AVON — James Nicely has opened a Chicago’s Pizza Express in Avon. He owned and operated Sweet Treats in the same location.
Nicely said he really enjoyed the bakery but began to transform the business by adding food.
“We had a good product,” he said. “And I do miss the sweets, but I decided to go into another direction.”
Nicely gave his bakery clientele to his pastry chef who is now operating the business as Zoey Cakes.
“Sweet Treats may pop up again someday,” he said. “But for now, I’m going to concentrate on the Chicago’s.”
Nicely said when he was a kid he would hang out at the Chicago’s Pizza in Clermont.
“It was always packed on Friday and Saturday nights,” he said. “It was a great time.”
He said Chicago’s Pizza, still under the leadership of CEO Bob McDonald, now 81, had been toying with the idea of an express shop. McDonald founded Chicago’s Pizza on Sept. 16, 1979, with Ron Epple.
McDonald personally came to Avon this week to help with the opening.
“He always comes out to an opening of a new location,” Nicely said. “He was here helping us make pizzas on Monday night.”
Nicely was trained in the Chicago’s Pizzas owned by Dave Childers who has franchises in French Lick and downtown.
“We spend a lot of time there learning how they do things,” Nicely said. “The first Chicago’s Pizza in Indiana was downtown on Monument Circle.”
The shop makes its dough fresh each day. Crusts are always fresh and never frozen.
“Chicago’s Pizza has been in the Indianapolis area for 34 years,” Nicely said. “My father-in-law had the first Chicago’s Pizza franchise years ago.”
He said just because there is no seating in the shop does not mean customers will be disappointed in the product.