Tony Mantuano at Bar Toma (Alex Garcia / Chicago Tribune )
Levy Restaurants has temporarily closed Spiaggia for renovations and is bringing a new concept to Fulton's on the River's space.
Spiaggia will reopen for its 30th anniversary in April with a redesigned dining room, which chef Tony Mantuano said will modernize the space and "get rid of the stuffiness." The bar will move to the center of the restaurant, providing a view of Oak Street Beach, and all diners will now walk through the wine room when they enter the restaurant.
The Magnificent Mile restaurant is also getting a 40-seat lounge area with its own menu of 10-15 items spotlighting iconic Italian ingredients such as parmigiano reggiano, prosciutto, balsamic vinegar and olive oil. The lounge will also feature a four-seat chef's counter that diners will be able to reserve for special tastings. "It’s tasting the greatest of the Italian kitchen in all its glory," Mantuano said.
During the renovations, neighboring restaurant Cafe Spiaggia will be serving a four-course "Spiaggia Classics" menu for $95 (or $120 with Italian black truffles) that includes gnocchi, diver scallops, quail and chocolate mousse.
Mantuano will also be helming a new concept that is expected to open at Fulton's on the River's former space in late spring. The River North steakhouse closed on Jan. 11 after eight years in operation. Mantuano said he was persuaded to take over the space by the Chicago architect Rivak Albazi, who designed Bar Toma.
"I really didn’t have a whole lot of interest in the space," Mantuano said. "When he showed me how close you are to the river, it’s a pretty special spot. When he showed me how he could open up the space and create more light, I thought 'Let’s go for it.'"
The still unnamed concept will be Mantuano's first foray outside Italian food. The restaurant will serve American fare and focus on whole-roasted chicken and fish and large cuts of beef that are meant to be shared. Mantuano said he got the idea from visiting restaurants in London that focused on roasted meats and seafood. "The rusticness of the space [also] reminded of wood buildings in London."
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