Ayo Pizza Cafe & Shop opens up in Lincoln Park

Sun. November 14, 2021 12:00 AM
by Jerry Nunn

There's a new pizza joint in town with the opening of Ayo Pizza Cafe & Shop at 953 W. Willow Street. The intimate store front space will be introduced to the Lincoln Park neighborhood on November 17, 2021. The founders come from a diverse background of Italian African American roots, bringing culture to the cuisine and a rich background to the food.

That is where the focus should go in the future, to make the place stand out from the rest of the pizza pack. Chicago is known for a variety of styles with its popular pizza pies and the challenge will be to stay on top of the competition.

Chef Christian serves two types of pizza, thin Sicilian and thick tavern-style. Look for several flavors such as the mozzarella cheese, meaty pepperoni, sausage and verdue vegetable.

Tavern-style pizzas are sold as whole 14-inch pieces. Go for The Basics with tomato sauce and cheese or the Protein Style with salami and the formented pork nduja.

Dark Matter Coffee is currently served and alcoholic beverages are planned for the future.

The desserts were unexpectedly the standout items at this restaurant. The sweet potato tiramisu was an unusual combo, but the hazelnut torta tenerina cake really satisfied. Combining collard greens and goat cheese in a danish is exactly the direction that Ayo should be heading in. These pastries are served on a first-come basis on the weekends, so grab them while they are fresh, before supplies run out!

There is limited indoor seating of around 20 guests, so with social distancing and mask requirements, carryout is suggested. Come spring, patio seating will be available to help out matters and expect adjustments from the team in the future. Ayo is open five days a week, Wednesday through Sunday from 1 p.m. to 9 p.m. with longer hours on Saturday and Sunday opening at 9 a.m. Keep up with future changes from this pizzeria at

The North Avenue and Clybourn shopping district is already bustling for the holidays and Ayo makes a tasty stop for a break!