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Roots Handmade Pizza Not Coming To Lakeview Development After All

By Ariel Cheung | February 22, 2017 11:43am
 Roots Handmade Pizza is coming to Lincoln Square.
Roots Handmade Pizza is coming to Lincoln Square.
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Facebook/Roots Pizza

LAKEVIEW — While developers still hope to erect a mixed-use building at 2941 N. Clark St., Roots Handmade Pizza won't be a part of it.

The pizzeria will not move forward with plans for what would have been the third Roots Pizza in Chicago and its first in Lakeview, a spokeswoman confirmed Tuesday.

The project "ended up not being the right fit" for Roots, she said.

Still, the Fifty/50 Restaurant Group that owns Roots Pizza said it will be announcing plans for additional locations in coming months, although not necessarily in Lakeview.

The news brings an end to three years of anticipation for a Roots Pizza in Lakeview, which was first announced in 2014. Neighbors long complained of the large storefront's blighted appearance after Italian eatery Buca Di Beppo closed there in 2006.

Developer and Roots Pizza investor John Livaditis bought the 12,000-square-foot site for $2.2 million and pitched revised plans for a four-story apartment building with a 4,600-square-foot restaurant at ground level in September 2014.

The Buca Di Beppo building was demolished soon after, and the land has remained vacant since then.

Livaditis is still moving forward with his development plans and met with Ald. Tom Tunney (44th) recently to discuss some potential modifications, ward spokesman Chris Jessup confirmed Tuesday.

The holdup, Livaditis said Wednesday, was figuring out the building's layout and navigating some engineering challenges for a basement on the property.

Despite those site-specific challenges, Livaditis said he is looking forward to building on the block of Clark Street and said he still hopes they can find a way to include Roots Pizza in the development.

"We want to make it work, and we have engineers figuring out how to make the space make financial sense," he said. "We'd love to do it."

Developer John Livaditis still plans to build a mixed-use building at 2941 N. Clark St., but Roots Handmade Pizza will not be part of it. [Provided/44th Ward]

Fifty/50, which began with The Fifty/50 restaurant in West Town and also includes The Berkshire Room, The Sixth, will still make its mark in Lakeview with an expected restaurant by West Town Bakery in Hotel Zachary near Wrigley Field.

The West Town Bakery restaurant will join Smoke Daddy BBQ and Big Star in the hotel, along with a still-unannounced eatery from Folkart Restaurant Management.

A second Roots Pizza opened in Lincoln Square in December 2015.