WEST RIDGE — The longtime home of Gullivers on Howard Street will remain a pizzeria after the legendary restaurant’s closure last year.
Now, kosher pizza and ice cream will be served out of the restaurant, which has sat vacant since Gullivers closed and sold much of its vast collection of antiques.
Main Pizza Chalavi will move into the building at 2727 W. Howard St., a manager for the business confirmed. The hybrid kosher pizza place and dessert shop is moving from nearby 2839 W. Touhy Ave., marking the third relocation for the business.
Main Pizza’s owners bought the Gullivers building in January 2022, property records show. That’s when the “world-famous” pizza place — as its marquee decreed — closed its doors after 56 years on Howard Street.
Main Pizza’s owners paid $395,000 for the Gullivers building and its parking lot across the street, property records show.
Signs on the building have been changed over to Main Pizza’s, showing the transition to a pizza and Italian-style restaurant as well as an ice cream and dairy shop. Kosher law forbids the mixing of meat and dairy products, requiring the separation of the two businesses. “Chalavi” in the name Main Pizza Chalavi is a Hebrew word for dairy foods.
A manager for Main Pizza confirmed the move but declined to give a timeline for the location’s opening. No building permits for the Howard Street building have been issued by the city, records show.
Gullivers’ building had been on the market since 2019, as owner Chris Karageorgis sought to retire. Gullivers that same year put up for auction many of the restaurant’s collection of artifacts, some of which were up to 500 years old.
After the property was sold, Gullivers hosted a final week of business before closing for good. The announcement caused customers to flock to the beloved West Ridge institution.
Famous for its pan pizza and for being packed with antiques, Gullivers was opened in 1965 by Jerry Freeman and Burt Katz. The two soon split up, with Katz going on to open famous pizza restaurants like Pequod’s.
Freeman continued as the owner of Gullivers, which become known for its pan pizza. He developed a passion for antiques and filled the restaurant with stained-glass lamps, statues and other items.
Gullivers expanded over the years, stretching across four lots with a large patio. Freeman died in 2006, and the restaurant was sold to Karageorgis.
Sister restaurant Gullivers Pizza & Pub remains open in suburban Oak Brook.
Main Pizza opened in 2001, specializing in kosher pizza, ice cream, pasta, sandwiches and salads.
The business previously moved from 2931 W. Touhy Ave. to 2839 W. Touhy Ave., according to its Facebook page.
The move to the former Gullivers marks a significant expansion for Main Pizza, as the Gullivers spot seats 350 people and includes an outdoor cafe.
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