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CHICAGO — Noah Sandoval, the Executive Chef of the two Michelin-starred restaurants Oriole, Kumiko, was a Food & Wine Best New Chef in 2017 and is a finalist for this year’s James Beard Foundation.

And he’s recently turned his culinary talents to pizza.

Sandoval created Pizza Friendly Pizza with Chicago hospitality group 16 On Center as a pop-up during 2020. It offered Sicilian-style pizza by the slice next to the Empty Bottle and turn the closed restaurant next door into a pizzeria that could employ furloughed staff. It became so popular that it became a permanent brick-and-mortar café with dine-in, pick-up and delivery in the Ukrainian Village neighborhood.

Why Sicilian style?

Sandoval spent a long time developing the crust recipe. He said it’s his ideal pizza with a five-day fermented crust. It gives it a unique flavor and weight to the pizza.

With Pizza Friendly Pizza’s popularity bursting at the seams, they wanted to continue to give back.

“When COVID hit a couple of years ago, my restaurant, Oriole had to close and White Cafe (the restaurant in this space) had to close,” he said. “We didn’t know what was going on. We didn’t know if we were going to be closed for a month, a year, two years. We had a lot of people not really knowing what they were going to do — very loyal employees — that we worried about. So why not keep them employed and keep some revenue happing and it just made a lot of sense.”

Pizza Friendly Pizza collaborations

The latest pizza collab is with the music organization Quiet Pterodactyl. This special slice is doused with bacon, spinach, ricotta, garlic and a sprinkle of parmesan and will be available at Pizza Friendly Pizza from April 20 – May 1. Quiet Pterodactyl is a local non-profit that creates experiences, education, enjoyment, and entry into arts and music. A dollar from each pizza purchased will go back to Quiet Pterodactyl to help in their mission to support the arts.

Pizza fans can watch for upcoming collaboration slice announcements on Pizza Friendly Pizza’s Instagram page, here.

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Quiet Pterodactyl with bacon, spinach, ricotta, and garlic