Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Roots Handmade Pizza Opens Impressive Building in the Midst of Covid-19

We knew Roots Handmade Pizza had ambitious plans for their buildout on the northwest corner of Polk and Dearborn but wow!  The building is absolutely beautiful and has already added to the general vibe of Printers Row. 

Don't believe, head on over to Eater Chicago to see their write-up and amazing pictures.  If that's too much work, here are some pics and a blurb:
Chicago may see many pizzerias in the near future, but none quite like the new Roots Handmade Pizza in Printer’s Row. Pizza spots don’t rely on dine-in customers, and have the strong carryout and delivery capabilities to survive the pandemic. Roots, 744 S. Dearborn Street, has even more advantages, including a patio outfitted with a glass retractable roof.

This is Roots’ fourth location, following West Town, Lincoln Square, and Old Town. They all serve Quad Cities Pizza, cut into the strips with malted crust and loaded with cheese. Fifty/50 Restaurant Group co-owner Greg Mohr is a Quad Cities native. He says the extra cheese serves as insulation that keeps pies tasty during delivery or carryout. Roots is known for its chef’s pizza series with talent including Won Kim (Kimski), Rick Ortiz (Antique Taco), and Oliver Poilevey (Le Bouchon). The pizzeria is also known for its fried mozzarella sticks.

The bi-level behemoth, 744 S. Dearborn Street, is outfitted with two ground level patios and 23 TVs. Mohr says the $600,000 glass roof on the second floor takes about 20 seconds to retract. Roots is known for its family-friendly atmosphere, but the company has yearned to create more of a bar scene at night. The 21+ rooftop gives them that opportunity, and the design takes pages out of Fifty/50’s Old Town set up. Roots occupies the first floor, but ride the elevator on top of Second City comedy club, and visitors will kind Utopian Tailgate, the zany sibling rooftop bar.

Mohr hopes they can build some synergy with Chicago Bears fans as Soldier Field is a short distance away. Of course, many wonder if football season will take place this year. COVID-19 has also affected Roots’ design. They were able to integrate plexiglas shields and other social distancing precautions into the room. There’s also a separate carryout entrance where customers can pick up sweet treats from the group’s popular West Town Bakery.

We didn't know about the bakery but that's awesome...even better this view of Dearborn Tower:

It's a tough time to be opening a restaurant, especially one with such ambitious plans.  Regardless - we're very excited to try them out and judging by the solid crowd we've seen outside, much of the neighborhood is too!

(Hat tip: AB!)

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