5 Questions With... Santa Monica's Wick's Chicago Pizza
At a birthday party a few months back a friend pulled me aside and whispered, "There's a great deep dish pizza available in Santa Monica." "WHAT?!?" "Shh... it's sort of on the d.l. I'll email you the info. We never had this conversation."
Okay, maybe my buddy wasn't that covert about Wick's Chicago Pizza, but I like to think he was about this very welcomed -- albeit somewhat underground -- addition to the beachside pizza scene. The ordering process is simple: email Wick's (email@example.com), 24 hours in advance, order a sausage, pepperoni, cheese or combo of the aforementioned, meet owner Christian Bove in front of his Santa Monica apartment, hand over $20 for a gigantic, half-baked Chicago deep dish, take home, place on a pizza stone or baking sheet, let it cook for 25-20 minutes and BAM, a beautiful, piping hot, Chicago deep dish pizza sans the wind and the annual disappointment that is the Cubs.
An instant fan, I just needed to talk to Christian and find out what Wick's was all about...
1. Tell me about the founding of Wicks Chicago Pizza. Where did the idea come from/how did it come about?
Christian: Wick's all came from the craving for a great deep dish pizza. I'd been living in LA for six years and was jonesing for a real Chicago deep dish pizza. I went to the places that said they had deep dish but it just wasn't the same. So, I spent a year and a half perfecting a dough. I started making them for friends till one day my buddy Troy (who was a little hungover) said he'd pay me to make him a pizza, I figured why not and it just grew from there. What is different about my pizza is the crust. It's sweeter than a normal Chicago pizza crust. Unlike most deep dish pizzas that have a thick crust mine is more like a thin crust in a deep dish pan just topped with a lot of fillings. I'm not a big crust guy so I just made one that I'd eat. One thing lead to another, people started ordering and then I started making them for O'brien's on Main for the Bears games. They've been compared to crack which I take as a good thing.
2. You a Chicago native? Or just a deep dish lover?
Christian: I grew up just north of Chicago eating deep dish pizza. It was amazing being surrounded by all these great pizza places. You just get use to all of it. I was fortunate enough that when I moved to Florida the pizza place I grew up loving had a shop in the same town and then in Arizona there was a great deep dish place but moving to LA not so much.
3. What's the ultimate goal with Wicks?
Christian: The goal of Wicks is to have a really small 10-15 table place on the Westside that just serves deep dish pizza and salads. The concept is simple, no matter how close you are to you favorite pizza place by the time you get home, get all your drinks, find something to watch on tv, and get everyone together the pizza starts to get cold. The take out pizzas are all half baked. You put it in the oven for 15-20 minutes and you have a fresh Chicago deep dish pizza. The pizzas can be in your refrigerator for up to two days.
4. Any deep dish pizza in LA you like? How about any pizza places in general?
Christian: No real places I like for deep dish but in Chicago I'm a Lou's or Giordano's fan or a great little place called The Art of Pizza [editor note: I adore AoP as well.]. There are a bunch of great pizza places in LA, Joe's of Bleeker, Mozza, Abbot's, and there are great wood fire places. That's the beauty of pizza, everyone has their own style or favorite.
5. Ever met someone stupid enough not to like deep dish? What would you tell such a person?
Christian: Yes, there are people that don't like deep dish. Some say it's too big (three pieces and you're in a food coma) or just too far away from NY pizza. Everyone likes what they like and as long as they like pizza I'm cool with it. But, for those that like deep dish they're going to really like my pizza.