Last year, Bonci took Chicago by storm when famed pizza maker Gabriele Bonci brought his creative Roman-style pizzas to America by opening his first pizzeria outside of Italy in the West Loop. The sleek pizzeria, just north of Randolph Street, was so popular that the team in charge of American operations looked to open a second, larger location where Chicagoans can enjoy pizza al taglio, allowing customers to order square-cut Roman-style pizzas topped with top-notch ingredients including ’nduja and foie gras. Bonci opened its second Chicago pizzeria over the weekend in the heart of Wicker Park at 1566 N. Damen Avenue.
This is a rare case of the product matching the hype, as Bonci’s airy crust coupled with eclectic toppings uplifted Chicago’s already-vibrant pizza landscape. Customers won’t find American pizza staples such as pepperoni. Instead of catering to locals, Bonci has introduced the city to authentic Roman-style pizza that can’t be enjoyed anywhere else in America. Yes, this is the pizza that luminaries including Anthony Bourdain have raved about.
The West Loop Bonci can be cramped with customers waiting for orders. There’s not much space to sit down and eat, as visitors took to eating on the sidewalk. That isn’t a problem in Wicker Park, which may be the only Bonci worldwide with seats and tables. The space, formerly occupied by Dox Quality Greek, was in good shape and only needed some paint, shelving, and new tables and chairs to match the Bonci dynamic. It has 40 seats, and ownership said they’ll eventually add 12 more.
Wicker Park’s six corner intersection is full of commuters, and Bonci wants to serve them special morning pizzas. But be patient, as co-owner Rick Tasman said they’re not ready yet to add the morning pies to the menu. Bonci joins the Wicker Park/Bucktown area full of pizza options, including Eater Chicago 38 member Piece, deep-dish legend Lou Malnati’s, and upstart Knead Pizza.
Take a whirl through the new location below. Bonci now has two locations open in Chicago.
Bonci, 1566 N. Damen Avenue, (872) 829-3144, open 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 11 a.m. to midnight on Friday and Saturday; 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Sunday.