In a short profile that Tina Fey was supposed to write about Steve Carrell for GQ, she mentions one instance where Steve gifted her with eight frozen deep-dish pizzas flown in from Gino’s East in Chicago. From there, she finds it very difficult to continue on with her piece about Steve, ending with, “Gino’s East deep-dish pizzas bring people a lot of joy. They are just so excellent. It’s fucking ridiculous that these pizzas have never won an Emmy.”
Of course, by then, you kind of get the sense that Steve Carrell and Gino’s East deep-dish pizzas were, in Tina’s eyes, completely interchangeable.
If you’re anything like me, there’s nothing you’d love more than to experience the world through Tina Fey’s eyes. (That’s why I choose my friends based on how well they can quote Mean Girls.) And if one of those ways is to experience deep-dish pizza in Chicago, then I’m doing it!
Except, I’m broke as fuq.
So to find out that someone makes homemade deep-dish pizza and delivers it to your doorstep is almost like seeing manna drop down from Heaven, Old Testament-style. (Or did that happen in the New Testament…?)
Luca’s Corner is made fresh daily by Mike Mabanta who has more than a few family ties in the food industry: His father started the famous Mexicali chain here in Manila, while his uncle runs El Chupacabra, one of Makati’s best kept secrets. After a visit to the Windy City a few years ago, he decided to make a few test deep-dish pizzas back home, but unsatisfied with his experimentation, decided to head back for more intensive research. There, he dined at every famous deep-dish pizza joint he could: Giordano’s Pizzeria, Lou Malnati’s, and of course, Gino’s East.
Satisfied, he went back home and started offering Luca’s Corner for delivery to friends and family. Soon, the word got out.
At his home in BF Homes, Parañaque, where their operations are based, he demonstrates the tedious process of making just one pie. The crusts are half-baked when we arrive, then he sets about layering each of the ingredients. For Mike’s Supreme, a best-seller, he starts with the onions, bell peppers, mushrooms, and meats, then bakes it for half an hour. After, he layers on the tomato sauce and cheese, then sends it back to the oven.
This means that they need at least a four-hour heads up whenever they get an order because unlike Domino’s, every pizza is made from scratch—and that’s what keeps their customers reordering. It’s also not the type of pizza you can sit down to and eat by yourself; this one should be shared family-style because two slices can already send you into a major food coma. Every pizza is six to eight slices.
While they are looking into opening a restaurant, those plans are still far-off in their minds because like the son he named his pizzas after, Luca’s Corner is still in its infancy. They’re looking to fine tune operations first, so they can send out pizzas faster without compromising their quality.
Until you get your fix of the real thing at the Second City, dishing on Luca’s Corner will do just fine.