Julio Andino, who’s owned Gigio’s Pizzeria at 1001 Davis St. for the past 34 years, has sold the business to local bakery owners Dennis and Franny Clarkson.

The sale was announced by Ross Goldstein of InSite Commercial Realty, who represented Andino in the transaction.

Andino, who started delivering pizzas from the then newly-opened Gigio’s in 1965, a year after emigrating to Chicago from Ecuador, bought the restaurant in 1980.

“I have accomplished more than I ever dreamed of by owning this business,” Andino said in a statement. “Now I want to focus my time and energy on my wife, children and grandchildren.” 

The Clarkson’s acquired the business, and a 10-year lease on the restaurant space, through their recently formed Savory, Inc.

Dennis Clarkson says, “Franny and I had been actively seeking an opportunity such as this, and we pursued it aggressively when Ross brought it to our attention. Gigio’s is a phenomenal business, and we intend to maintain existing standards of quality and update operations where possible.”

The husband and wife team previously owned and operated a restaurant on Beaver Island, Mich., for nine years.

They also own Crust and Crumb, which bakes artisanal breads sold at local farmers markets since 2011.

Offering online ordering and redecorating Gigio’s interior are among improvements the Clarksons plan for the near future.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

Join the Conversation


  1. Please don’t change the recipe

    First of all, a huge thank you to Julia Andino for serving up the best thin-crust pizza in Evanston for the past 34 years.  Enjoy your retirement with your family and friends – you deserve it.  Know that hundreds upon hundreds of kids have grown up devouring your pizza and for those unfortunate to no longer reside in the area, they often make a trip to the mecca of thin sliced 'za when visiting from out of town.  Not many other pizza places in Evanston have that kind of lure.

    To the Clarksons – I wish you the best and look forward to the changes/improvements you plan to make.  But I only ask that whatever you do, please do not change the recipe to Gigio's pizza that so many have grown up eating and has a place in so many hearts and bellies.

  2. a great tradition continues

    Congratulations to Dennis & Franny, and this is great news for Evanston. Glad to see a local favorite continue on in capable and loving hands!

  3. Missing that pizza

    Even though I rarely get there anymore, I always miss gigio's pizza. There is not a pizza pie I eat where I don't think about how I would like to substitute it with a slide from Gigio's. Great childhood memories or ordering slices and watching the guys working there do their magic!  Enjoy your retirement. You deserve it. 

  4. More than pizza

    Back in the day, they had excellent salads and burgers. I haven't been there in a while so I don't know if they are still on the menu. Thanks to the previous owners and best to the new ones!

  5. Thank you and Good luck my friend

    I met Julio's brother Marcello when I was in junior high and I began passing out fliers and cleaning the basement for lunch and a few bucks – I worked customer service my entire time in high school (1981-1985) – I love Julio, Marcello, Gabriel , and the old crew -"Big George, little George, Wilson, Armando, (aka -comegato), Diablo , Johnny . Peter the Greek, Mr. Mow , Pete and Carlos – and after I left Molly from the bakery – I remember Beck's Light being the choice beverage on weekends after hours – if you were around in those  days then I always jammed WGCI Friday night House styled dance music when it got late – great memories Julio !!! you were really a stand up boss and a great guy – you contributed to my work ethic – congrads on your retirement you deserve it – Adam

    And the most important thing – you developed the best damn pizza in the world !!!!

    your friend,


    1. Gigio’s an Evanston icon

      In response to Adam, he hit the nail right on the head. I was there for 14 years (1974 – 1988). During high school, college, and after I had the pleasure of working with some great people. I remember when Gigio's was at 1005 Davis St. just next to the corner. If you want to talk about an old school work ethic, this was it. There was always plenty to do day in and day out. The dough, pizza sauce and Italian beef were home made. The cheese, hamburger and sausage were grinded. All the vegetables were sliced and pretty much everything was done by hand. After Gigio's, I would run into Julio time and time again for a visit. As usual there was always something going on. Getting ready for the day with all the preperation and to work for another day. All my best to the entire Andino  Family as well as the new owners. GOD BLESS to all and take care. 

  6. The can crusher

    Tell me the changes to the interior won't include removing the can crusher! Please!

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