Five Questions with Stix & Stones’ Jeremy Samatas
Stix & Stones in Burr Ridge Village Center isn’t just another pizza place. Inspired by the booming Chicago food scene, local ingredients, and the history behind traditional Neapolitan pizza, owner Jeremy Samatas’ restaurant is as much heart and soul as it is pizza and craft beer.
What was the inspiration behind Stix and Stone’s focus on Neapolitan pizza?
- Our inspiration was simple…we are Chicago guys that were born and raised on hometown pizza. We have another restaurant in South Barrington, Ill. and became obsessed with making better pizza. We love the Chicago pizza scene, yet we wanted a truly unique pizza that was as classic as it comes. We came up with our authentic, wood-fired pizza concept after many months of research on Neapolitan pizza. It was fresh, light, and the wood-fired oven provided such a unique product that fit our scratch kitchen concept. We love the Neapolitan pizza style and all the things you can do with toppings.
What makes Stix and Stones different from other pizza joints?
- The difference is the love that goes into making this pizza. Everything we make is done in our restaurant each day – people don’t expect that from a fast-casual place like Stix and Stones. Our pizza dough takes three to four days to rise before it’s ready to use. The toppings are fresh and local when possible. For example, our veggie pizza does not use simple broccoli; we use broccolini. We invest in the prep each day by slicing all our own veggies and meats, along with our fresh mozzarella cheese and tomato sauce we make each day. The freshness stands out with our guests and they notice the difference it makes when they eat our pizza.
Where do you draw inspiration from?
- We draw our inspiration from all the great offerings around us. We are fortunate to live in a wonderful city where food trends are abundant. We like to be on the edge of trendsetting, yet we realize there is a lot of great food here in Chicago. We spend a lot of time with our chef touring the city and enjoying many of the newest places that help inspire our menu and specials throughout the year. Much of our inspiration is trial and error. What’s better than making pizza and trying new toppings to see which ones will be on the next menu? That is our kind of fun!
What made you choose Burr Ridge as your debut location?
- Burr Ridge is a unique place. There is a lot of diversity that you don’t find in many other western suburbs, and we embrace that diversity. We have a very sophisticated customer base that understands this pizza and all we are trying to do. They have their own experiences from their heritage and really enjoy trying new things on our menu. This is a wonderful place to try new ideas and inspirations and garner the feedback we need to be successful.
How do you choose your local craft beer pairings?
- Pairing beer and food is a science. We try to bring in as many truly local beers as possible throughout the year. We look very closely at our menu to see what beers will pair best with our most popular pizzas. We know beer and pizza go well together, and our goal is make sure that great beer goes even better with great Neapolitan style pizza! That is when we know we have something special.