NORTH CENTER — Fans of Jimmy’s Pizza Cafe can now enjoy a beer with their New York-style pizza.
Owner Jimmy Kang moved his namesake restaurant to 2434 W. Montrose Ave. earlier this year, initially making the popular restaurant BYOB. He got his liquor license a month ago to offer about a dozen beers from local craft brewers, including Begyle and Maplewood, alongside Old Style, sangria and rosé. Cocktails in a can are also available, Kang said.
“A lot of people have asked for the longest time about a liquor license,” Kang said. “We’re just going to start with that and not doing mixed cocktails here at the moment, because even though we’ve been open for months, we’re still growing, and serving alcohol is such a new thing for us.”
With the liquor license secured, Kang has his eye toward expanding even more. The Montrose Avenue building housing Jimmy’s is divided into two parts, and Kang wants to take over the Artesian Avenue portion to create a dedicated area for customers to enjoy beer, cocktails and possibly karaoke, he said.
“It’d be a little bit different when you’d walk into that back area; it’d be kind of like a speakeasy,” Kang said. “That’s another 2,000 square feet with a lot of wood on the ceiling, and it just looks cool.”
Kang was forced to move his popular pizza joint from 5155-5159 N. Lincoln Ave. after the City Council approved a developer’s plans in 2020 to tear down the two-story building that housed it and replace it with a five-story residential building.
After nearly a year of searching for a spot in the neighborhood, Kang bought the Montrose Avenue store on the border of the Lincoln Square and North Center in July 2021. He reopened in late February.
Kang said he was initially wary of pursuing a liquor license, but his Realtor and landlord told him it would be a good investment at the larger location, he said.
“Our drafts are pretty profitable, and I’m happy for my customers to have a pretty good assortment of beers,” Kang said. “Our liquor sales aren’t crazy, but every little bit helps a lot.”
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