Pizza Friendly Pizza, the new pizzeria that took over the Bite Cafe space in Ukrainian Village, opens Wednesday with Sicilian-style pan pizzas, a walk-up window, and a spirit-free drink from one of Chicago’s best bartenders. As the pandemic affects restaurants, customers will see more walk-up windows that limit contact, and they’ll also see more restaurants that sell food — like pizza — that travels well so diners don’t have to dwell in dining rooms.
The restaurant neighbors Empty Bottle and features recipes from Noah Sandoval, the decorated chef behind Michelin-starred Oriole. While Oriole is a fancy restaurant where diners splurge, Bite Cafe — which formerly occupied the Pizza Friendly Pizza Space — was more akin to a community hangout for a casual brunch or quick meal before a concert at the Bottle. A slice of pizza at the new restaurant costs $4.50.
Empty Bottle owner Bruce Finkelman of 16” on Center (Thalia Hall, Revival Food Hall), recruited Sandoval; the two bonded over their fandom for D.C. hardcore punk music. Pizzas will be available whole or by the slice in varieties including rapini and chevre (lemon, garlic) and mushroom and Calabrian chili (seasonal mushrooms, burrata). For those into premium pepperoni, Sandoval is using Ezzo’s. This is the type of pepperoni that crisps and cups after placed in the oven. The ingredient is popular among competitive pizza makers.
Customers can also expect seasonal sandwiches, such as an Italian cold cuts sandwich (mortadella, Genoa salami, sorpresatta, provolone, giardiniera aioli, basil), and sides like breadsticks and a “Hangover Cesar” (little gem, white anchovy, croutons, aged parmesan).
Also newsworthy is that Kumiko bartender Julia Momose has created a spirit-free drink for the pizzeria. Sandoval and Momose are both partners are Kumiko in West Loop. They’ll also seve beer, wine, and cocktails.
Full food and drink menus are available below.
A modern riff on a classic diner, Bite Cafe served as an affordable spot for locals and concertgoers for nearly three decades. Unfortunately for its devotees, the space and approach isn’t suited to the safety measures required during the pandemic. At Pizza Friendly Pizza (the name is a play on Empty Bottle’s brown awning, which reads “Music Friendly Dancing”), patrons can get the goods through a walk-up window or on a small patio.
Finkelman and Sandoval’s new joint venture launches Wednesday.
Pizza Friendly Pizza, 1039 N. Western Avenue, hours not posted yet.