Giordano's has brought its pizza to Columbus, but don't call it deep dish.

It's stuffed pizza.

That's a very important distinction, Giordano's CEO Yorgo Koutsogiorgas said.

"It is a different kind of experience than the original deep dish," Koutsogiorgas said. "We're kind of the evolution of the deep-dish pizza in Chicago. It tastes somewhat different, in our opinion, without putting anybody down."

Giordano's' way of making pizza starts with a first layer of crust that is stretched to cover the tall sides of the pan.

Cheese and other ingredients are added, followed by a second layer of dough, which helps form a seal to cook the meats or vegetables.

The top is covered with sauce and a handful of grated parmesan.

"What you see is a pie that has only red sauce on top," Koutsogiorgas said. "You don't see the ingredients until the pizza is baked, sliced and served to you."

Giordano's also sets itself apart by the premium ingredients it uses.

Wisconsin mozzarella is shredded daily. Tomato sauce, pepperoni and raw sausage all are prepared in Chicago to Giordano's standards. Dough also is made in the Windy City and shipped in fresh to the Columbus location.

Pizzas come in small (12 inches), medium (14 inches) and large (16 inches) sizes. A small will feed a couple -- possibly three; a large will feed a family. The pies are baked at 465 degrees, taking 30 to 45 minutes to cook, sometimes longer on busier nights, Koutsogiorgas said.

Specialty pizzas and build-your-own options are available, and Giordano's menu extends beyond its stuffed-crust specialty to thin-crust, extra-thin-crust and gluten-free pizzas.

Giordano's also has an array of appetizers, salads, sandwiches and Italian entrees. Most are $9 to $20.

A 6-inch pizza with a side is available for $7.45 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Mondays through Fridays.

Giordano's, founded in 1974, has entered the Columbus market by taking over the former Buffalo Wild Wings site at 2137 Polaris Parkway. (Buffalo Wild Wings relocated nearby.)

The interior of the Polaris restaurant is spacious and open, seating 170. It also is minimalistic, with a few lighted signs, wooden table tops, brick accents and a bar area with limited seating.

"For the last few years, we have taken a different approach," Koutsogiorgas said. "We believe today's consumers do not like clutter."

It is the first Ohio location for the Chicago-based pizza chain, which has 63 stores, 32 of which are franchised.

Deep-dish pizza has struggled to gain a foothold in the Columbus market, but a few places have it, such as Beer Barrel Pizza & Grill in Hilliard, Wholly Joe's in Lewis Center and Meister's Bar in Columbus near the Ohio State University campus.

Koutsogiorgas said Giordano's could add locations in central Ohio, specifically Dublin, and across the state.

Hours are 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sundays, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays and 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays. For more information, call 614-852-4330.

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Dulce Vida Ice Cream Factory has the scoop on Mexican-style ice cream and other frozen confections in northeast Columbus.

Central Ohio's second Dulce Vida is at 6140 Cleveland Ave. in the Atrium Center, just south of Interstate 270.

The shop has 40 flavors, including such exotic choices as cheese and blackberry, almond tequila and corn.

Co-owner Ricardo Sandoval said the products are made at Dulce Vida's original location at 4201 W. Broad St. in west Columbus.

Sandoval said the ice cream is decadently rich, at 18 percent butterfat -- higher than some of the super-premium ice creams on the market.

Among the selections are paletas, frozen pops that also mix and match flavors.

A few savory items are offered, including "walking tacos" -- bags of Doritos, Fritos and Tostitos topped with seasoned ground beef and cheese.

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Chick-fil-A will open in October at Grandview Yard.

The 3,000-square-foot chicken-sandwich emporium will occupy a 1.3-acre site at the northwest corner of Third Avenue and Rail Street. It will include a drive-thru window.

gseman@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekGary