By ALLISON MATYUS
An entrepreneur from Kenwood will be the first to introduce the Persona Pizzeria franchise to the Midwest region when a Loop location opens in mid-July.
Greg Dunn said he had been looking to own a franchise when he found the new, fast casual pizza restaurant that serves both specialty pizzas and build-your-own options in a wood fire stove. As for bringing the franchise to Chicago, well, that decision was easy.
“Who in Chicago doesn’t love pizza?” Dunn said.
Dunn’s Persona Pizzeria will be located at 170 W. Washington St. It will be the first Persona Pizzeria in the Midwest and one of only five franchises in the country that include locations in South Carolina, California and Texas.
Customers can choose their sauce base like classic marinara or pesto style; then meats like prosciutto or buffalo chicken; veggies including arugula and sun dried tomatoes and cheeses such as burrata, bleu or mozzarella and pile them all on top of Neapolitan dough. Dunn said it takes about 90 seconds to cook, but that the pizza is already award winning.
Dunn said that Persona Pizzeria chef, Glenn Cybulski, was trained in Naples and spent years in Italy perfecting the perfect pizza. Cybulski won the best pizza in North America in 2007 at the World Pizza Competition in Napoli, Italy, for his chipotle chicken pizza, which is served as one of the five specialty pizzas at Persona.
Dunn is excited to serve up Cybulski’s creations, and thinks Chicago’s pizza culture will appreciate it as well.
“It’s a concept that has a lot of appeal with millennials because of the ability to build your own, and the fact that it’s quick and convenient,” he said.
He has an agreement for three stores to open in Chicago, and a future Hyde Park location is already on his mind.
“I could see the concept being embraced here, especially around the University of Chicago,” Dunn said. “Hyde Park is on my list of where to open.”