WICKER PARK — Longtime Wicker Park pizza joint Pizza Metro has reopened after a temporary closure with a focus on a sweet new product: Italian pastries.
The restaurant, 1707 W. Division St., has served up square, Roman-style pizzas since opening in 2001, and it has long been a go-to for late night bargoers in Wicker Park.
Owner Marco Schiavoni temporarily closed Pizza Metro in April to return to Rome to care for his sick father. While he was there, he starting frequenting bakeries all over the city and was inspired to bring Italian pastries back to Chicago.
“In Chicago, you cannot find a place with a proper Italian breakfast, which is not salty stuff. We eat sweets in the morning with coffee, cappuccino. So nobody ever done such a thing like that,” he said.
To help, Schiavoni hired Davide Serafini, a Roman pastry chef who’s in the process of moving to Chicago.
With Serafini’s help, Schiavoni reopened Pizza Metro this weekend, selling trays full of doughnuts, croissants with jam and custard fillings and a range of other Italian treats.
“I haven’t been excited like this about the business since I opened Pizza Metro. You know, the excitement in the beginning, the new product. People didn’t understand the square pizza. But then you know, there was a breakthrough,” he said.
For now, Pizza Metro will just serve pastries, espresso drinks and coffee.
But Schiavoni said his popular pizzas will return, likely by the end of November. He’s ordered a new pizza oven from Rome so he can bake pastries and pizza at the same time, and he is waiting for it to be delivered.
“Pizza is coming back,” Schiavoni said. “We just first want to make sure that the people get used to” the pastries.
Pizza Metro’s pivot to pastries comes just a few months after restaurateur Ciro Longobardo opened his Dolci Amori bakery in Wicker Park, which offers similar baked good and sweets.
Pizza Metro will be open 8 a.m.-noon daily for pastries for the time being, but Schiavoni hopes to stay open until 3 p.m. eventually.
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