When you think of pizza in Wicker Park the first place that probably comes to mind is Piece. While I love Piece as much as the next Chicagoan, there is a new contender in town that you definitely need to check out. Craft Pizza is the newest Wicker Park pizza joint brought to us from Scott Toth, the man behind the already established Lakeview spot Pizzeria Serio.
I had the opportunity to meet up with several other Chicago Food Bloggers on Saturday to preview the pizza before the restaurant’s grand opening today!
I got to talk with Scott about his vision for this new pizza venture of his. He said he has been a pizza lover his whole life and has always loved East Coast style pizza. He has several favorite pizzerias in NYC and wanted to bring similar pizza to Chicago. He spent several years researching recipes and techniques before opening his first restaurant in 2010. He has had so much success with Pizzeria Serio that he decided to open a second restaurant. He said he wanted to open something a little smaller with a more intimate feel. His recipes for the dough and sauce are similar to those at Pizzeria Serio with slightly different elements.
The dough is hand stretched and he gets his tomatoes and olive oil from a distributor out of Italy he partners with called Sogno Toscano.
The menu consists of several different pizzas that came in two sizes – 14 inch and 18 inch. They also offer a couple of different salads and antipasti options and the restaurant is BYOB. Craft will also offer pizza by the slice 4-6 PM on weekdays for the commuter crowds and 11-4 PM on weekends. In true NYC fashion, they will also be serving boiled bagels (made from their aged pizza dough) in the morning for a breakfast option along with coffee from local Chicago roaster Sparrow.
The Neopolitan style pizzas are cooked in a traditional New York style pizza oven and don’t take long at all to bake because of the high temperature.
Scott and his crew prepared several different kinds of pizza for us to try and we definitely ate our way through the menu.
First up to try was the Devil in the White City. This pizza comes in both red and white style and is topped with hot capicola, cherry peppers, peppercinis, and red onion.
If you like spicy toppings, this pizza is for you! The flavors of the different peppers with the capicola were spot on. I preferred the white version between the two.
Next up was the White City which is fresh mozzarella, pecorino romano, grana padono, garlic, herbs, and olive oil. Normally I’m a red sauce kind of gal, but I absolutely loved this sauceless pizza.
Even though I loved every bite I put into my mouth, the margherita pizza had to be my favorite. I’ve eaten a lot of margherita pizzas in my life and I have to say this is one of the bests I have ever tried. The crust (on all of their pizzas) was perfectly chewy on the inside with a slight crisp on the outside. The tomato sauce was so flavorful with a slightly sweet bite that I loved! The mozzarella and basil were both extremely fresh tasting. I could eat this pizza over and over again.
Lastly I tried the Wicker Pork which was topped with smoked candaian bacon, onions, and pineapple. I’m a huge fan of pineapple on pizza and the sweetness from the fruit combined with the smoked meat made for the perfect combo!
I seriously can’t say enough good things about Craft Pizza. Scott and his crew definitely know what they are doing when it comes to pizza. When I asked Scott about the idea behind this new venture of his, he said he wanted to create a place where people can come and sit around the table and enjoy their pizza. He believes pizza is not meant to be delivered, but is best served hot right out of the oven. After eating at Craft, I can definitely say that these pizzas are worth coming in for.
Craft Pizza opens TODAY and is located at 1252 N. Damen Ave. in Chicago’s Wicker Park neighborhood