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The Food Network star opened GDL Italian by Giada at the Horseshoe Casino on Tuesday. 

Maria Yagoda
May 23, 2018

Giada De Laurentiis' very first East Coast venture has finally taken shape in Baltimore, Maryland. GDL Italian by Giada, which opened on Tuesday, serves the Food Network's star brand of Italian-meets-Californian cuisine at the Horseshoe Casino, seating 180 people in a trattoria-like atmosphere. 

Despite filming TV shows, managing her Vegas restaurants, publishing cookbooks, and gallivanting around the world, De Laurentiis made sure to spend a significant amount of time in Baltimore while developing the restaurant.

"At the beginning of this discussion everybody just said to me, ‘Let’s just rebuild Giada Vegas but in Baltimore,’” she told reporters in February. “And I thought, ‘No, it doesn’t work here.’ It’s not the same community, which is why I had to spend time here to understand it.”

De Laurentiis felt that the stakes were particularly high for this opening. Why? The city's Italian game is strong. 

"You have some really good Italian restaurants here,” she told the Baltimore Sun this week. “I wanted to make sure that I did something Italian, a little bit different.”

The new restaurant has wine on tap, plus house spirits made from her own recipes. Under the leadership of executive chef Brian Drosenos, the restaurant serves dishes like meatballs, brick-oven pizzas, bright pastas (including chitara with lemon and pea alfredo), contorno, and lots of seafood—from the beginning, the star said she wanted the restaurant to have a strong seafood focus. The menu is divided into five sections, which includes Salads and Antipasti, Pastas, Entrées, Pizzas, and Sides. Entrées range between $23 and $51, with pastas around $20. 

The restaurant, which she announced in October 2017, takes the place of Johnny Sanchez, the taqueria from John Besh and Aaron Sanchez that closed last year. 

This year alone, De Laurentiis has already opened another restaurant, Pronto, a fast-casual concept in Las Vegas. As for what's next? She tells Food & Wine, "I would be so lucky to open more fast-causal, as well as fine-dining, locations. As for additional locations of Pronto, I first want to see how the Pronto at Caesars Palace does before expanding."

GDL Italian, 525 Russell Street, Baltimore, Md.

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