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Vidalia To Bring Sandwiches With Side Of Pizza To Former Last Pit Stop

By Patty Wetli | January 13, 2017 9:35am
 Vidalia Restaurant
Vidalia Restaurant
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RAVENSWOOD — Can sandwiches and pizza survive where barbecue failed?

Vidalia restaurant — from the veterans behind Dante's Pizzeria and Haywood Tavern — will soon find out, aiming to open by the end of the month in the location formerly occupied by the Last Pit Stop, 1964 W. Lawrence Ave.

Early signs are encouraging, according to co-owner Rodney Staton, who said he was flooded with enthusiastic messages once news of Vidalia broke this week in Eater Chicago.

"The neighborhood seems welcoming," said Staton. "We're so excited, we're chomping at the bit."

Staton, chef and co-owner of Humboldt Park's Haywood Tavern, is a partner in the venture with Georg Simos and Alex Tsolakides, who own Dante's Pizzeria, High Dive and Crown Liquors.

Dave Gebhardt, whose resume includes L2O, Japonais and Bin36, is on board to handle day-to-day operations.

"He's the dude," Staton said. "He's an industry pro."

Originally conceived as a pizza joint, Vidalia has since switched concepts to also include sandwiches, which will play a lead role at the restaurant.

"We'll be a sandwich place that serves pizza," Staton said.

Unlike Dante's New York-style pies, Vidalia's pizza will be a take on Chicago thin crust "that travels well" for delivery, said Staton.

Large deli sandwiches will share space on the menu with paninis, and Staton promised several options for vegetarians.

Though he balked at the term "elevated sandwiches," Staton said Vidalia's offerings would be "well-thought out" in terms of ingredients and technique.

Simplicity will be a hallmark, too, he said, with prime cuts of meat as the centerpiece.

Some perfect sandwiches "don't need more than mustard and rye bread," Staton said. 

Vidalia's bread supplier is just one of the dozens of details Staton is still nailing down prior to opening, not only to source the right bread for the right sandwich, but with an eye on keeping prices reasonable.

"I want people here four times a week," he said.

Side dishes will include multiple versions of potato salad — Staton said he's particularly excited about a farro salad with roasted beets and a tzatziki-type sauce made with grated apple and sumac.

Eyeballing the foot traffic on Lawrence Avenue, as well as nearby parks and the Ravenswood Metra station, Staton said he expects to do a brisk trade in sandwiches to-go, and is already dreaming up ways to capitalize on folks taking the train north to Ravinia come summer.

Initially Vidalia will be BYOB, but a liquor license could be an option down the road. Hours will be daily, likely 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., according to Staton.

Though he and his partners have built their reputations in neighborhoods like Logan Square, Staton said he's looking forward to getting to know Ravenswood.

"I've heard nothing but good things," he said.


Pie #1

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