Chicago-based vegan pizza shop The Chicago House of ‘Za will close its doors permanently on June 20. Husband-and-wife team Danny and Jammie Gulino opened the House of ‘Za, Chicago’s first vegan pizzeria, in 2017 as a small takeout venue in the Lakeview neighborhood. In 2019, the pizzeria expanded into a large 3,000-square-foot dine-in operation in the North Center area specializing in Chicago-style deep dish pizzas (topped with seitan and cashew-based cheese), calzones, and pasta. During the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the Gulinos transitioned back to a takeout operation but running a business of that size in Chicago with limited capacity proved too costly.
“We would love to have the opportunity to make pizza on a smaller scale in the future. But, [we] are unsure of how that will look, and if, when and where that would happen,” the couple posted to Instagram. “It is incredibly hard to put the words out there that we truly feel. It’s been our dream since we were small to be restaurant owners. The thought of not being in a kitchen is terrifying.”
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Hello friends near and far! Friends we’ve had the pleasure meeting and friends we’ve unfortunately never met. Through tears and heartbreak I am incredibly devastated to announce that we will be closing on June 20, 2020. We want to thank you all for all of your support these last few years. We grew from a small carryout with a small menu, no public restroom, and no tables, to a large dine in establishment with a full wait staff, bar, and large menu consisting of pizzas, pastas, and so much in between. We knew going in we were biting off more than we could chew, but we were eager to provide a memorable experience to our guest and spread the vegan message through our food. With the current pandemic, as well as the enormous cost of operating a business in Chicago we are unable to stay open for business any longer. We would love to have the opportunity to make pizza on a smaller scale in the future. But, are unsure of how that will look, and if, when and where that would happen. It is incredibly hard to put the words out there that we truly feel. Its been our dream since we were small to be restaurant owners. The thought of not being in a kitchen is terrifying. We’ve met so many incredible people who share our same views and beliefs during this process and just thinking about those conversations makes me weep. We are humbled that you have allowed us to help you celebrate graduations, weddings, birthdays, anniversaries, date nights, first dates, break ups, make ups, and everything in between. We’ve raised our family here. Made so many memories, both good and bad. Our birthdays anniversaries, and holidays were spent here, together. Our children have grown so much in this kitchen. Our oldest son, who spent every weekend working here, just received his high school diploma. Our twins learned how to walk in the carryout kitchen. Our mothers, siblings, and cousins have all helped to build this place in one way or another. And our staff, has become family. The next few weeks will be both tearful, and terrifying. Please drop in and grab some pizza and let us formally say goodbye for now. We have a variety of slices all day, and beer and wine To-go.
Until June 20, House of ‘Za is offering takeout options such as full pizzas and slices, along with beer and wine. “The next few weeks will be both tearful, and terrifying,” the couple said. “Please drop in and grab some pizza and let us formally say goodbye for now.”
House of ‘Za is located at 1939 W Byron St., Chicago, IL.