By: Taiyana Levy (Senn Sophomore)
During these winter months, why not try giving small businesses a chance? Many of you may not know about this local pizza joint, Pizza Mania located in the Edgewater neighborhood at 5777 N Ridge Ave.
Pizza Mania is a family business, established in 1986 by three brothers who originally migrated to Chicago from Mexico in the 60s. They all got their first job at a local pizzeria on the north side of Chicago that was owned by a Jewish Italian gentleman where they learned their delicious handmade dough recipe. The pizza was always buy one get one free.
By the 80s they took a leap of faith and opened up Pizza Mania. The brothers owned Pizza Mania for 30 years. Fast forward to today, and it has been recently passed down to the next generation.
The restaurant is now owned by their nephew Rudy Rodriguez, who was only about three years old when Pizza Mania first opened.
He owns a vintage furniture shop in Iowa called Tesoro Casegoods and Oddities, but he decided, “he didn’t want to put all his eggs in one basket,” so when he’d heard his uncle was retiring he offered to take Pizza Mania off his hands in October of 2021.
Within short order Pizza Mania instantly became a local household name, especially within the Latino community. But Rudy didn’t want passersby to think, “Oh this a real Italian joint” because not only Italians eat pizza. He said he “wanted the restaurant to be like a little spot in New York. I want the place to remind people of the 80’s. Older people love the vibe because it’s from their time.” This inspired the artistic interpretation in the restaurant.
The pizza is two for one, buy one get one free. There are many other items to choose from including cheese sticks, cheese bread, wings, cheese fries, vegan pizza, gluten free pizza, and more. You can get a whole pizza or just a slice, from vegetarian to meaty, traditional toppings to pineapple.
The staff is very respectful, the customer service is excellent, and the environment is very clean. If you ever find yourself in the neighborhood please stop by and try a slice of their family’s history.