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A Look At Zoom Pizza Factory In Lincoln Park, Chicago
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A Look At Zoom Pizza Factory In Lincoln Park, Chicago

Picture of Benita Gingerella
Updated: 30 November 2016
A new pizzeria has made its way into the Lincoln Park neighborhood in Chicago. Created by Chicagoan J.R. Werner and local chef Paul Guerrero, Zoom Pizza Factory is a new take on the conventional pizzeria.
A Pizzarista making a pizza | © Benita Gingerella
A Pizzarista making a pizza | © Benita Gingerella

Newly opened Zoom Pizza Factory joins the ranks of many other pizzerias located in Lincoln Park; however, there is nothing commonplace about it. Most apparent from just stepping inside is that there is no menu.

‘Most of these other places have a wall of pre-configured things and then you stand there staring glossy eyed,’ said owner J.R. Werner. ‘We’re just making pizzas.’

Zoom Pizza Factory is the creation of Werner and Chef Paul Guerrero. Together, they hope to change the idea of a conventional pizzeria. In place of a menu are the Pizzeristas who are there to give nutritional and taste profile guidance as customers build their own pizza from scratch starting with an ancient grain, gluten-free, or traditional crust.

‘We’re not just passing you down the line. They’ll make suggestions to you. You can have a conversation with them,’ said Werner.

The pizza oven at Zoom Pizza Factory | © Benita Gingerella
The pizza oven at Zoom Pizza Factory | © Benita Gingerella

Werner hopes that the Pizzeristas will allow customers to branch out and try new pizza creations or, as he puts it, ‘explore your culinary courage.’

Pizza toppings range from the traditional, such as tomatoes and mozzarella, to the uncommon, such as figs and butternut squash. All the toppings have a label that clearly states their origin.

‘We try to be as transparent as possible. We labeled everything as organic, non-GMO, traceable back to the farm, or gluten-free,’ said Werner.

Zoom Pizza Factory also imports several of their toppings directly from Italy, including San Marzano tomatoes.

‘Most of the Italian items we get are imported directly from Italy, and they’re all non-GMO over there, which is good because, even here sometimes, the farms that are non-GMO get cross contaminated with the farm next door,’ said Werner.

The pizzeria’s conveyor belt oven uses a traditional pizza stone and is able to cook a pizza in four minutes flat. For those truly in a rush, Werner has designed a mobile app where customers can order ahead, jump the line, and pick up their pizza to go. Beginning next month, Werner also hopes to start local deliveries.

Pizzas at Zoom Pizza Factory | © Benita Gingerella
Pizzas at Zoom Pizza Factory | © Benita Gingerella

After ordering their pizza, customers can make their way over to the water bar, complete with an assortment of fruits with which customers can infuse their water. The pizzeria also has a philanthropy component. Every month, a certain ingredient will be tied to a charity organization. When a customer uses that ingredient in their pizza, Zoom Pizza Factory will donate money to that specific charity.

While Werner and Guerrero are looking to expand throughout Chicago and beyond, they are only willing to grow as fast as their suppliers can afford. For them, the simple and fresh ingredients are the most important part.

‘When you want to eat pizza, you want to feel good,’ said Werner. ‘It’s just all about giving you the freshest pizza possible.’

Zoom Pizza Factory will be open Monday through Thursday from 10:30 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Friday and Saturday from 10:30 a.m. to 12 a.m.; and Sunday 10:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. The pizzeria will celebrate their grand opening all throughout the week with special discounts, culminating in their Power to the Pizza Party, this Friday, November 14th.

Zoom Pizza Factory, 2156 N Claybourn Ave, Chicago, IL, USA, +1 773 857 3979