WRIGLEYVILLE — Destiny might just taste like pizza for one Lakeview couple. Dimo's Pizza in Wrigleyville, to be exact.
PJ Jayawardene, 32, almost didn't stop for a late-night slice at the pizza restaurant, formerly known as Ian's Pizza, in October 2011. And Stacy Masnyk, 31, usually didn't go out for shows on Thursdays but went with a friend to a performance at Goose Island.
Neither of them were regulars at Dimo's.
But as Lady Luck would have it, they crossed paths that night — and a year and a half later, Jayawardene proposed to Masnyk in the exact spot where they'd met.
"It was such fate, meeting each other," Masnyk said. "So many things could have changed that night. For that reason, every time we drive by, we're like 'Oh, there it is'."
Jayawardene and a female friend had been hanging out in Exedus II Lounge, the reggae bar down the street, the night that the couple met. His friend was hungry, and when they walked past Dimo's, which was then Ian's, Jayawardene didn't want to go in. But his friend insisted.
When Masnyk and her friend entered later, they somehow ended up sitting across from Jayawardene at the communal benches near the door. They turned away at first, but the two friends drew them in.
"You guys were just really friendly," Masnyk said.
The proposal came just as naturally as their easy relationship. ("I feel like we've been dating for 8,000 years now," Jayawardene said.) He was going to wait to propose until a trip to Masnyk's parents' place, but he knew after he bought the ring that he couldn't wait.
On March 23, the couple was cleaning out Jayawardene's closet in preparation for Masnyk to move in. Jayawardene kept saying that he wanted to eat pizza.
"I was like, 'Oh my god, OK, let's get pizza'," Masnyk said with a laugh. "I was clueless. I walked right into it."
Dimo's was empty that afternoon. When they walked in, Masnyk was excited that their old bench was open and insisted on sitting there, the couple said. They ordered pizza, sat down and started reminiscing about the fateful first night.
Brandon Price, a Dimo's employee who was working at the time, described the scene as "picturesque" — the sun was bursting through the window, turning the two into silhouettes.
"We re-enacted our first conversation," Jayawardene said. "'Ha ha here's my phone number.' Then I took the box out."
"You literally caught me so off guard," Masnyk said. "I almost couldn’t believe it."
"Then right there, she said yes. There was a yes in there for sure," Jayawardene said.
They got up, kissed, hugged and turned around to Dimo's staff clapping to their engagement. Price covertly changed the music to Frank Sinatra classics, and the staff brought over free pizza vouchers with congratulatory words.
"You're used to seeing spectacle in Wrigleyville," Price said, "but not spectacle that makes you feel good. It was definitely a moment."
The couple isn't sure what they're going to do for the wedding yet, but for food, they're not ruling out having late-night Dimo's.
"I’m sure lots of our mates will appreciate it," Jayawardene said.