UPDATE: The opening is now pushed to May 17.
It took 20 years and plenty of patience for the chef at Robert’s Pizza Co. to figure out his dough recipe. In comparison, it’s only been two years since Roberts’s original location closed and the May 17 planned opening. The wait to reopen at a sparkling new space off the Chicago River in Streeterville hasn’t been nearly as challenging for Robert Garvey.
“It’s like riding a bicycle,” Garvey explained.
Garvey and wife Dana Hokin are eager to open the couple’s new 4,000-square-foot space. Pending inspections, opening day could be Friday for Robert’s Pizza and Dough Co., 411 E. Illinois Street.
The Garveys used a road trip through Montana as inspiration for the design of the restaurant. Hokin took about 1,000 Polaroid photos on the three-week trip back in 1997 that traversed nine states. They drove through in a 1966 green Ford Mustang. They worked with Studio K’s Karen Herold, who apparently is a big fan of Garvey’s thin-crust pies. Hokin intended to publish the photos as part of a book, but a move to the British Virgin Islands stymied those plans. When Herold found out about the images, she felt it was the right inspiration for the design.
A third operating partner, Jay Scher, also relayed his thoughts on the design. Unlike the original location, there’s a full kitchen at the new location with equipment that can be used for more than just pizzas. There’s a stove, a Combi oven, and a fryer that will allow Garvey and his crew more creativity. Like at the original location, Garvey will use a Marsol gas pizza oven, but he has two of them so he can bake 24 pizzas at once.
The space also features a 70-seat patio overlooking the Chicago River. Take a tour below. Robert’s Pizza is scheduled to open May 17.