photo: courtesy connie’s pizza
In the minds of many Chicagoans, especially the sports-minded variety, Connie’s Pizza means stadium concessions stand snacks. (And, maybe, that now-retired yet sublimely ridiculous version of the Connie’s Pizza Race—in which three anthropomorphic racing pizzas suddenly develop the ability to fly.)
In addition to the sports venues, Connie’s sells pizza to hospitals, hotels, theatres, the University of Chicago, and patrons at its restaurants, including at Navy Pier and McCormick Place, on Archer Avenue near Chinatown. In mid-July, seemingly incongruously, at the newest Connie’s Pizza (1030 N. State St., no phone yet), it will enter the Viagra Triangle.
“We were looking for a spot on the North Side so we could expand our delivery,” says Michael Stolfe, the president and son of Connie’s founder, Jim Stolfe. “We were trying to do a call center, almost, from Archer.”
Unlike the other Connie’ses, the space came with a wood-burning oven and a bar. Michael Stolfe says he experimented with Connie’s dough in the wood oven at Spacca Napoli to figure out how to adapt. “Ours is going to be a little stiffer than a traditional Neapolitan pizza,” he says. “We’re not trying to be a Neapolitan pizza. The only way to make true Neapolitan pizza is to be in Naples. Breathe the air, use the water from Mount Vesuvius.”
Old-timers can measure their old-timeyness by how many of these previous occupants of the Newberry Plaza space they recognize: Trader Vic’s, Grotto, Palette, and Arnie’s.
Some of those predate even the flying pizza races.