WICKER PARK — There might not be such a thing as a free lunch, but passersby on Damen Avenue just north of the Milwaukee, Damen and North Avenues intersection in Wicker Park were treated to free pizza samples over weekend.
A Wrigleyville pizzeria that's garnered a cult following for its unique toppings and lactose-free vegan "teese" cheese, Dimo's Pizza Six Corners opened quietly last week with a sidewalk pizza cart parked sporadically in front of its storefront at 1615 N. Damen Ave.
Worker Lindsay Hulne was dishing out free samples of tortellini, barbecue bacon chicken, pepperoni and chicken penne alfredo pizza in front of the new pizzeria last week.
Scott Arciniegas, a Bucktown resident, stopped his bicycle to try two kinds of pizza from the cart.
Arciniegas said he liked penne chicken alfredo over the barbecue bacon and chicken because he's "never seen it before on a pizza."
Arciniegas described the pizza as "delicious" and said he plans to come back to Dimo's.
Dimo's is scheduled to host a grand opening celebration Wednesday in Wicker Park as well as a 5-year anniversary party at its original Wrigleyville-Lakeview location at 3463 N. Clark St., which opened in 2008 as Ian's Pizza and changed its name to Dimo's in February 2012.
Beginning at 11 a.m. Wednesday, slices of pizza including vegan, veggie and meat options will cost $1 through midnight (limit 2 per person), while the same deal will be available in Wrigleyville, which opens its Dimo's at 4 p.m. daily.
Normally Dimo's pizza slices are divided into two categories: Simpleton (cheese and pepperoni) for $2.75 and Specialty for $3.75.
Owner Dimitri Syrkin-Nikolau said the secret to Dimo's success is "using a crispy but slightly chewy crust as a delivery vehicle" for any food you can possibly imagine.
Dimo's most popular toppings are a macaroni and cheese and chicken and waffles.
The pizzeria's new location can accommodate around 80 patrons and at 3,000 square-feet is three times the size of Dimo's Wrigleyville location.
Syrkin-Nikolau said the Wicker Park restaurant will serve as the company's official headquarters, too.
In addition to more than 40 varieties of pizza, salads and vegan desserts, Dimo's plans to offer wine and eight craft beers on draft from Revolution Brewing, Greenbush Brewing Company and Daisy Cutter, among others.
The pizzeria's location near a popular six corners intersection inspired Syrkin-Nikolau to incorporate the intersection's informal name into the business name, even though folks in Portage Park have laid claim to the name "Six Corners" for decades, in reference to the Milwaukee, Cicero and Irving Park intersection.
As Wicker Park's main intersection continues to grow, Syrkin-Nikolau predicted that the name "Six Corners" as it applies to Wicker Park will gain traction.
"I suppose there's an ebb and flow and names come and go," Syrkin-Nikolau said. "The prevailing wind is blowing toward [Milwaukee, Damen, North] being known as the Six Corners. I feel like there is a significant amount of economic development going on in that area, and that's where life is taking shape and forming."
Syrkin-Nikolau is also leading the charge to bring a 'People Spot' to Wicker Park.
The public outdoor seating area would take the place of two parking spots in front of the pizzeria, which is flanked by an AT&T store and a sushi restaurant.
To test the waters on whether or not people will support a people spot, Syrkin-Nikolau is planning to launch a Seed Chicago Kickstarter campaign, which will go live Tuesday, when the city-sponsored program is unveiling a second round of campaigns to highlight projects that spur economic growth and community revitalization.
Dimo's Pizza Six Corners is open from 11 a.m. to midnight seven days a week at 1615 N. Damen Ave. Phone: 773-525-4580. To stay updated, visit Dimo's Pizza's Facebook Page.