Inhabiting the former Bite Cafe space, Pizza Friendly Pizza is a scrappy and hopeful collaboration between friends Noah Sandoval (Oriole, Kumiko, Kikko) and Bruce Finkelman, the managing partner of 16" on Center (Empty Bottle, Bite Cafe). Like its name suggests, the star of the menu is pizza—more specifically, thick Sicilian-style 'za available by the slice or the whole pie. There are four varieties to choose from, including pepperoni and basil with aged parmesan as well as mushroom and Calabrian chili with burrata.
Fine-dining chef Sandoval says he worked tirelessly on the winning recipe, which requires a four- to five-day cold ferment and a 12-hour rise time in the pan. He phoned in pizza expertise from around the globe to get it just right, never settling on a subpar bake. "I talked to some people who hooked me up with some other people, and it finally came down to this guy named John Arena in Las Vegas (World Pizza Champions), and he's been virtually mentoring me for about a month now," Sandoval says.
The final product is decidedly Sicilian, which sports a thick and bubbly crust that's anchored by crispy, caramelized edges. "It looks like it's going to be this Chicago deep-dish, gut-bomb thing, but it's much more like a lightly cooked English muffin," Sandoval says.