A new Italian restaurant called Mozzarella Store is set to open in May at 822 N. Michigan Ave. on Loyola’s Water Tower Campus (WTC) right next to the Loyola University Museum of Art.
Located in the first floor of Lewis Towers, Mozzarella Store will be in the space which was formerly the Hershey Store and then a temporary retail store which sold Loyola merchandise during the NCAA March Madness basketball tournament last year, The Phoenix previously reported.
Managing director of Mozzarella Store, Antonio Somma, is originally from Castellammare, Italy. He’s an Italian speaker and communicated with The Phoenix via email with a translator.
Mozzarella Store will incorporate its organic Italian-style “Fior di Latte” mozzarella in many of its menu items, according to Somma. Menu items will include pizzas, Italian small plates and salads, Somma said.
Mozzarella and burrata will be made daily from local, organic milk, according to Somma. Other cheeses sold in the restaurant, including provolone, ricotta and caciocavallo, will be produced at Golfo di Napoli Dairy, a cheese factory opening in April in Warren, Indiana, Somma said.
According to Somma, the Italian company Golfo di Napoli is opening Mozzarella Store and Golfo di Napoli Dairy. Mozzarella Store was created as a way for the public to have better access to products made in the cheese factory.
“We first decided to build the dairy factory for distribution in restaurants, retail and grocery stores,” Somma said. “We then wanted to give guests a way to experience cheeses in the best way possible and in an accessible way.”
Mozzarella Store will have a dine-in area with indoor and outdoor seating, according to Somma. It’ll also have a second floor with a bar which will serve Italian beer, wine and prosecco, Somma said.
There will also be a “grab-n-go” counter section to order espresso drinks, salumi, cheese and paninis. Additionally, customers will also be able to buy imported Italian products such as olive oil and tomatoes to take home from the store’s retail section.
The Michigan Avenue location is the first Mozzarella Store being opened by Golfo di Napoli, Somma said. The company plans to open 20-30 more locations in Chicago and throughout the United States within the next 3-5 years.
Loyola owns the property where Mozzarella Store will be located, according to Michael Loftsgaarden, vice president of capital planning at Loyola. This means the hundred thousand of dollars Mozzarella Store pays in rent annually goes to the university, Loftsgaarden said.
Some students have expressed interest in the new Italian restaurant opening near WTC.
Julia Rotondi, a 20-year-old sophmore who lives in Baumhart Residence Hall, the upperclassmen residence hall at WTC, said it would be nice have a new restaurant near her residence hall as she often goes to Flaco’s Tacos and Wow Bao.
“I would always support an Italian restaurant,” the theology and psychology double major said. “It’s one of my favorite kind of foods and it would be nice to have another Italian place in the area.”
Elise Heinze, a 19-year-old advertising/public relations major, said she’s happy about the new restaurant and having another dining option near the WTC.
“I think it’s exciting to have something new,” the first-year said. “I think students are always looking for more variety in their meal options.”
Brayden Coble, a 19-year-old accounting major, said while a new place to eat would be nice, he hopes the new restaurant will accept Rambler Bucks, money Loyola students can add to their campus card to use at participating places on and off campus.
Loftsgaarden said he hasn’t spoken to the restaurant about accepting Rambler Bucks.
“I haven’t had that conversation yet,” he said. “Most places are for [accepting Rambler Bucks] and I try to advocate for it because it’s nice for our students. But, as of right now, I can say they will not accept them.”
Since Mozzarella Store will have a bar, it could be more difficult for the restaurant to be able to accept Rambler Bucks, according to Loftsgaarden.
There are restaurants that accept Rambler Bucks and serve alcohol. Flaco’s Tacos accepts them, but not for alcoholic beverages, according to Aidan Goeber, the general manager at the Flaco’s Tacos Granville location. They do this to prevent the risk of selling to minors.