Paddy Long’s, the Lakeview bar that’s served craft beer and bacon to customers since 2007, is the latest Chicago establishment to make a pandemic pizza pivot. After 14 years, ownership closed Paddy Long’s and replaced the pub with a new restaurant, a pizzeria called Max and Issy’s.
“Paddy Long’s had an epic run. We have been here fourteen years almost to the day. But it’s time for us to turn a new page,” co-owners Chris Latchford and Pat Berger write in a late April Facebook post. “We have revamped the space and the old bar is looking magnificent. We are very excited about this new chapter.”
Latchford and Berger also own Kaiser Tiger in the West Loop, a bar that retains much of the same love for bacon as Paddy Long’s (albeit it panders a bit more to the customers along Randolph Restaurant Row). Over in Lakeview, the pizzeria’s name comes from the owners’ children. They’ve also added updates to the space, replacing a plate-glass front window with a retractable glass garage door that opens up to allow for increased airflow.
Max and Issy’s menu features seven 16-inch New York-style pies along with a design-your-own option and two salads. Despite a name change, the smell of bacon remains: Paddy’s regulars can keep the memories of their old watering hole alive with the meat-loaded “Paddy is Our Daddy” pizza (jowl bacon, Italian sausage, pepperoni, parmigiano reggiano). Another notable item is the spicy “Pompei Today” (serrano peppers, jalapenos, fresno peppers, banana peppers, hot giardiniera).
What brought on the change? Fluctuating pandemic regulations and capacity limitations forced the pub’s team to rely on delivery and carryout for a good deal of 2020. Paddy’s food menu, with options like a popular bacon board of cured pork from around the world, wasn’t designed to bring in revenue — it was created to keep patrons at the bar, Latchford and Berger tell Block Club Chicago.
If they were going to try and stay viable through food sales, the team needed to revamp. There are other pizza spots in the area, including a Lou Malnati’s on Lincoln and Wrightwood avenues, but the owners noticed an absence of New York-style pies. However, they’re not the only new thin-crust shop in the area. A few months ago, the owners of Gino’s East converted its deep-dish pizzeria at Lincoln and Diversey — less than a five-minute walk west from Max & Issy’s — into a hybrid Gotham Bagels and Eduardo’s Enoteca where they sell Neapolitan pizzas.
Latchford and Berger join a notable group of restaurant and bars operators have embraced pizza as a carryout-friendly pandemic vocation: Noah Sandoval (Oriole) transformed Bite Cafe into smash-hit Pizza Friendly Pizza in Ukrainian Village, Bill Kim (Urbanbelly) launched Chef Bill Kim’s Pizza & Parm Shop, and modern Indian cafe Moti has unveiled Masala Pizzas — Indian pizzas with thin, crispy crusts topped with “Moti sauce” and cilantro-lime drizzle. Logan Square’s Table, Donkey and Stick also debuted a pizza operation in 2020.
Ownership has not yet responded to a request for more information.
Max and Issy’s, 1028 W. Diversey Parkway, Open 4 p.m. to 11 p.m. Wednesday though Saturday; 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday.
- Paddy Long’s To Reopen As Max And Issy’s Pizzeria, Bringing New York-Style Pies To Lincoln Park [Block Club Chicago]