Gapers Block has ceased publication.

Gapers Block published from April 22, 2003 to Jan. 1, 2016. The site will remain up in archive form. Please visit Third Coast Review, a new site by several GB alumni.
 Thank you for your readership and contributions. 


Saturday, March 2

Gapers Block

Gapers Block on Facebook Gapers Block on Flickr Gapers Block on Twitter The Gapers Block Tumblr

« Nudes @ Swirl Wine Bar Best Chicago Neighborhood Dining? »

Restaurant Thu Feb 07 2008

Strip Mall Gem

Strip mall fare usually falls along the taste spectrum somewhere between "bland but edible" and "foul." About a year ago, my husband and I were pleasantly surprised to discover a definite exception to the rule, La Gondola, a family owned and operated Italian restaurant all but hidden away in the Jewel Plaza at Ashland and Wellington.

La Gondola's handful of tables are consistently filled with regulars who will tell you that a reservation is a must on Friday and Saturday nights. The atmosphere is cozy, if a little cramped, as a carry-out line often fills the tiny waiting area. But everyone's in it together at La Gondola, where the chef has been known to man the register in a pinch on busy nights.

The service is good and the atmosphere genial, but they come for the food.

Traditional Italian dishes like chicken vesuvio and veal parmigiana are just like Nonna used to make: fresh, generously portioned, and chock full of that extra special something (love?)

La Gondola's thin crust pizza with a sweet tomato sauce and just the right amount of cheese drives their take-out business and delivery business. We've ordered it several times and have never been disappointed. On a recent night, we split a small sausage, artichoke and ricotta pizza, and an eggplant parmigiana sandwich. We expected leftovers, but had no idea the sandwich alone -- three layers of fried eggplant smothered with marinara on crusty Italian bread -- would be enough to serve two very hungry people.

The moral of the story: don't be afraid to venture into the strip malls. You may even find a Zagat-rated gem like La Gondola.

GB store
GB store

Feature Thu Dec 31 2015

The State of Food Writing

By Brandy Gonsoulin

In 2009, food blogging, social media and Yelp were gaining popularity, and America's revered gastronomic magazine Gourmet shuttered after 68 years in business. Former Cook's Illustrated editor-in-chief Chris Kimball followed with an editorial, stating that "The shuttering of Gourmet reminds...
Read this feature »

GB store



Drive-Thru on Flickr

Join the Drive-Thru Flickr Pool.

About Drive-Thru

Drive-Thru is the food and drink section of Gapers Block, covering the city's vibrant dining, drinking and cooking scene. More...
Please see our submission guidelines.

Editor: Robyn Nisi,
Drive-Thru staff inbox:



 Subscribe in a reader.

GB store

GB Store

GB Buttons $1.50

GB T-Shirt $12

I ✶ Chi T-Shirts $15