 in Chicago’s South Loop on Wabash. The restaurant opened in 1999.

The restaurant is packed with interesting photography and art. It is perfectly suited to appeal to the resident artists and Foodies in the South Loop near the Columbia College campus area. Here’s a video of some of Gioco’s incredibly cool art collection http://youtu.be/_SDPCQ9hGL4. Take time to tour the private rooms at Gioco.

After the passage of Prohibition, the 1920s brought international notoriety to Chicago.

The South Loop area had bootleggers and smugglers who brought in liquor from Canada and formed powerful gangs. The gang members generated lucrative profits by bringing liquor to speakeasies and private clients. A speakeasy (also called a blind pig or blind tiger) was an establishment that illegally sold alcoholic beverages. Such establishments came into prominence in the United States during the period known as Prohibition (1920–1933). The most notorious gangster in Chicago was Al Capone.

Unemployed men queued outside a depression sou...

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Gioco has an  old wooden walk-in cooler and a walk-in safe. The safe is in the basement was used by some of the most notorious Chicago gangsters of the 20th century: Al Capone, Frank Nitti, George “Bugs” Moran and Earl “Hymie” Weiss.

Bugs Moran

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Gioco is located in one of the former gambling houses/Speakeasies that dominated the South Loop area in the early 1900s. One of the private rooms at Gioco is called The Speakeasy.  It has a secret passageway behind some bookshelves that lead to the back alley.

One of the paneled banquet rooms is called “The Ballroom.” The room is perfect for a private party. It’s filled with vintage photography; your guests can admire the old photo of Sophia Loren or Marilyn Monroe.


I like to sit at the bar and have a glass of Pinot noir and admire the place.

Here are some of my favorites: meat balls; the best mushroom wood-fired thin crust pizzas that I have ever had (infused with just the right amount of pesto); veal scalopini, Osso Buco and the outstanding homemade pastas. They also have a great Sunday Brunch.

Dr. EveAnn Lovero writes Travel Guides @ www.vino-con-vista.com

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Filed under Al Capone in Chicago, Attractions in Chicago, Chicago, Chicago Architecture, Chicago Art, Chicago Chefs, Chicago Gangsters, Chicago Neighborhoods, Chicago Restaurants

8 responses to “I love Gioco: An Italian Restaurant in Chicago’s South Loop Neighborhood

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