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Lincoln Square, North Center, Irving Park

Lincoln Square’s Jimmy’s Pizza Cafe Finds New Home — And It’s Staying In The Neighborhood

Jimmy's is moving from its longtime Lincoln Avenue home to 2434 W. Montrose Ave., which formerly housed Nick's Pizza & Pub.

The restaurant at 2434 W. Montrose Ave. on July 23, 2021. Jimmy's Pizza Cafe plans to relocate here by Labor Day.
Alex V. Hernandez/Block Club Chicago
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LINCOLN SQUARE — After nearly a year looking for a home, Jimmy’s Pizza Cafe found a larger location in Lincoln Square and plans to move by Labor Day.

The Lincoln Avenue staple is moving to the former site of Nick’s Pizza & Pub, 2434 W. Montrose Ave. The new spot is about a mile south of owner Jimmy Kang’s current location. 

Last year, City Council approved a developer’s plans to tear down the two-story building housing Jimmy’s at 5155-5159 N. Lincoln Ave. to build a five-story building with work-live storefront units and 20 parking spaces. 

That prompted owner Jimmy Kang to look for another location, ideally one that would keep the restaurant in Lincoln Square. Kang previously told Block Club one of the challenges was finding a location that would allow him to keep the same delivery zone.

Nick’s closed its Montrose location in 2018 to focus on its suburban locations. At the time, the owner said sales weren’t enough to cover the cost of the large building’s rent and other expenses.

“It feels like we’re right next door to where we were, and that was the goal. We didn’t want to go to Logan Square all of a sudden. The new location is only a mile away, so we can still serve everyone we did before in our delivery zone,” Kang said.

Credit: Alex V. Hernandez/ Block Club Chicago
Jimmy’s Pizza Cafe is located at 5159 N. Lincoln Ave. in Lincoln Square.

Kang’s restaurant is known for its New York-style pizza by the pie and the slice, as well as beignets and coffee. His restaurant was popular before the pandemic, but his takeout and delivery business skyrocketed during the dine-in bans last year.

Jimmy’s got so many takeout orders Kang routinely sold out of dough. Part of that was due to the small size of their kitchen. 

The Montrose Avenue space is much larger at about 7,000 square feet. Kang wants to take advantage of the additional space to increase his indoor dining capacity, and he plans install seven flat-screen TVs and a larger pizza oven. Kang also plans to include an outdoor takeout window that may sell pastries, coffee and gelato.

He’ll also have a liquor license, Kang said. 

“People who are building restaurants either can’t get the staff or the equipment they need on time due to the pandemic. But pretty luckily, I was already negotiating to get my new oven and other stuff like that a year and a half ago,” Kang said.

Kang is redesigning the interior to his taste, replacing the seating and the barn wood features of Nick’s. Kang plans to keep the Lincoln Avenue location running until the team completes the move to Montrose, so there is no hiatus in service.  

“With the new TVs, liquor license and some other fun I have up my sleeve, I think it’s going to be a really cool spot where people can hang out,” Kang said. “I want to keep it very family- and pizza-oriented. To me, it’s still going to be all about the pizza.”

It is not clear when demolition on the Lincoln Avenue building will begin to make way for the apartments.

Credit: provided
Rendering of what the proposed building at 5155-5159 N. Lincoln Ave. would look like.

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