soju sunrise

Windy City Pizza pop-up

restaurants | February 6, 2016 | By

IMG_1380I’ve travelled quite widely in the States, and ate my way from Tex-Mex in Texas, through Cincinnati chili (don’t ask) to some awesome NY pizza in the tourist traps of Bleecker Street and beyond, but one thing that had evaded my radar until this week was Chicago-style deep dish pizza. I knew it existed and knew that it was thicker, deeper and just… different from what I was used to, but the reviews of Chicago pizza places in Seoul were so uniformly negative that I stayed away.

Fortunately, that’s changing. James Yu has done what most armchair internet critics of foreign food in Korea dare not attempt, and is putting his time and money where his mouth is. His fledgling business, if we can call it that, is named Windy City Pizza and he’s done a couple of pop-ups in Hongdae and Gyeongnidan, bringing the genuine Chicago deep dish pie to a hungry expat audience. I’m pleased to say that it’s a winner.


I wouldn’t know real Chicago pizza from a hole in the head, so Google it if you want more details on what it is and how it’s made. The short version is; it’s terrific. I had two slices of the sausage pie, which is priced at 7,500 won per large slice. I’m a big man, but two slices nearly defeated me – one would be enough for many normal people, particularly at lunchtime.


The sausage is made by Hassan from Hassdog and the rest is handmade by James. The crust is totally different from a thin crust NY pizza, let alone the cardboard crusts of many Korean pizzas – this is more like the pastry crust on a Scottish meat pie, which I mean as a compliment. The tomato sauce was garlicky and packed with flavour. Basically the whole thing was on point and completely delicious, which my photos may or may not demonstrate. Quite a hard thing to photograph well.


James is also making two other versions at present, a spinach and a mushroom slice, which I didn’t try because spinach and mushroom. But if it’s anything like this, it must also be great.


Check out the Windy City FB page for details of more pop-ups, the next of which is happening from Monday at Cali Kitchen in Gyeongnidan (which is also well worth your while even outside of special events like this). James sold out in record time this week, so make sure you reserve a slice so you don’t end up disappointed.

  • Category: American
  • Price: $$$$
  • Must try: Sausage slice (7,500 won)
  • Directions: Cali Kitchen is just behind Maloney’s pub in Gyeongnidan. See map below. Future pop-ups may be in other locations, of course.
  • Hours: Check out Windy City’s Facebook page for latest news and advance notice of any further pop-ups.

cali kitchen map


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