America surely doesn’t deserve this kindness, but one of Italy’s best-known pizza-makers will be setting up shop in Chicago this summer reports Gambero Rosso. Gabriele Bonci plans to open a Roman-style pizzeria called Bonci in the West Loop neighborhood in June 2017. If all goes well, Bonci hopes to open a second Chicago location before expanding to Boston, New York, and Philadelphia.
In Rome, Bonci is known for serving pizza al taglio: Served by the slice, Bonci bakes his pizza dough (made with heirloom wheat flour and cold fermented) in rectangular cast-iron pans, topping them with fine produce and artisanal meats and cheeses. His restaurant Pizzarium is one of Rome’s essential dining experiences — and his cut slices, some of the best cheap eats in town.
Roman-style cut pizza is making inroads in America, as at Roman Candle Baking Co. in Portland and Montesacro in San Francisco, but the style hasn’t totally found its audience here. Boston’s Scissors & Pie was short-lived, and in Seattle, the wonderful Pizzeria Gabbiano closed too, the owners telling Eater Seattle: “The long and short of it is... we were making everything from scratch and buying everything as local as possible, and when you get into what people expect from a quick slice of pizza at lunch, it wasn't a sustainable, viable business."
And Bonci isn’t the only Italian pizzaiolo hoping to make it in America right now. Fellow Roman pizza star Stefano Callegari is bringing his signature trapizzino to New York City. Eater NY also recently learned that Naples’ most famous pizza maker, Gino Sorbillo, is opening a shop in New York City. Welcome, all.
• Bonci Arriva a Chicago [Gambero Rosso, in Italian]
• The 38 Essential Restaurants in Rome [E]
• Street Food Guide: How to Eat Cheap in Rome, Italy [E]