The name Pizza Bar (3011 Butterfield Rd., Oak Brook) has the straightforward look of those lost-in-time roadside restaurants offering “GOOD FOOD” or plainly saying “EAT HERE.” But Pizza Bar’s modest name belies the cachet of the resumés of the principals: Rich Labriola, whose name remains on the respected baking company he sold in 2013, and Chris Macchia, the former chef at the starry Italian restaurants Coco Pazzo and the Florentine.
While it may obscure the pedigree, the name of Pizza Bar does advertise its product. Labriola says they will serve three kinds of pizza. First, a ciabatta-crust pizza will resemble the familiar Neapolitan style, but with higher edges. These will bake in a coal-fired oven. “[Coal provides] a drier bake, which gives you a crisper crust,” Labriola says. “There’s not a lot of fire with coal. It’s more intense heat. Wood-burning is great but sometimes it can scorch things.” Second, Chicago-style thin crust, sometimes called South Side or tavern style, will bake in a deck oven. Third, their version of deep dish, which they’re calling Chicago pan pizza, will also bake (for much longer) in a deck oven.
Piattini—small plates—will support the pizzas on Pizza Bar’s menu. Dishes categorize as cheeses, salumi, homemade pastas, seafood, vegetables, and a few entrée-size plates. “A bunch of stuff people can have while waiting for pizza,” Macchia says.
They hope to open the Oak Brook Pizza Bar in July, with a second location at 151 North Michigan Avenue to follow next year. By then, if Labriola and Macchia have the success they hope for, Pizza Bar in people’s minds will just be short for Coal-Fired Ciabatta-Crust, Chicago-Style Thin Crust, and Chicago Pan Pizza Bar.