By Justin Hunter
CHURUBUSO – Pizza lovers have another place to dine-in and eat delicious slices of pie, wings or subs.
East of Chicago Pizza located at 8475 U.S. 33 more than doubled its space for costumers after buying the space next to its kitchen. The restaurant can now cater 40 sitting costumers.
“This is one of those examples that spending money is going to make more money,” said owner Tim Fensler. “We took a leap of faith, and the community has responded very well. People used to drive by and ask if we have sit down space, then they get back in their large family van and left. There was a need for it and there has always been a mission for it.”
The new space was most recently a child daycare center. East of Chicago Pizza owners Tim and Lisa Fensler had the bright walls painted in time for the grand opening of the renovated space Oct. 25. The married couple purchased the restaurant April 1.
East of Chicago Pizza previously only had 1,000 square feet, which was mostly kitchen space. The new space brings the total size to more 2,200 square feet.
The new room currently has a salad and pizza buffet that includes its popular “cinnapops,” a golden-brown dessert covered with caramelized cinnamon sugar and icing.
“They’re my favorite. It’s difficult for people to only have one plate of them,” said Tim Fensler.
In addition to the changes, the Fenslers are planning to soon open a pub in the new room. The bar will feature spirits such as domestic and imported beer and a wine slushy machine. East of Chicago Pizza will also expand its menu to include items like burgers, fries, potato wedges, jalapeño poppers and pretzels with beer cheese. Tim Fensler says the new scene will appeal to both adults and kids. The Fenslers are hoping the pub will be open by mid-January.
“Where can you take your kids to eat and still feel like an adult,” asked Fensler. “Everyone loves pizza, so bring in the kids and have a nice adult beverage if you feel led to.”
Tim Fensler also wants to bring in live entertainment for his guests to enjoy.
“We have some future plans of having some live music once in a while, especially when the wine slushy machine gets up and running. It’s going to be a lot of fun,” he said.
It has always been Tim Fensler’s dream to run a pizzeria with a pub. The only East of Chicago that Tim Fensler is aware of having a pub space is in Atlanta. Now, Churubusco will soon have that luxury.
“It has always been a dream of mine to have a pizzeria with a pub. It’s happening, and I’m living the dream. You can’t do something like this everywhere in the world, but you sure can in the U.S., and I’m grateful for that,” said Tim Fensler.
Tim Fensler has seen a positive community response since opening the new space.
“We’ve had a little bit of every one come in since we opened the new area,” he said. We have had small groups, big groups, birthday parties and a lot of people are coming in for date night as well. The community is excited to see what’s happening. I’m hiring more people and been getting an abundance of applications. It makes a lot of sorting on my part, but I get to pick the cream of the crop that way too.”
Tim and Lisa Fensler as both grateful for the response from Churubusco residents.
“We appreciate everybody coming in, and all the love and support from the community,” said Tim Fensler. “We hope to do even better things in the future.”