By Nick Passarelli
Take a walk down North Sheridan Road in Chicago’s Rogers Park and just past the bookstore, large black window coverings obscure the space inside of the glass doors. Felice’s, a Roman-style pizza restaurant, plans to open these doors early next semester.
“Felice’s is modeled after the pizza al taglio places in Rome, meaning pizza by the cut,” said Felice’s president Sean Connolly. “We want to offer something new, not just a late night dining option, but also something that’s fresh and different.”
“The style, the atmosphere, the name—what we’re trying to do is bring a little bit of Rome back to Chicago,” added Connolly.
Connolly, who oversees the entire business of Felice’s, also happens to be a 21-year-old Loyola senior majoring in political science.
“The idea for a pizza place was being tossed around, and we thought it could work,” explained Connolly. “I came back from Rome and applied for the job. We started going through the viability studies, presenting it to all the different university levels, and everybody seemed to think that the numbers and the model just made sense.”
The concept for Felice’s was created by Loyola Limited, the holding company responsible for multiple campus enterprises. Starting in 2010 with the Flats, a boutique guesthouse near the Lake Shore campus, Loyola Limited has since expanded to owning and operating four different businesses, including Felice’s.
Not to mention, Loyola Limited is staffed exclusively by Loyola undergraduate students.
“It’s a unique opportunity for the campus community because we’re doing what not many other universities are willing to do,” Connolly said. “Essentially we’ve got students on every level, from making the pizza to designing the brand and identity.”
While seeing the success of these student-run may be a novelty, Connolly explained that Felice’s hopes—and expects—to prove itself as a neighborhood presence.
“We’re not trying to get people in the door just because it’s student-run, you know, what matters to us and what matters to community is providing good food at a good price,” Connolly said.
Ultimately, Connolly said that he and his staff are looking forward to opening the business and starting to serve the community.
“It’s just like any other restaurant or new business opening,” said Connolly. “We’re trying to hit the same goals—to provide something that the community can afford, something they want, and something they will like.”