The towers of Campus North Residential Commons will have a new Neapolitan pizzeria from longtime Chicago pie maker Nella Grassano.
Work on Grassano’s latest pizza joint, called simply “Nella,” began last quarter and will continue through the rest of the academic year. Nella will join Insomnia Cookies and the coffee shop Dollop on the first floor of North’s A and C buildings. Nella will be part of the A building, facing the hustle and bustle of East 55th Street.
Nella’s exterior advertises “authentic Neapolitan fare” including wood-fired pizza, antipasti, insalate, pasta and pizza napoletana, and risotto. An opening day has not been set; the restaurant’s exterior only advertises a vague “summer 2017” to begin service.
Grassano’s new establishment is her fourth in the Windy City, succeeding Spacca Napoli, Pizzeria da Nella Cucina Napoletana, and the now-closed Nella Pizzeria Napoletana. It is her first restaurant on the South Side, and only time will tell if it remains active or goes the way of her first two abandoned ventures, which closed soon after opening.
One Chicago Reader critic gushed over Grassano’s pizza in a review of her third establishment, describing it as “raised, lightly blackened crusts bordering underskirts stippled by constellations of tiny, crispy blisters.” The critic added that “these [crusts] were worthy, foldable delivery vehicles for high-quality toppings like the marinated tuna, olives, and sweet onion of the tonno e cipolla.”
Pizzeria da Nella Cucina Napoletana serves alcohol, but it is not yet clear whether Grassano’s Campus North location will. At the time of publication, the establishment had not applied for a liquor license, according to the City of Chicago Data Portal.
Grassano could not be reached by phone or e-mail to comment on the new pizzeria.
Correction on Jan. 11, 2017, 1:23 p.m. CST:
This article misstated that Spacca Napoli and Nella Pizzeria Napoletana are closed. Nella Pizzeria Napoletana is closed; Spacca Napoli remains open.