Tickets (and samples!) are free.
From ice cream to candy to avocados, all sorts of foods have gotten the Instagram-bait museum treatment lately. Granted, none of these projects are quite at Smithsonian levels of scope and seriousness; still, for fans of these foods, any collection of info (and themed profile pic backdrops) can be worth the stop. And for pizza lovers, Chicago is about to get a new museum dedicated to pies of all shapes and sizes—not just deep-dish—with free samples to celebrate the grand opening.
The U.S. Pizza Museum is the brainchild of Founder & Director Kendall Bruns, a lifelong pizza lover (“not an uncommon story,” he adds) who first officially launched the project in 2015. Since that time, despite being an actual physical collection of pizza memorabilia, the museum has existed primarily as a virtual showcase, aside from the occasional pop-up exhibit. But starting on Friday, August 10, Bruns' concept will get a semi-permanent home at the Roosevelt Collection shops in Chicago’s South Loop neighborhood.
In announcing the opening, the U.S. Pizza Museum promises to feature “pizza-themed ephemera, including menus, rare pizza boxes, vinyl records, vintage ads, toys, video games, and more.” Additionally, “pizza-related souvenirs, including clothing and original works by independent artists, will be available for purchase in the museum gift shop.”
Though online reservations are required, entrance is completely free for a limited time with no purchase necessary. In fact, during the grand opening weekend of Friday, August 10 to Sunday, August 12, guests will even be offered free pizza samples from the nearby pizzeria Aurelio’s of South Loop. From there, the museum expects to be open on Fridays from 5-8 p.m. and Saturdays and Sundays from 11 a.m.-6 p.m. until at least October. Reservations are currently available until the end of August.
“As America’s favorite food, pizza provides an easy entry point to learn about history, pop culture, and the people behind the pizza. We expect the exhibits to have a nostalgic effect on viewers, and I’m thrilled to work with Roosevelt Collection to bring it to life,” Bruns said in a statement. “Visitors will benefit from free entry to the museum and an ongoing calendar of activities.”
Interestingly enough, in April, a company called Nameless Network announced plans for a pop-up Museum of Pizza set to open in New York this October—though that event comes with a $35 price tag. Meanwhile, Bruns admits he didn’t invent the idea of the pizza museum: He took some inspiration from Pizza Brain in Philadelphia.