What started as a carry-out spot for a ex-Detroiter to showcase square-cut, caramelized Motor City-style pizza has evolved into a full-service restaurant in Uptown. Longacre officially launches its new dining room with expanded menu with pastas and plenty of vegan options. The restaurant is from the owners of Kal’ish, the vegan-friendly restaurant located next door.
Longacre’s owners took over the Baker & Nosh space at 1303 W. Wilson Avenue. Co-owner Andy Kalish and his wife Gina also run the Ravenswood Event Center. They’re on a mission to provide Uptown with an accessible restaurant that’s environmentally friendly. That means staying open later to better serve customers. It also means serving less meat to reduce carbon footprints. Kal’ish featured a crispy chicken substitute in sandwiches, and they’ve brought it over to Longacre for their vegan chicken parmesan. The “Clucker Crisps” provide customers with a meat-free option. Other menu items include a “Deep Woods Skillet,” which is a baked mushroom dip and a mini cheese ravioli lasagna.
Kalish spent a ton of time perfecting his Detroit-style pizza dough, which is inspired by the venerable Buddy’s Pizza chain with Wisconsin brick cheese. The burnt-cheese crust is similar to Pequod’s in Chicago. They’ve also spent a long time making on their vegan cheeses. Vegan cheese can be a polarizing topic as without dairy it’s hard to ensure the textures are right and that it melts properly. The Kalishes use tree nuts in their vegan cheese and their creation came out of necessity. They had problems in securing a steady supply of vegan cheeses from companies like Daiya. They decided to make their own, and now they’re considering making those vegan options available for sale.
The space also features a dog-friendly patio. The Kalishes quickly snatched up the space to protect the neighborhood from homogeneity. They got married in 1995 and moved to Uptown 22 years ago.
“We didn’t want another convenience store or a Jimmy John’s,” Andy Kalish said. “We already have those.”
The pizza operation, Longacre Pizza Squared, opened in November. When the Baker & Nosh space became available, the expansion plan sprung into fruition. They have room for about 50 inside, and they’ve increased the dining room space by about 300 square feet by converting space that was used for baking. It’s got a rustic, stockyard feel with reclaimed materials.
Longacre has been open over the last couple weeks, but not on a regular schedule. Kalish said they’ve struggled to attract top-notch workers. There’s a strange stigma in Uptown. But over the last couple weeks they’ve found the right personnel, and they’re now ready to officially launch with regular hours.
“We deeply believe in providing access to good food and to be open as many hours as possible would have the most impact on the neighborhood,” Kalish said.
The restaurant is finally fully operational.
Longacre, 1303 W. Wilson Avenue, open 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. on weekdays; 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.