From the outside, WiseGuys may be just a restaurant in Round Rock, owner Bill Nychay said. However, when guests step inside, they are transported to the quintessential sights, sounds and culture of Chicago, he said.
“Everything we get in here comes from Chicago. Even the breads, the meats, the desserts—everything comes from Chicago,” Nychay said. “You have to be authentic.”
Nychay, a Chicago native, said that crafting the aesthetic of a restaurant is equally as important as the food one serves.
Popular menu items include its Italian beef, Chicago’s No. 1 sandwich, Nychay said. WiseGuys serves a Chicago cheesesteak sandwich, Chicago dogs and chili cheese dogs.
For 11 years, devoted chain customers have requested that WiseGuys include handcrafted pizza on its menu. During the onset of the coronavirus pandemic in the spring, WiseGuys began offering take-and-bake pizzas, and will begin crafting pizza in-house in the coming months with its new pizza oven.
WiseGuys also partnered with The Brass Tap in Round Rock in August to begin serving food at the bar.
The eatery’s name, WiseGuys, holds a double meaning that references both the age of mafia rule and what Nychay described as the wise-cracking demeanor of Chicagoans.
Pulling from its mob culture influence, WiseGuys’ menu items bear names like The Godfather, The Don and Marilyn Monroe. The restaurant’s interior includes Prohibit-era signs, mugshots of the FBI’s most wanted gangsters and a mounted car that Al Capone once drove, complete with bullet holes on its door.
Nychay said WiseGuys is more than just a place to get a quick bite to eat; it is an experience and a destination that provides a moment of refuge for Chicagoans who long for home.
“For Chicago people—they can get so homesick,” he said. “When you come in here, you’re going to go, ‘I haven’t had a hot dog in 40 years. This brings me back to my childhood.’”
WiseGuys - A Chicago Eatery
3200 Greenlawn Blvd., Ste. 120, Round Rock