Bonci has an opening date for its second Chicago location, which will give the city the world-renowned Italian pizzeria’s only two locations in America. After conquering the West Loop by serving pizzas inside a cramped storefront between Randolph and Lake streets, ownership took over the Dox Quality Greek space just south of Wicker Park’s six corner intersection at 1566 N. Damen Avenue. Pending the receipt of its imported pizza ovens — slowly arriving via cargo boat from Italy — Chicago’s second Bonci should open on April 17.
This Bonci is larger than the ones in Italy. The West Loop location has a few seats stuffed in the back of the restaurant and cramped counter seating in the front. The Wicker Park location will have two hightop tables with eight seats each, and a third hightop with room for four. That makes Wicker Park’s Bonci the first one to have legitimate tables and chairs, Bonci USA’s Rick Tasman said. It will also house 11 counter seats by the window overlooking Damen and another three against the southern wall. That’s much more space to eat its pizzas indoors, compared to other locations which encourage carry out.
The pizza at Bonci is Roman with an airy crust that comes in square-shaped slices and cut with scissors. This pizza al taglio is consider among the world’s best, not only because of the crust but also because of topping combinations from founder Gabriele Bonci. It doesn’t look like Bonci will travel to Chicago from Italy for the opening, but Tasman said he’ll likely check in on the new space this summer. In his place, some of Bonci’s best pizza makers from Italy — the same ones who worked at the West Loop location when its first opened — will help in Wicker Park to help launch the new pizzeria.
The new location is nearly next door to the CTA’s Damen Blue Line stop, and Tasman said it’ll offer breakfast slices for morning commuters. It’ll also stay open later on the weekends to accommodate the area’s nightlife. Stay tuned for more details in the coming weeks.