Union Pizzeria

Ever walked into a restaurant and forgotten where you were? The interior of Union Pizzeria is so unexpected that for a moment I thought I was in some hipster West Loop locale.

They’ve made great use of the space, with cool industrial lighting, exposed pipes, and ductwork, while maintaining the original wood-raftered ceiling. Just behind the dining room are a large performance space/private party room and a recording studio. Combine that with floor-to-ceiling windows and a huge, wood-fired pizza oven, and there’s plenty for your family to talk about over dinner.

Union is continually packed. Not surprising, as it’s owned by Steve Schwartz, proprietor of Campagnola just a few blocks south. He’s put together a menu that feels new and different: cold and hot appetizer plates meant for sharing at the table; fabulous thin-crust pizzas; salads; and a daily hot entrée (Tuesday’s Gnocchi and Saturday’s Duck Ragu are not to be missed). The menu is spare, but well-chosen.

When the pizza craving calls, it must be answered. These pizzas are made to order and perfect for sharing. Younger kids can have plain cheese pizza on request while the rest of you enjoy the Potato, Leek & Goat Cheese or the Prosciutto & Arugula (with slices of freshly-sliced prosciutto and arugula topping a béchamel-slathered crust). And Grumpy Teen can have his juicy cheeseburger while brooding over the injustice of eating with his family.

As sides, we especially enjoy the Chopped Salad, the Chickpeas with Lemon, and the Sausage with Peppers, while the Polenta Poundcake provides a decadent coda. Wash it all down with one of two dozen boutique beers or the 14 wines available by the glass.

Filled with families, NU students, and neighbors, this is one happening hangout and a welcome addition to the area.