Logan Square is getting a new pizza spot to replace Big and Little’s (3000 W. Fullerton Ave.), which closed June 22 after two and a half years in the neighborhood.
Pizza Lobo is the concept owned by Heisler Hospitality, the group behind the now-shuttered West Loop restaurant Bad Hunter that recently closed due to the pandemic. Heisler owns several bars and clubs in Chicago, including Estereo in Logan Square.
The company announced that Pizza Lobo will operate as a go-to restaurant open for takeout and delivery only because of coronavirus, but patrons will still be able to use the patio to eat their takeout orders.
Executive Chef Dan Snowden said the Pizza Lobo concept originally came out of his food program at Bad Hunter’s sister bar Lone Wolf (806 W Randolph St.) that operated while Bad Hunter was closed due to a kitchen fire in 2018.
He said the response to the dishes were “incredible,” so the team began seaching for a permanent home to grow the menu into a full restaurant.
“We quickly realized that we had created something special but could not keep up with the demand given the size restrictions of Lone Wolf’s kitchen,” Snowden said in a statement. “Opening an independent Pizza Lobo location that could handle more volume was clearly the next step we needed to take.”
While the menu will be larger and look a bit different than it’s Lone Wolf counterpart, Snowden said he will stick to staples like pizzas with NY-style crust and duck-fat confit wings.
Tony D’Alessandro, owner of Big and Little’s, told LoganSquarist Heisler had been eyeing the space for the past five months and eventually bought him out for the location. Heisler said it is renting the property from the landlord.
Big and Little’s, which has three other locations in the city, opened in Logan Square in December 2018. It was their largest location yet and it featured more of an upscale menu and vibe. Despite the patio not looking busy often, D’Alessandro said the reason for closing was anything fishy.
“We were not hurting, we were doing great,” D’Alessandro said.
Heisler Hospitality co-owner Matt Eisler said the group needed to reimagine business in the wake of the pandemic. Having a to-go restaurant met that transition, he said. That doesn’t mean Pizza Lobo won’t have dine-in service once the city enters Phase 5, but for now, it’s the company’s next shot.
“Having such a large shift happen at once is extremely bittersweet,” said Eisler in a statement. “It’s devastating to say goodbye to a place like Bad Hunter, especially when it’s not fully on our terms. But, it’s also the beginning of a new, really exciting chapter with Pizza Lobo.”
Pizza Lobo is under construction and plans to open late July with some on-going community-based philanthropic initiatives, according to the company. And yes, the patio will get a major update.
Featured photo: Tom Vlodek