WRIGLEYVILLE — Dimo's Pizza is tackling the notoriously cringe-inducing Jeppson's Malort this week — in a chicken mole slice.
The pizzeria known for adventurous toppings had a bottle of Malort around during a staff meeting a month ago, and ideas started brewing to incorporate the infamous liqueur in a pizza, said Dimitri Syrkin-Nikolau, Dimo's owner.
After trying six different renditions, Dimo's in Wrigleyville and Wicker Park are now featuring the Jeppson's Chicken Mole slice as the special this week.
Malort is a wormwood liqueur with a bitter aftertaste that's been described as glass cleaner, horse urine, burnt carpet and gasoline. It's mostly found in Chicago dive bars, and some consider taking a shot of it a Chicago rite of passage.
"It's one of the drinks that's slightly polarizing," Syrkin-Nikolau said. "We've always enjoyed pushing the boundaries of what can and can't be done. If we can make this happen, it'd be awesome."
The featured, $3.75 slice at Dimo's includes shredded chicken thigh in a mole sauce with a splash of Malort, grilled pico de gallo and an avocado tomatillo salsa on top. The Malort pairs well with the chocolate, Syrkin-Nikolau said, and the spice of the salsa adds a nice kick.
People are already buying up the slice after hearing the word "Malort," Syrkin-Nikolau said. The Wicker Park location sold 32 slices in the four hours he worked on Monday, he said.
And Dimo's promises that diners won't get the cringing "Malort face" from the pizza. The flavor is more subtle than a shot.
"I've had a couple shots," said Wrigleyville Dimo's cook Kyle Eaton, "and if the pizza tasted exactly like Malort, it probably wouldn't sell very well."
That said, Syrkin-Nikolau genuinely loves the flavor Malort and was surprised to hear that some people drink it in a masochistic fashion.
"I don't order it often," he said. "But yeah, 100 percent, I actually like it. Someone says Malort, I'm in. How could we not put it in a pizza?"
Locations at 3463 N. Clark St. in Wrigleyville and 1615 N. Damen Ave. in Wicker Park are both serving the slice as a special this week. Dimo's will bring it back after this week if there's demand.
A 12-inch pizza is selling for $14. A 20-inch is $28.