The proprietor of the Chicago location of Paulie Gee’s Pizza continues to strive new methods through the pandemic. The New York import arrived in Chicago four years ago with a Logan Square location, and since COVID-19 hit, workers on the usually full-service restaurant has opened up its home windows overlooking Milwaukee Avenue to create a make-shift pickup window for pizza slices. Clients are greeted by a choice of N.Y.-style pies and that are shortly reheated and packaged for to-go consumption.
The pickup window technique had helped maintain the pizzeria afloat throughout COVID-19. Now Derrick Tung and his Chicago group will take that components a couple of minutes southeast alongside Milwaukee Avenue to a brand new location. Tung hopes to open Paulie Gee’s Wicker Park by the top of December at 1566 N. Damen Avenue inside the previous Bonci area close to the Damen Avenue CTA Blue Line Cease.
“It’s taking an opportunity proper now,” Tung says. “I believe can be nice publish COVID, and I believe we are able to handle proper now throughout COVID.”
Paulie Gee’s is a fabled New York pizzeria with a number of areas — together with Baltimore and Columbus, Ohio — that makes a speciality of neo-Neapolitan thin-crust pies. Whereas Tung has introduced lots of these recipes to Chicago, he’s made his location distinctive to the Midwest. For instance, he’s perfected his model of Detroit-style squares, even arising with a gluten-free crust. However earlier than ex-Michiganders get too excited, prospects gained’t have the ability to get the Motor Metropolis pies in Wicker Park. Tung desires to ensure every location is exclusive. Tung’s crew is constructing a pick-up window and show case so prospects can see what his store is serving from the sidewalk. Clients will have the ability to decide slices from eight or 9 totally different pies. The pies can be bigger than Logan Sq.’s, too.
Tung is taking Paulie Gee’s slice store idea — one the company debuted two years ago in Brooklyn — and tweaking it. Clients will nonetheless have the ability to order entire pies in Wicker Park and finally they’ll ship utilizing third-party companies. Tung says they’ll have two gas-powered PizzaMaster ovens, one for baking the pizza and one to reheat slices from the case. The objective is to get prospects transferring shortly with a slice of their fingers in below a minute.
They’ll additionally go after the breakfast crowd, however in a special method that the area’s predecessor did; Bonci — the world-famous Roman pizza maker — served breakfast pizza. As a substitute of morning pies, Paulie Gee’s will serve egg sandwiches. Earlier than the pandemic, Tung had employed a brand new chef, Tony Dezutter, considering he would start serving brunch day-after-day in Logan Sq.. The halt of indoor eating pressured Paulie Gee’s to change its plans. Over in Wicker Park, they’ll use Dezutter’s skills with intentions of increasing brunch when indoor eating is safer. Dezutter (Blissful Banana Cafe) and one other Logan Sq. veteran, William Ravert, will function the brand new location.
In an odd quirk, Tung says he gained’t be allowed to serve espresso. It’s a part of a non-compete clause that one other of the constructing’s tenants, Starbucks, has in its lease. However Tung says they’ll consider one thing inventive to supply morning beverage, maybe group up with a neighborhood juicery. Tung provides they plan to use for a liquor license.
Bonci didn’t serve the post-bar crowd, and staying opening late is a technique Tungs says that Paulie Gee’s can distinguish itself from different space pizzerias like Piece Pizza, Dimo’s Pizza, Knead Nice Pizza, and Lou Malnati’s.
“There’s simply a lot occurring,” Tung says of Wicker Park’s Six Corners. “We wish to be a part of that, to hitch them and herald one thing new.”
Paulie Gee’s Wicker Park, 1566 N. Damen Avenue, deliberate to open between mid-December and the top of the month.