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Bacino's Bringing Picnic-Ready Pizza, Charcuterie to Diversey Harbor

By Erica Demarest | August 29, 2014 7:55am

LAKEVIEW — Italian restaurant Bacino's is opening its third Chicago location Friday — but don't expect any deep-dish pizza.

The Lakeview locale, which sits at the northern end of Diversey Harbor, will focus on fresh picnic fare like antipasti, thin-crust pizza and mix-and-match charcuterie plates.

"I think the idea was to get away from that deep-dish pizza [we're famous for] and show what more we can do," culinary director Allison Doerr said.

"When you're here in the park, it's more like a picnic," she continued. "When you're on a boat, its not really like you want a fork and knife to cut a deep-dish pizza. It's more pick-up-and-go."

Bacino's at 248 W. Diversey Parkway is replacing The Grill in the Park, a sandwich-and-burger spot that closed more than a year ago.

The Bacino's crew added a back patio and wine bar, and spruced up the exterior with wood panels and green paint.

The restaurant will seat about 50 people, and all food is available to go so guests can easily picnic in the park or bring snacks on a boat, Doerr said.

Bacino's will highlight its thin-crust pizzas, which take roughly three minutes to cook. Toppings include prosciutto arugula, sausage and mushroom, or four-cheese.

Fresh salads (caprese, chopped) and antipasti will be made fresh daily. And guests can assemble their own cheese and charcuterie plates, served with garlic toast, crackers and marinated olives.

The Lakeview location will partner with Two Brothers brewery through the end of the season, so guests can sample drinks like draft beer, iced tea, iced coffee and apple cider.

"We want to showcase other local companies," Doerr said, "and show that [Two Brothers] is more than just beer as well."

Bacino's also plans to use the Diversey Harbor spot as a testing ground for its new line of take-home bread and scone mixes. Guests will be able to whip up lemon-lavender or cinnamon scones, or try their hand at old-world Italian bread.

"All you have to do is add water and let it rise overnight," Doerr said. "The next day, you put it in a pan and put it in the oven. ... It's easy. There's no kneading, no leveling, no extra ingredients. Nothing but water."

If all goes well, Bacino's will roll out the mixes at its Lincoln Park and Downtown locations. The plan is to eventually add pizza dough and sell at retail shops in the city.

Bacino's at Diversey Harbor will be open 9 a.m.-9 p.m. daily through November. It'll reopen next season in March or April, depending on the weather.

Menu prices range from $2.50 to $22, with most food items falling in the $5-$13 range.

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