Fiore Pizzeria and Bakery is closing as a restaurant, almost two years to the date after it rose from the ashes of Francesca’s Fiore Italian restaurant.
The announcement was posted in a pop-up window on the restaurant’s website. In a statement sent to the Review, owners Scott Harris Hospitality team said that they decided that the current location “wasn’t an ideal fit for our vision” for the pizzeria. But Mercato di Fiore, a grab-and-go market that opened on the east side of the building last year, will remain open from Friday to Sunday. The team also hasn’t ruled out reopening Fiore at some other location in the future.
Fiore and Mercato were both owned by Italian chef Scott Harris, who also owns the building both are located in. He also owns the Francesca’s Italian restaurant chain, which has 11 locations, mostly in the suburbs, as well as several other restaurant brands. Harris launched the company in 1992 with Lakeview-based Mia Francesca.
The Madison Street space opened as Francesca’s Fiori in 2001, only to close in October 2020 amid the pandemic struggles. After trying and failing to rent the restaurant space out, Harris decided to open a more health-conscious version of Francesca’s concept, with a smaller menu and a more casual atmosphere. The newly christened Fiore opened in mid-November 2021.
““It’s time to refresh,” Harris told the Review at the time. “A lot more proteins, a lot more vegetables, a lot more gluten-free items. The kids aren’t eating [the big bowl of pasta] anymore. They’re just not. I get it, I see it.”
In early July 2022, the east portion of the building reopened as Mercato di Fiore. Harris envisioned it as an “old world” market where customers could buy traditional Italian, the more Chicago-style sandwiches, and pastries. Customers could eat them at a large communal table or take them to go.
The market, the company emphasized, isn’t going away.
“The Fiore brand perseveres through our Mercato,” they stated. “Our offerings include Glazed & Infused [brand] donuts, pastries, and sandwiches.”
The market is open on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m.
The pop-up window, which has been appearing on the website, doesn’t directly say that Fiore is closing. The message simply says “Thank you Forest Park!” followed by “Don’t worry, we will still be around!” followed by the information about Mercato.
The company confirmed that the restaurant portion has indeed closed.
“Additionally, we’re actively exploring new locations better suited to showcase the Fiore experience, and we’re excited about the prospects ahead,” representatives said.