In July 2001, Bill Jacobs opened Piece Brewery & Pizzeria in Wicker Park, the legendary Northside neighborhood known as one of the best local music scenes in the country. Within months of sliding the first pizzas from gas-fired ovens, MTV’s Real World Chicago settled into a loft apartment directly across the street. When cast members Cara and Tonya got gigs as servers, this upstart pizzeria was thrust into a starring role in the pantheon of music television, and folks from around the world began arriving at this hip, happening pizzeria in search of Piece. Indeed, since its inception, Piece has held a rockstar status. Rick Nielsen, lead guitarist for Cheap Trick, is one of the founding partners. Whenever Dave Grohl and his Foo Fighter bandmates are in town, Piece is known to be one of their favorite tour stops. And producer Steve Albini and Nirvana’s Krist Novoselic have been seen pulling up barstools and ordering from the breweries menu of handcrafted beers made in-house by brewmaster Jonathan Cutler, winner of the prestigious World Beer Cup Champion Small Brewpub in 2006.
Piece, love and harmony are themes you can taste in this skylit loft establishment that unites New Haven - style pizza, award-winning microbrews and live-band karaoke nights. Seated with good friends in the sunken lounge area, beneath high-timbered ceilings, you’ll eat like a Rolling Stones’ roadie. Owner Billy Jacobs, the hardest working man in the pizza business, mastered the art of rocking customer palates back when he and his brother ran Jacobs Bros. Bagels. After cashing in the cream cheese schmear, Billy had the idea to bring the misshapen pies, favorites from his New Haven, Connecticut youth, to the epicenter of the pizza universe. Friends weren’t so sure the city’s pizza connoisseurs would diverge from their deep-dish traditions, but it didn’t take long for mozzarella groupies to start following the chewy-crunchy New Haven styled thin crust, tattooed with tantalizing blackened marks and cradling the perfect ratio of parmesan cheese to “magic” sweet-salty tomato sauce with minced garlic. Piece is ranked as one of the most popular indie pizzerias in the nation, featuring alternative toppings that redefine the contemporary pizza scene, from goat chili, pickled green peppers and clams to the notorious O.M.G. mashed potatoes. Another Chicago foodie legend, Doug Sohn, created an original Hot Doug’s Atomic Pizza, performing nightly on the menu main stage. This three-chili pepper pork sausage with pepper jack cheese and caramelized onions pairs nicely with a growler of the house Golden Arm German-style Kölsch Beer.
Piece Brewery & Pizzeria is located at 1927 W. North Avenue — 1927 being the year Ferdinand Buisson and Ludwig Quidde won the Nobel Peace Prize for their lifelong efforts to champion the cause of human brotherhood. For a pizzeria known for giving back to local charities and bringing people from both sides of the pizza aisle together, this correlation between peace and Piece is no strange coincidence.
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