It’s finally here: America’s first, and highly-anticipated, pizza restaurant from acclaimed Italian pizza maker Gabriele Bonci opens in Chicago’s West Loop today. The pizzeria, called Bonci, will serve the same pizza al taglio — baked in rectangular pans and cut into slices with scissors — that has earned Bonci Anthony Bourdain’s approval, not to mention that of the Romans and tourists who routinely wait in line for the stuff at Pizzarium, one of Rome’s essential dining destinations.
Before today, Rome was the only place to find Bonci’s pizza al talgio, known for its creative topping combinations, which, in Rome, have included raspberries with roasted potatoes and cherries and foie gras. The crust, made with an heirloom wheat flour dough that is cold fermented, appears similar to focaccia, though is crisp throughout. And at Bonci, as at Pizzarium, it will be topped with changing roster of quality produce and meats, Eater Chicago reports.
In Bonci’s deli-like space (seating is limited to a few stools), customers can choose from among eight to 12 varieties of pizza available daily. On opening day, those varieties include classic margherita along with hummus and mortadella, potato and mozzarella, and others. Staff will cut the pizza into rectangular slices with scissors and charge customers by weight, with slices costing $8.99 to $18.99 per pound, depending on ingredients. Sandwiches and suppli, Italian fried risotto, will also be available, though the pizza is the real star here.
When Bonci announced his U.S. debut in February, the pizzaiolo also expressed interest in opening a second Chicago location before expanding the Bonci brand to Boston, New York, and Philadelphia. As Eater noted then, the style hasn’t exactly taken off in America. Pizza al taglio restaurants in Boston and Seattle have opened and closed, with the owners of Seattle’s Pizzeria Gabbiano telling Eater Seattle that the business model wasn’t sustainable. Here’s hoping one of Rome’s best pizza makers can make it happen.
• Italy’s Acclaimed Bonci Pizzeria Makes American Debut in Chicago Today [ECHI]
• Inside America’s First Bonci Pizzeria, Opening Tuesday in Chicago [ECHI]
• Rome’s Best Pizza Al Taglio Is Coming to America [E]
• Bourdain-Approved Bonci Pizzeria Plans U.S. Debut for Mid-July in Chicago [ECHI]