Gioco pioneered the retail development of the South Loop when it opened in September of 1999. The restaurant has been a mainstay in the neighborhood as other restaurants and stores have opened up over the years. Gioco is located in an historic building built in 1890 and is one of the few remaining buildings in Chicago from that era. The Gioco space features the original old brick and plaster walls, an old wooden walk-in cooler and a walk-in safe built into the wall, used by the Chicago gangsters (Al Capone, Frank Nitti, George "Bugs" Moran and Earl "Hymie" Weiss ) for one of the gambling and/or brothel houses that dominated the area in the early 1900s. Designer Jerry Kleiner designed Gioco restaurant to retain these old world elements and to feature them in his modernization of the space.