Anticipation heats up for arrival of Bricks Wood Fired Pizza in Wheaton
|The Very Veggie pizza at Bricks Wood Fired Pizza is prepared with balsamic roma tomatoes, red and yellow peppers, red onions, baby spinach and mushrooms, as well as mozzarella, provolone and goat cheese. Bricks’ new Wheaton location is set to open near the end of the month. (Staff photo by Matthew Piechalak)|
It was 15 years ago on a California family vacation that Bill Wilson first tasted pizza from a wood-fired oven, and he was hooked.
“I’ll never forget it,” he recalls. “I was so captivated by it. I kept thinking … this is so good. I’m blessed that my son is a restaurant architect. (I told him,) ‘Son, we’ve got to come up with a concept … centered around a brick oven.’”
It’s been nearly eight years since Wilson — with the help of his wife Donna — started producing Italian pies at Bricks Wood Fired Pizza in Lombard. His recipe for success is heating up with a new Wheaton restaurant set to open near the end of the month. He says brother and sister Sam and Patricia Vlahos of Wheaton came on board as owner-operator partners, and are making the expansion possible.
Wilson describes the oven as surprisingly versatile and is used to prep ingredients from garlic to sausage. It’s also key to hearth-baked sandwiches served on Labriola artisan breads, whose Lombard sales number 600 to 800 a week. In Wheaton, an oven with copper exterior will be the artistic focal point. Fueled by oak, it reaches between 700 and 800 degrees.
“Your pies take one and a half to two minutes to bake; you’ve got to know what you’re doing,” says the Elmhurst restaurateur, noting Italians have been making pizza in brick ovens for 2,500 years.
The menu centerpiece is thin-crust, Neapolitan-style pizza, complemented by made-to-order salads and gourmet soups.
“You taste everything on our pie, from the vegetables to the cheese to the sauce, and delicious crust the brick oven provides — thin, but crispy and chewy,” he says.
Expanding to Naperville by early next year, Wilson says his approach takes fast-casual up a notch. Customers order and pay at the counter, which saves on tipping, but are treated to full-service restaurant amenities such as china place settings and being served by the staff.
The new restaurant will also serve gelato and desserts featuring mason jar cakes.
“You’re going to eat chocolate or carrot or red velvet (cake that) cooks inside the jar,” he says of the house-baked treats.
An array of local craft beers will be on tap, and Wilson is working with a local winery to create the house red and white.
“That goes along with the artisan way that we do things: baking our pies in the brick oven, making dough from scratch every day, artisan-baked bread,” he says.
Regulars at the Lombard location, such as Wheaton residents Terry and John Barbato, say they look forward to the restaurant’s expansion.
“We’re very excited to have it so close by,” she says. “The pizza is out of this world — all fresh ingredients, delicious. We’ve been happy with everything we’ve had … sandwiches, salads. And the price point is great. You get this really awesome meal for very little money.”
WHAT TO TRY
ITEM Very Veggie pizza: Balsamic Roma tomatoes, red and yellow peppers, red onions, spinach, mushrooms, mozzarella, provolone, goat cheese
ITEM Fresh tomato bruschetta
ITEM Italian grinder: Boar’s Head Black Forest ham, Genoa salami, pepperoni, capicola, provolone, pepperoncini, lettuce, red onions, tomatoes, deli dressing
Bricks Wood Fired Pizza
ADDRESS 103 Front St., Wheaton
CONTACT (630) 580-9337, www.brickswoodfiredpizza.com