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In the land of deep dish pizza it is a dangerous thing to peddle thin-crust pies, but with some unstoppable beer at its side, Piece Brewery and Pizzeria has brought a slice of skinny civilization to the brutal world of deep dish.
Cozy and comforting, warm and inviting, Piece appears the quintessential pizza place, but one look at the wall of medals tells you it's a bit more than that. The World Beer Cup is the world’s most prestigious beer competition. With breweries from all over the world competing, a tiny Chicago pizzeria might seem like a small contestant at such an event, but time after time, Piece has brought home the bronze, silver and gold with over 28 awards to their name.
Part of what has given the pizzeria its success is Jonathan Cutler, the head brewer at Piece. Culter started brewing in his fifth year at college after he had changed his major numerous times and still wasn’t sure what he wanted to do. In brewing, Cutler found a new passion. He called his dad and told him he wanted to drop out of school to brew beer. After a moment’s pause Jonathan’s dad made him a deal. As long Jonathan graduated college, his dad would give him the money he needed to start a career in brewing. The first thing Culter did after hanging up the phone was rush to the school advisors. He asked them what he needed to do to graduate as fast as he could and in no time at all Jonathan Cutler was on his way to brewing beer. Despite his success as a brewer, Culter remains humble, “I’m just trying not to suck,” he says and gives much of the credit to his parents for supporting him while he was studying.
However, the beer and pizza at Piece hasn’t just attracted the attention of brewers and foodies. It has also drawn in musicians with its full-bodied brews and pies. Not only is Dave Grohl of the Foo Fighters a somewhat steady patron of Piece, but Rick Nielsen from Cheap Trick is actually a part owner of the restaurant. Although Nielsen doesn’t get to Chicago much, you can spot bits of Cheap Trick memorabilia decorating the walls of Piece.
At first, Piece Brewery and Pizzera looks like an unassuming restaurant, but with its lovingly made pizza and it’s perfectly crafted beers, it has become a powerhouse in Chicago craft brewing.