WICKER PARK — A pizza restaurant in Wicker Park is donating food to Chicago hospitals and working to mass produce face shields for health care workers in its pizza ovens.
Dimo’s Pizza, 1615 N. Damen Ave., is working on both initiatives while continuing to feed the public through a delivery and pickup service.
Owner Dimitri Syrkin-Nikolau said he wanted to respond to the coronavirus outbreak “in the best way” he can. Part of that is molding acrylic in his ovens into shields for health-care workers.
The pizza ovens heat the acrylic to the point it becomes malleable. Once hot enough the acrylic is set in a mold. Dimo’s worked with Avenue Metal, Co., 1640 W. Ogden Ave., to make molds for the shields.
Once the shield cools, Velcro and foam are added. Syrkin-Nikolau hopes to have a final prototype completed this week.
Because he can mass produce the shields, he hopes to enter into work with local hospitals.
“We are used to making things very quickly, in large quantities, very cleanly,” he said. “It’s like a win-win. Buy local. … I would love to up hours to produce face shields.”
“I feel like that’s what’s called for so that’s what we’re trying to do,” he said.
His ovens are still turning out pizzas, too.
To date, Dimo’s has donated pizzas to Northwestern Memorial Hospital, John H. Jr. Stroger Cook County Hospital and Lurie Children’s Hospital.
Private companies have stepped up to help out, too. Slice, a New York-based pizza delivery company, offered to buy 10 pizzas from Dimo’s to give to Howard Brown Health Center.
A Chicago law firm has also reached out to offer to buy pizzas for a homeless shelter, Syrkin-Nikolau said.
“When you think about war, soldiers are on the front line,” he said. “In this situation, it’s our medical workers on the front line.”
Dimo’s Pizza opened in 2008 in Wrigleyville, 3463 N. Clark St., as Ian’s Pizza. The name changed in 2011, and in 2013 the restaurant expanded to Wicker Park.
“We opened in July of 2008 right when the recession hit,” Syrkin-Nikolau said. “It was bad, it was awful. … But it was never life threatening. The implications still were grave, but [this] feels like it’s on a different scale.”
Customers can support Dimo’s by ordering for pickup or delivery online.
The Wicker Park location is selling beer from local breweries, including four-packs from Half Acre.
In addition to traditional delivery, Dimo’s is selling “take n’ bake” pizzas as well as “build your own” pizza kits.
Delivery hours are 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Sunday-Wednesday and 11 a.m.-midnight Thursday-Saturday.
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