HANNIBAL | A new pizzeria at 121 N. Main St. evokes the atmosphere of old Chicago, bringing a nearly three-year process to completion for owner Brian Chaplin.
Due Amici Pizzeria is the result of a longtime dream for Chaplin, who previously worked as Board of Public Works superintendent in Hannibal for almost 10 years. During that time, he got to know all of the business owners downtown — and he knew it was the place he wanted to fulfill his dream of opening a pizzeria. Chaplin said he's seen Hannibal grow since the recession in 2009 and he's excited to be serving customers downtown since Oct. 27.
“It's a big sell — a lot of people are in, and they're eating — they love it and they have a lot of good things about it,” Chaplin said. “That's what I envisioned, is to put out a good product and be consistent and have a good pizzeria.”
The interior decor includes photos of Al Capone, John Dillinger and other notorious gangsters from Chicago's history. Chaplin brought out a photo from 1934, showing members of the Hannibal Police Department who pursued Dillinger after he stole a vehicle from Murphy Motors. The police cruiser was riddled with bullet holes, but the officers were uninjured in the shootout that ended with Dillinger escaping into the countryside near Monroe City.
Along with the pictures and tabletops covered with newspaper front pages from the era, specialty pizzas are named after gangsters like the “Infamous” Alphonse Gabriel “Al” Capone, Louis “Two Gun” Alterie, George “Baby Face” Nelson and Frank “The Enforcer” Nitti. The menu includes Chicago-style deep dish pizzas, custom pizzas and pizza by the slice, so customers can grab a quick meal as they visit downtown.
Chaplin is excited about Hannibal's growing festivals and the variety of businesses that fill the historic buildings on Main St. In the future, he plans to own two or three pizzerias — and he said Due Amici is off to a successful start in America's Hometown.
“I think the journey itself is learning about the city of Hannibal — being here for several years now, watching it grow and be a part of it is my ultimate thing,” he said. “I could have chose anywhere — what better place, and this is where I want to be at.”