Many popular American style pizza restaurants are located in the Itaewon area, home to many foreigners and multicultural cuisine. However, it is new restaurant Gino’s NY Pizza, which recently opened in Apgujeong district, that has become a favorite among restaurants offering New York style pizzas.
Upon arrival at the restaurant, I noticed that there was no line for waiting, which was understandable given that I had visited on a weekday evening.
“We normally have around twenty to forty minutes, sometimes even an hour, of waiting period during the weekends,” said a waitress working at Gino’s.
Near the entrance, there was a menu that helped customers take a quick look at the restaurant’s dishes before entering as they waited in line. The interior of the restaurant reflected that of typical American pizza restaurants, with its plain black chairs and cushioned sofas. The walls had an exposed brick design and were decorated with blinking neon signs that read “in crust we trust” and an illuminati symbol replaced—for humorous effect—with an image of a pizza.
“Although the design of the restaurant was simple, it was almost enough to trick my mind into thinking that I was in a New York restaurant,” said Kyuhee Han (12). “The blinking signs reminded me of the interior of a New York pizza place, and the sign that said ‘in crust we trust’ made me chuckle a little.”
Once we took a seat, we were given cups of water, silverware, a silver plate, and a menu. We tried to order one dish of every style that had a label indicating “best dish” on it. Thus, we ended up ordering a mini iceberg wedge salad for our starter, hot buffalo wings, and a Hawaiian classic New York pie. To our surprise, we noticed then that Gino’s did not call their pizzas “pizzas,” but referred to them as “pies” instead.
“We call our pizzas “pies” because we want to keep the authenticity of pizzas sold in New York,” said the owner of Gino’s. “Many New Yorkers refer to their pizzas as pies instead of pizzas, and we wanted to maintain this tradition as well.”
The food was served in this order: the starter, the wings, and finally, the pie. The mini iceberg wedge salad was a perfect replica of New York salads, with their combination of red onions, crispy bacon, blue cheese, and a topping of American style ranch. Then, the hot buffalo wings were served with celery and ranch, which helped to wash away the spiciness of the wings. The wings were the right degree of hotness –– warm enough to be pleasurable but not too hot to burn our tongues –– and spicy enough to surprise us. Finally, the pizza arrived, sporting a thick layer of cheese topped with pineapple slices, parsley, and finely sliced bacon cooked to perfection.
Not only did Gino’s sell food, but they also sold their own merchandise, a series of different colored t-shirts with the Gino’s logo printed on them. Their t-shirts are simple yet quirky, containing only the Gino’s logo on the top right corner of the front of the shirt and a large pizza design at the back, similar to the blinking signs in the restaurant, along with the printed words “in crust we trust.” The shirts come in a variety of colors ranging from black to white to light green.
“Gino’s food and strategic location at Apgujeong, a popular place for young adults to meet and enjoy good food, makes it a favorite of mine,” said Andrew Choi (11), a frequent customer at Gino’s. “I will definitely visit Gino’s again when I have the chance.”