Piece – Chicago

For the past month or so my girlfriend has been trying to plan a little get together for all of our friends at this pizza place in Chicago’s Wicker Park called Piece. We have been there before for a birthday party/Bears game last fall and thought everyone would like the atmosphere as well as the pizza. Our original plan was to all go at the end of March on a Friday night after work, but apparently the place is very popular and even calling 3 days in advance isn’t enough to get you a reservation. We didn’t want to risk going down there and having to wait for over an hour for a table, the place can get pretty crowded, so we decided to postpone and figure out another date that worked for everyone.

2 weeks ago we called and tried to make a reservation for this past Friday, but we were informed that the latest a reservation can be is 6:30PM and the minimum amount of people is 10… we had 9. They did tell us that they will seat the party as long as you have 75% of the people there by the time of the reservation, so we told them we had 10 and made the reservation… or at least tried. They told us that they would put in our “request” for a reservation and someone would call us back the next day to actually confirm that we were able to make a reservation. Odd, but ok.

The next day someone did call and confirmed that we had 10 people and that was that. I understand that some restaurants don’t take reservations and/or have a policy when it comes to reservations, it’s obviously there restaurant and they can do whatever they want, but they just seemed kind of smug on the phone about it all. Now I don’t blame this on Piece at all because from the way things played out, I think they use a 3rd party reservation company, hence the reason why someone had to call us back the next day. Either that or a manager is the one that approves the reservations and had to check the schedule to see if there were any events that night, but either way the people on the phone just made it sound like they were too popular and didn’t feel like they wanted our business if we wanted to make a reservation (if that makes sense). Maybe I’m just not used to how popular restaurants in the city work, which could very well be the case, but it just seemed kind of rude to me, but whatever.

The only other issue, which actually turned out to be a non-issue anyways, was that the reservation was at 6:30pm on a Friday and only 1 of us actually works in the city, so we were thinking it was going to be hard to make it down there in time. But everything worked out perfectly and ironically my girlfriend and I were the last ones to arrive due to some parking issues.

More about the actual restaurant/food after the jump.

Now I had anticipated the place being pretty crowded since it was a Friday night and all, but I did not expect wall to wall people. The table we were sat at was right in the middle, next to the bar and I could barely move my arms at times due to the people standing around the bar. Surprisingly it didn’t bother me too much as most of them were pretty nice, although our table did end becoming the “beer holding table” when people went out to smoke or went to the bathroom. I think at one point we had 4-5 beers from other people sitting on the edge of our table… I also totally forgot that all 4 Chicago sports teams were playing that night and they were all away which lead to the bar being packed with people watching the games (plus it as 630 on a friday…).

And that’s another thing that kind of annoyed me. When we got there the Cubs and White Sox were playing so all of the TV’s had those games on. Eventually at about 7 or 730, the Bulls started playing and I think by this time the Cubs game was over so half the TV’s were now White Sox and half were Bulls, but when the Blackhawks game started at 8, there was only 1 TV playing the game and at this point the Sox game was over, but they continued playing the news and Sports Center on all the TVs that weren’t showing the Bulls game… I just don’t understand how the best team in Chicago is only given 1 TV (2 by the end of the night). Now I now what you’re thinking, “This asshole hated this place and just wants to bitch about it”, but actually those 2 issues, which weren’t even huge issues, were the only problems I had with the place.

The pizza is outstanding and that’s what we came for. I have hit or miss nights with random beers and Friday was a miss so they weren’t going down very well, but that’s not to say that they don’t have some good beers (my girlfriend sure seemed to enjoy them). So despite the weird reservation making process, the crowd (only until the games/happy hour ended then it cleared out), and the lack of Blackhawks on TV, the atmosphere and the food were perfect. It’s hard to get all of our friends together these days since a lot of us are off doing our own thing and live in different places and Piece catered to everyone’s needs and we had a great time. And as far as prices go, I was actually pretty surprised by how little we paid. I don’t know what I was expecting, but it was only around $25 a person for all the pizza and beer that we drank from 6:30 until midnight.

So if you’re looking for a good pizza place in Chicago with some good beers and a cool atmosphere, check out Piece on North Ave. in Wicker Park. Just be warned that happy hour can get a little crowded so if you don’t have 10 people and a reservation you’ll probably be waiting at least an hour or 2 for a table. And for those of you on the Social Network “FourSquare”, if you check in enough times to become the mayor the 2nd beer is free.