A fast-growing local pizzeria mini-chain known for its pies made with Old Style beer is continuing its rapid trajectory the recent debut of its fourth permanent location in four years. Chef and owner Matt Wilde will debut the latest outpost of Bob’s Pizza on Wednesday, February 22 inside Hyde Park’s Harper Court. Bob’s joins Jamaican hit Ja’ Grill, Daisy’s Po-Boy and Tavern from James Beard Award-winning chef Erick Williams (Virtue), and Cantonese specialists Jade Court.
This location will feature pizza by the slice for lunch and three options exclusive to the South Side: “The Bob Kim” (bacon, ssam sauce, shredded cabbage, fried garlic) includes a ssam sauce Kimski chef Won Kim adapted from his mother. There’s also a meatball pizza (hatch chiles, sweet onions, roasted garlic) and a chicken sausage pizza (smoked chicken sausage, sun-dried tomatoes, spinach, goat cheese, tomato sauce, garlic honey).
The building’s landlords, the University of Chicago, continue to lure restaurants to Harper Court in the hope of providing amenities to students and locals.
As far as Bob’s Pizza: there is no Bob. Wilde founded Bob’s Pizza in 2019 in Pilsen through a series of unlikely events that brought the chef from fine dining restaurants in the Twin Cities to the kitchen at Chicago’s Joy District nightclub. During that stint in River North, Wilde met architect and restaurant designer Jeremiah Johnson, who happened to be hunting for a tenant to fill a shuttered Gino’s East on 21st Street in Pilsen.
Word of mouth rapidly made the pie a neighborhood must-have, and by the end of 2020, Bob’s expanded into Old Town and suburban Evanston. Evanston and Hyde Park are the only locations that sell alcohol.
Bob’s Hyde Park location seats 66 between roomy black booths, high-top tables, and stools along the windows and bar. A red and black color scheme runs throughout the 3,000-square-foot dining room, which is outfitted with enormous hair-raising murals painted by Kim. A 60-seat patio is set to open when the weather improves in the spring. Bob’s replaces Native Foods Cafe.
Not satisfied with just expanding the pizza genre, Wilde has continued pushing the envelope with his signature pickle pizza, a base of garlic cream layered with mortadella, thin-sliced pickles, and fresh dill.
Pizza is generally a family-friendly affair, but once Bob’s secures its liquor license diners of drinking age could also order off a playful cocktail list with options like a boozy frozen, blended Tang with white rum, Bob’s Irish coffee milkshake (Irish whiskey, cold brew, coffee liqueur, vanilla), and the tropical Jungle Bird (dark rum, Campari, pineapple juice).
Take a look around Bob’s Pizza at Harper Court in the photographs below.
Bob’s Pizza Hyde Park, 1518 E. Harper Court, Open 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday; 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday.