Hours: Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 3 a.m.; Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 4 a.m.; Sundays, 2 p.m. to 1 a.m.
Atmosphere: A fancier Chicago original. Comfortable.
Price Range: Sandwiches from $3.55 to $3.95. Deep-dish pizza from $2.25 for an individual cheese to $11.45 for a large sausage pizza. Special combination pizza from $3.95 to $12.95.
Credit cards: Visa and MasterCard for purchases over $10.
Reservations: None, but large parties should call ahead.
Special features: High chairs and booster seats. Wheelchair entrance problems and tiered dining levels. The usual Georgetown parking procedures.
No amount of advertising was going to convince me. I've been lured by copies before; imitations do not always work. I hesitantly entered Uno's one Sunday evening, expecting things to be wrong. Yet this was the genuine number. Right in the middle of all the hoopla of Georgetown is the mainstay of Chicago: Pizzeria Uno.
Midwesterners longingly will remember their first visits to Uno's or its across-the-street sister, Due. They'll attest to the waits, the crowded, noisy ambience of eternal college life and the spirit of a good meal at reasonable prices.
The graffiti-decorated Chicago walls are missing, replaced with the trappings of middle-class respectability. There are a number of small rooms tastefully decorated with ceiling fans. There is a fine blend of glass, brass and brick.
This restaurant is part of an Uno's wave that is sweeping the country and fulfilling displaced Chicagoans' cravings.Except for a single soup or salad offering and a few sandwiches, the menu is filled with pizza.
Uno's definitely meets the needs of Washington. It is a perfect family restaurant where children know they are someplace special. The food and service are both first class. It also offers the perfect adult atmosphere, with its smattering of small tables.
To those who have just heard the term "Chicago pizza" bandied about or to others who have sampled it at Washington's attempted duplication spots, it is time to step out and learn your definitions.
First of all, there is the crust. Deep-dish or pan pizza does not mean thick, heavy crust. Rather there is a light, freshly baked dough that allows toppings to become part of the total product. One is not left with a heavy taste of starch. The crust complements the toppings and the two work together as a meal rather than as a heavy slice of dough with a condiment cover.
No matter which topping you request, you will be pleased that Uno's uses real tomatoes, not canned sauces or pastes. All the ingredients are fresh, and the sausage has the lingering flavor of Chicago products.
The greatest ordering caution one can offer is stated on Uno's menu: "Be careful when you order. Each Uno pizza is about twice the food content as the pizzas you are probably accustomed to." You are in for a real surprise if you consider the statement an exaggeration!
The single soup (Florence's soup, $1.60) is a wonderful minestrone with a light tomato touch and bite-sized pieces of vegetables, beans and potatoes. The waiter quickly keyed in on one child's longing glance and supplied an extra bowl and spoon.
Often when one eats out with children there is the nagging question, "May I have another soda?" After all, the kids see you refill your wine and beer glasses and the logic seems to transfer. Uno's offers a pitcher price ($3.75) with as many glasses as necessary. Three of us were able to quell the spice and pepperoni without fighting over refills.
Uno's also offers individual ($1.40) or table-size salads ($3.95). The latter is described as sufficient for 3 to 5 persons, and that borders on an understatement. The waiter tosses and serves the large bowl of greens with ample mushroom and cucumber slices, onions and cherry tomatoes. He applies a light touch of the oil and red wine vinegar dressing and puts you in charge of refills.
If you have exercised control, Uno's offers two desserts. Spumoni (95 cents) of pink -- not green -- orientation, or amaretto cheesecake ($1.50). The latter is a light cheesecake with a faint touch of amaretto.
Coffee drinkers have a choice of regular, expresso or cappuccino.
Another menu note: Uno's is prepared for those who want to take home a pizza -- just let them know how you want it prepared: fully baked and ready to eat, partially baked for home completion or partially baked and then frozen for a future winter night.
Midwestern prices, comfortable surroundings and quality foods will make Uno's a well-received best buy. The reception has already begun: as we were leaving, a line reminiscent of Chicago was winding up the steps. At this rate, Washington will be ready for Due's by spring.
Our total menu sampling of soup, salad, pizza, dessert, drinks and coffee came to $30.68 for four, including tax and tip -- and there was food enough for two more.
If this is nostalgia, let's have more.