WICKER PARK — A tiny storefront that was most recently rented by a medical marijuana applicant but has sat vacant for almost two years will see new life as Jet's Pizza, according to a Chicago-based franchisee for the chain, which offers "Detroit Style" pizza.
Located at 1811 W. North Ave. in the former Cellar Rat wine shop, Jet Pizza's new storefront was briefly rented in 2014 by Professional Midwest Dispensary LLC., a trio of pharmacists who did not get a license to dispense medical marijuana.
On Monday, Scott Gregerson, owner of the Wicker Park Jet's, said the goal is to open by the end of April.
Gregerson said the new outpost will bring about 35 jobs to the area.
There will be 15 seats for patrons as well as delivery and takeout. During the week, Jet's Pizza will be open until 12 a.m. and as late as 3 a.m. on Saturday, Gregerson said.
Gregerson, a franchisee who also owns Jet's Pizza spots in Lakeview and River North, plus two that are forthcoming in the West and South Loops, said that Wicker Park was selected as its third neighborhood entry because the area is "young," and with "a good late night crowd."
Gregerson said "Detroit style" is the best way to describe Jet's Pizza.
"It's a rectangle pizza made in a seasoned pan, like if you cooked pizza in a cast iron skillet. It's not like Chicago style pizza where you have one slice and you are stuffed," he said.
The Michigan-based chain offers boneless chicken wings, salads and submarine sandwiches, along with deep dish pizza and breads, according to its menu. Jet's locations have been popping up around Chicago in recent years, to the excitement of many ex-Michiganders living in the city.
At the base of a four-story retail building that counts a Thai/Korean restaurant as its neighbor, the storefront is about two blocks east of Wicker Park's main hub at Milwaukee, Damen and North avenues.
The block is already home to Piece Brewery & Pizzeria and Santullo's, a Brooklyn style pizza restaurant that recently added Italian Beef to its menu. There is also a Lou Malnati's pizza takeout at 1520 N. Damen Ave. and Dimo's Pizza at 1615 N. Damen Ave., which opened in 2013.
Last year, Toppers, a Wisconsin-based chain, opened in a strip mall at 1658 N. Milwaukee Ave.
Billing itself as the 12th largest pizza chain in the nation on its website, the Sterling Heights, Mich.-based Jet's has four other locations in Chicago: at 2811 N. Ashland Ave. in Lakeview, 670 N. Wells St. in Old Town, 3951 N. Kimball Ave. in Irving Park and 1805 N. Harlem Ave. on the Far Northwest Side.
On Yelp.com, 153 reviews for the Jet's Pizza in Lakeview earned the pizzeria close to 4 out of 5 stars.
"This is a counter-service chain from Michigan, but it seems like 70 percent of people in Chicago are from Michigan. They're surrounding us, they're surrounding us" wrote one Yelp member.
Another Yelp user who suggested ordering an "8 corner pizza with that garlic butter stuff," posted, "I feel bad with all the great pizza options we have in Chicago that I order from Jet's, but it's good."