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Part III: Building Dimo's Café

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Wrigleyville: 773-525-4580

Wicker Park: 773-525-4580

Revival Foodhall: 773-525-4580

Lincoln Square: 773-525-4580

January 23rd, 2023

So here we are. We survived the pandemic, keeping the wheel of innovation turning the whole time, even opening a new location inside Dr. Murphy’s Food Hall (although the hall is now closed). Once we were able to take our focus off survival, we noticed that we still wanted to do more.

Pizza is awesome. You can put pretty much anything you want on it, and we do. It’s fun to make, even better fun to eat, and excellent at bringing people together. It’s certainly brought us a long way from where we started—all the way from 2008, and Ian’s Pizza, to the present. Over the years, we have introduced lots of elements. Some came and went. Some are here for good. But we’ve stayed largely true to pizza. And people have come to expect pizza from us, which is fair enough, considering our name and everything.

As we looked to further explore the food universe, we wanted two things. First, we wanted to protect the by-the-slice atmosphere at our Wicker Park and Wrigleyville locations, which our team spent more than a decade crafting and maintaining, and which allowed us to share in neighborly community with our crustomers. Second, we wanted to break out of that mold and make things other than pizza...without confusing anyone. Talk about a predicament!

The most sensible way forward seemed to be inventing a whole new thing, a new type of Dimo’s experience. A rebrand, or co-brand, if you will. So we lovingly looked past the by-the-slice model and set about creating goals for future locations.

Over the course of months, during brainstorming sessions, meetings, and casual conversations, we determined the following: The new place should have a more robust menu that allows us to flex more than just our pizza-making muscles. And where in our by-the-slice locations we’re rowdy and stay open super-late nights, the atmosphere of the new place should invite you in and make you feel welcome to stay a while. In essence, we wanted to create an adaptive, food-centered community space—like a café. Dimo’s Café.

We started working with the original Dimo’s designer and our friend, Jarrod Ryhal, to nail down the Dimo’s Café visual identity. We called on our first brand manager and friend from the early days, Ann Wanserski, to help us differentiate our two concepts, By the Slice and Café. We started planning how to adapt our support teams, like our commissary, to a broader set of needs. 

Meanwhile, we started developing the good stuff—the stuff you’re here for. Our chef-slash-genius, Steve Hofstad (who has been on a big chunk of the Dimo’s rollercoaster), has developed a full menu of treats, delights, and dishes to share, including a pork tenderloin with chestnuts confit, and focaccia with chili crisp and habanero honey. One new team member is tirelessly building a full bar menu, with delicious and multivaried entries like the vodka, vermouth, and pickle juice sipper; and a Malört cocktail, of course. We taste tested, tweaked and re-tweaked, fretted, reveled, even did a few sneak peeks…until finally, we felt ready to share it with you.

And then to test drive the whole thing. If you already knew, you’ve got sharp eyes! If you didn’t, we’re telling you now, and we’re very excited: we opened the first Dimo’s Café at Revival Food Hall on January 3! 

Putting our ideas into action has been demanding, but incredibly rewarding. Not to mention, it has helped us immensely as we plan for the big one: our Lincoln Square location, which, when it opens soon, will also be a Dimo’s Café. We can’t wait to show you, and we’re just getting started.

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