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Explore Old Town’s New Quad City Pizzeria Before It Opens Wednesday

Roots Handmade Pizza to open next to Second City comedy club

A lager and dark beer in tulip glasses next to two trays with a strip of Quad City pizza.
Roots is popular for its Quad City pizza.
Barry Brecheisen/Eater Chicago
Ashok Selvam is the editor of Eater Chicago and a native Chicagoan armed with more than two decades of award-winning journalism. Now covering the world of restaurants and food, his nut graphs are super nutty.

Many customers who enter Roots Handmade Pizza’s Old Town location will immediately think of table-side guacamole when they walk into the new restaurant neighboring Second City comedy club. Adobo Grill occupied the space before a 2015 fire gutted the space and Second City’s offices upstairs. Roots’s owners have revitalized the space, hoping to give locals a family-friendly pizzeria that can fill the niche left when Bricks Pizza closed last year after 21 years in the area.

The 7,500-square-foot restaurant opens at 4 p.m on Wednesday at 1610 N. Wells Street. The design differs from Roots’s locations in West Town and Lincoln Square. Fifty/50 Restaurant Group co-founder Greg Mohr said Old Town is a balance between the two restaurants: “It just feels like a Roots should feel.”

The space has been around for more than a century. Patrons will find more seats compared to the original West Town restaurant where there’s room for patrons to stand with drinks. Roots has grown up and Mohr said they will incorporate the styling at future locations including a South Loop restaurant scheduled to open in late spring/early summer. Knowing parking near North and Wells can be at a premium, Roots will eventually add curbside service. When they enable the feature at a future date, customers could order via Roots’s new app (available via iTunes and Android stores) and staff would run out orders to customers seated in their cars.

Roots features Quad Cities-style pizza with creative toppings (such as a Coming To America-inspired pie) and a chef’s series with pizzas from the likes of Brian Fisher of Michelin-starred Entente. The malty dough is a bit chewy and the pies are cut into rectangular strips. The new location will also offer more salads.

Roots is quite a contrast to the devil-may-care environment upstairs at Fifty/50’s new rooftop bar Utopian Tailgate. Pizza goes well with pre-concert and game festivities. The rooftop’s customers will also be able to order Roots pizza.

Take a stroll through the space below and check out a few food photos.

The exterior of Roots Pizza.
Roots Pizza is next to Second City in Old Town.
Barry Brecheisen/Eater Chicago
A modern looking bar with wood flooring.
Those wide aisles were once patrolled by Adobo Grill’s guacamole carts.
A restaurant with modern lighting and butcher block tables.
This is Roots’s third location.
A map of the Quad Cities with pastels.
Roots Pizza is from the Quad Cities.
A dining room with string lighting.
Fifty/50 Restaurant Group said this design will be the one it uses on future pizzerias.
A dining room with exposed brick and string lighting.
The exposed brick is more than 100 years old.
A booth hidden between walls.
Larger booths for big groups
Five mozzarella sticks fried with a bowl of marinara.
Mozzarella sticks (housemade, hand-stretched mozzarella, herbed breadcrumbs, marinara)
A bowl of hummus, red pepper dip, and a bowl of pita chips.
Loaded Hummus (sun-dried tomato pesto, pita crumble, roasted red pepper pureé, pita chips).
A Greek salad in a bowl.
Greek-ish Salad (Romaine & red leaf lettuce, Kalamata & green olives, roasted red peppers, feta cheese, pine nuts, crunchy pita, cucumbers, red onions, pepperoncini, Greek dressing)
McDowell’s Pizza (seasoned ground beef, Louis dressing, mozzarella, cheddar with onions, lettuce, and pickles)
Taco Pizza (taco-seasoned crumbled sausage, red sauce, mozzarella, cheddar with lettuce, tomatoes, and taco-seasoned chips)
A steak hoagie
Bettendorf Steak Hoagie (chopped sirloin, sautéed mushrooms, crispy shallots, provolone, parmesan Cheese Whiz)

Roots Pizza Old Town

1610 N. Wells Street, Chicago, IL Visit Website