Arts & Entertainment

Students ‘Knead’ to Try New Wicker Park Pizza Place

Students who want to try something different from local pizza places, such as Blaze or Felices, should head to Wicker Park. Knead Pizza Company (2101 W. North Ave.) offers fresh homemade pizzas for a moderate price.

Knead is a small kitchen with a welcoming atmosphere located at the corner of North and Hoyne avenues, a short walk from the Damen CTA Blue Line stop. The industrial, chic interior design makes the small area feel open, and soft lights brighten the space without feeling imposing. The hip setting is family-friendly and is perfect for customers of all ages.

Owner Mike Waicekauskas said he worked in the food industry before creating Knead and worked with his father in a pizza shop as a kid. Knead had a soft opening April 3, and Waicekauskas said he plans to hold its grand opening in a couple weeks.

The menu includes nine pizza options, including the favorites margherita, pepperoni and sausage. Most of the pizzas are original recipes by Waicekauskas. These recipes have quirky names, including “The Eluded Vegetable,” “Alice in Wonderland” and “Delectable Maui.”

One of the standout options is “Watch the Cows Kiss.” It’s a three cheese pizza topped with shallots, sun dried tomatoes and mushrooms. Waicekauskas said he uses the phrase to help people pronounce his last name.

Knead pizzas are perfectly sized for two guests to share, making the $13 and higher priced items reasonable. The crust is doughy, and the blend of ingredients creates a multi-textured palette unique from typical pizza restaurants. At some establishments, the center of the pizza is wet but not greasy, and the ingredients fall off the small slices if customers aren’t careful. However, all the ingredients were prepared well, and the flavors popped at Knead.

Pizza isn’t the only option available for customers. The menu offers salads, pasta, appetizers and desserts. Wine and craft beer are available for customers 21 and older.

Waicekauskas said he’s still developing the business but he’s received positive feedback from customers.

“For the most part, it’s been pretty good, it’s been pretty busy,” he said. “I haven’t even marketed the place yet.”

Knead is a fresh new option for students. The restaurant plans to expand its food options and hours of operation, according to Waicekauskas. Waicekauskas said he also wants to offer delivery services.

Knead Pizza Company is open Wednesday-Sunday. Hours on Wednesdays and Thursdays are 5-10 p.m., Fridays and Saturdays 5-11 p.m. and Sundays 5-9 p.m.

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