'tis a sad day. My favorite SoCal restaurant, Giorgio's of Chicago in Laguna Niguel, apparently has closed its doors as of the end of last month. When I first discovered it, I was so impressed that I wrote the LA Times and suggested they do a review of the place -- and sure wnough last September they did!
There have been lots of Chicago places around SoCal, some with good food, some with a good atmoshpere and decor, but none to match the food quality and owner friendliness of this family-run place. Giorgio's had the real deal -- Italian Beef and sausage sandwiches that were as good as anything from Chicago, authentic Chicago hot dogs, great BBQ ribs, Old Style beer, Jay's potato chips and Eli's cheesecake (for long-suffering Chicagoans), and quite frankly, the best thin crust pizza I have had in 15 years of living in SoCal, from the SFV to the South Bay to Orange County.
Alas, I can only imagine that Creig and his family were financial victims, not being able to survive in a market dominated by chain places. All I can say is, support your local favorite places before they too get swallowed up.
First, I lost Cafe Teresa in FOuntain Valley, home of the best Cinnamon Rolls ever. Then Red Oak BBQ, with Tri-tip that was better than what I could even get in Santa Maria. And now Giorgio's. If anyone tries to shut down Trabuco Oaks Steakhouse or Tulsa Rib Company, they'll need to come through me to get to 'em!
Giorgio's was the only restaurant I felt I ever developed a relationship with...that the workers knew me and my family as I knew many of them. It's a shame to lose places like that.