Calling all pizza fans with exacting crust standards: Pizzeria Bebu (1521 N. Fremont St., Lincoln Park), opening February 2, will produce a “one-of-a-kind” thin crust the likes of which have never been seen in Chicago.
At least that's the boast owner Zach Smith (Nico Osteria, RPM Italian) makes. “We’ve had great flavors and textures all over town,” he says, “but never [a pizza] that was crisp from point to point. I’ve never had a pizza like ours anywhere.”
The pizzas at Bebu will draw from the dish’s Italian roots, but don’t call them Neapolitan pies. Neapolitan, per Smith, implies a variety of qualities, including a doughy center, which Smith says he hopes to avoid. His crust employs a proprietary blend of flours that—after just a few minutes in the 650-degree inferno of Bebu’s brick-lined, gas-fired oven—result in a chewiness and crunch akin to fresh baked bread. Executive chef Jeff Lutzow (Publican, Nico Osteria) and company also plan to make in-house as many sauces and toppings as possible, and from locally sourced ingredients.
“We want to be seasonal, yet dependable,” says Smith. Translation: local, seasonal, and homemade where possible, but popular items will stick year-round. That said, it doesn’t make sense to do everything in house, and the Bebu crew will import many of their cheeses from family-owned producers in Italy.
Expect 12 house pies in all, starting at $16. Smith and Lutzow will round out the menu with some simple salads, traditional appetizers (think Burrata and meatballs, antipasti plates), and a skillet cookie made from Lutzow’s mother’s recipe. But why pizza in the first place? “In the movie Ratatouille,” says Smith, “when the food critic has a bite of ratatouille, he’s transported back to his childhood, where just one bite of his mother’s cooking could make everything right in the world again. There’s nothing as universal as pizza.”