Rich Labriola Set to Unveil Pizza Barra Concept in Illinois
Pizza Barra, located at 3011 Butterfield Road in Oak Brook, Illinois, is the newest venture from baker and restaurateur Rich Labriola, who is teaming up with one of Chicago’s most well-known names in baking and one of the city’s best Italian chefs, Chris Macchia (formerly of The Florentine and Coco Pazzo). Pizza Barra is slated to open in Oak Brook Promenade—just steps from Labriola’s first bakery café—on September 8.
“At Pizza Barra, we are bringing together the Baker and the Pizza-Maker [Chef Macchia] to provide our guests in Oak Brook a top-notch pizza experience like none other,” Labriola says. “Chef Macchia and I have worked tirelessly to test different ratios and techniques, finally landing on the perfect dough recipes for Pizza Barra’s three types of pies.”
Executive Chef and partner Macchia created a menu highlighting Italian and American flavors and local ingredients for Pizza Barra. Selections include three styles of pizzas—coal-fired artisanal, Chicago thin crust, and pan-style—alongside piattini, or Italian small plates, antipasti, housemade pasta, salads, burgers, and desserts. Pizza Barra’s coal-fired artisanal pizzas, dubbed by Macchia as “ciabatta-crust,” boast a sturdier bottom than traditional Neapolitan pies and a light, airy, almost creamy center. All pizzas will feature seasonal toppings, such as squash blossoms or figs in the summer, in addition to specially sourced cheeses from Wisconsin and organic tomatoes from California for the housemade pizza sauce.
Other standout dishes include: Arugula Salad with truffle, honey, fresh figs, and tomini cheese; Rigatoni with Tuscan-style ragu and housemade ricotta; Paccheri with little neck clams, almond butter, cinzano, bottarga, and parsley; and a selection of housemade gelati.
Pizza Barra’s beverage program features a large selection of craft beers, including 14 varieties on tap, bourbons, specialty cocktails by sister restaurant Labriola Ristorante & Café’s Beverage Manager Daniel Casteel, and wines from Italy, America and a few lesser-known regions.
The 8,500-square foot space includes a seasonal sidewalk patio that seats about 104 guests boasting a 16-seat bar and 90-inch TVs ideal for catching all the fall college football action. The interior has a modern industrial feel with leather booths, dark wood accents, and an exhibition pizza kitchen with dual coal-burning ovens for the artisanal pizzas and a deck oven for the pan and thin crust varieties.