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Part I: The Slice Era

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January 04th, 2023

The Slice Era
At the beginning of a new year, and on the precipice of announcing some exciting changes, we thought we’d take a moment to look back—way back.

If you didn’t know us in the early days, you might not know that we didn’t start out as Dimo’s. We opened as a branch of Ian’s Pizza (of Madison, WI fame), in Wrigleyville in 2008. We started a beautiful symbiotic relationship with the bar scene, where you got drunk and we fed you slices of mac ’n cheese pizza.

We opted to stay independent rather than join a franchise. Dimitri founded Dimo’s in 2012 so we could keep right on slinging slices at 3463 N Clark St without skipping a beat (well, okay, a few weeks’ break, some light construction, and new signs were involved). We continued to thrive in Wrigleyville, so much so that we were able to think about expanding. Wicker Park, and the busy intersection of Damen and Milwaukee Aves, was a natural fit.

When we found our new home at 1615 N Damen Ave, we had a blank slate in the form of a big, empty building. Rather than creating a carbon copy of our Wrigleyville location, we wanted to take the opportunity to lean into the most important aspects of our identity, like our Purposeful Passions. With the help of rockstar team members, we developed a strategy for designing and inhabiting the space.

To make the magic happen, we called on our longstanding contractors and friends. We spent countless hours poring over plans, talking through issues, and helping wherever we could. And we DIY’d many of the design elements we love the most, like the bikes on the ceiling, the giant photo mural—and for those who remember, the newsprint wall.

For years, we focused on honing our craft in these two locations. We created new equally delicious and ridiculous pizzas. We invented the Chicken ‘n Waffles slice. We learned and taught pizza-making. Dimitri wrote a book about pizza, and Ann Wanserski, a Dimo’s alum and longtime pizza friend, edited it. We fed people pizza. People came and went, and soon Chicago was sprinkled with Dimo’s alums, armed with the many unexpected skills they gained at the neighborhood pizza shop. We basically ate, breathed, and slept pizza—and we loved every second.

Then, something happened that we didn’t expect…but we’ll cover that in part two.

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WRIGLEYVILLE

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