DNA Info: Persona Pizza Bringing Wood-Fired Oven To Loop

THE LOOP — A new chain will try to bridge the wood-fired pizza trend and the finer side of Loop fast food when it opens Wednesday.

Persona Wood-Fired Pizzeria opens its fourth location nationally at 170 W. Washington Blvd. at 11 a.m. Wednesday.

Kenwood restaurateur Greg Dunn opens the first Chicago franchise with a gas-enhanced wood-burning oven that might offend purists, but that he says can crank out freshly rolled and loaded pizzas in 1½ minutes. The gas gives it a steady temperature, while the wood provides the flavor for seemingly the best of both worlds.

The concept is the brainchild of Glenn Cybulski, a Rome- and Naples-trained pizza maker who aspires to mimic the "street pizza vendors in Italy" while delivering quick, personal lunches and dinners to Loop office workers, tourists and Downtown theatergoers.

"We make everything we have here from scratch," Cybulski said: pizzas loaded on a line Chipotle-style before being tossed in the oven, salads and even the desserts that are to come.

Everything is made before one's eyes, with the customer selecting ingredients, but there are also "chef's choice pizzas" such as a carne (pepperoni and sausage), Buffalo bleu (Buffalo chicken and bleu cheese), a barbecue pulled pork (nuff said) and an already award-winning chipotle chicken with roasted chicken and chipotle dressing.

Daniel Knorps