LINCOLN PARK — After working eight months of 16-hour days, two friends from Oregon have finally opened Homeslice, their self-constructed, log cabin-style pizza restaurant.
"Literally, the only day we took off was New Year's Day," co-owner Clay Hamilton said.
The restaurant at 938 W. Webster Ave. has been buzzing this week during a soft opening as curious neighbors who have been watching trucks unload 100-year-old lumber from Oregon have gotten a chance to bite into the medium-crust pizzas.
Homeslice's menu consists of artisan pizzas such as the Special K, a spinach ricotta sauce topped with Italian sausage, sun-dried tomatoes, red onion, mozzarella, provolone and parmesan; locally named salads like the L.P. Trixie and Sheffield; and calzones.
"I think the pie itself is being really well received. It's got substance, but it's not heavy," Hamilton said.
He and co-owner Josh Iachelli wanted to hit the middle mark for crust — not too thick and not too thin.
"You have your deep dish and you have a couple of pieces and you might have to take a nap after," Hamilton said. "Then you have your cracker-thin thin crusts."
While Homeslice is equipped with two 80-inch TVs hidden behind a metallic screen, the owners don't plan on the restaurant being a sports bar.
The restaurant, which will open at 5 p.m. during the week and 11 a.m. on the weekends (or on big days such as NCAA tournament time), also has bar seating section with craft brews on tap.
"Everyone's been really happy to have something in this place," Iachelli said. "People are happy to have a place that's not another sports bar."
The entire restaurant is constructed from Douglas firs that were brought in whole from Oregon and cut into communal tables, walls and countertops on site over the past eight months.
Some of the trees were upward of 100 years old, Iachelli said.
Not only did the owners cut and stain the wood themselves, they outfitted the bathrooms with more than $2,000 in pennies.
In total, the men glued down 209,000 pennies to cover the floor and walls of the glistening copper bathrooms.
"We would have penny parties and have 15 friends over," Hamilton said. "It's a month's worth of work."