Uptown Pizza returns

Uptown Pizza
Uptown Pizza has reopened at Lake & Grand. The 40-year-old shop closed in mid-November, but a new crew, led by manager Said Ali, is working to restore the pizzeria to glory. Photo by Andrew Hazzard

After lying dormant since mid-November, the ovens are back on at Uptown Pizza.

The pizzeria on the corner of Lake & Grand had operated since 1980 before abruptly announcing it had closed on its Facebook page Nov. 16. But reports of its demise were exaggerated. The store reopened the week of Jan. 7 under new management.

The closure stemmed from a disagreement between the previous manager and the store’s owner, new manager Said Ali said. One day, the former manager decided to close down shop.

But Uptown Pizza wasn’t ready to be done and the owner sought out a new crew of workers. Ali, who knew the owner through his family, had worked in Middle Eastern restaurants before but had never made pizza. He and his crew spent a few weeks training up and learning the menu before opening.
A few older staff members have helped them learn recipes and techniques, Ali said.

“Basically we’ve been doing everything the same, just new management,” he said.

As soon as the restaurant posted it was back on Facebook, the customers returned. Many have even said the pizza is a little better than before, according to Ali.

“So far we’ve been getting positive feedback,” he said.

Getting Uptown Pizza back to its neighborhood-favorite status is the ultimate goal, Ali said.

Uptown Pizza

323 W. Lake St.