Labriola Ristorante & Café (535 N. Michigan Ave.), the next step in the evolution of the Labriola brand, lands on Chicago’s most famous avenue in early 2015. The newest venture from acclaimed Chicago baker Rich Labriola, offers three distinct experiences within one space: a full-service Italian restaurant helmed by Executive Chef John Caputo (formerly of Bin 36 and A Mano), bar, and bakery café.
“We are thrilled to bring our Labriola Café concept to the city of Chicago, and especially the neighborhood of Streeterville,” says Rich Labriola. “This location brings together the best of Labriola’s heritage, including unparalleled bread and baked goods, with a new and exciting Italian menu from the very talented Chef Caputo.”
For the full-service restaurant, Chef Caputo has created an approachable, yet modern, Italian menu complete with handmade pastas, thin-crust pizzas, appetizers, and salads. A rotating seasonal lasagna selection is available, starting with squash and wild mushroom, smoked gouda, ricotta, and squash béchamel, in addition to an ever-changing selection of salumi and cheeses, served with fig compote, honey comb, olives, and grilled bread. Other menu highlights include: Grilled Head-On Patagonian Prawns with charred eggplant puree, smoked tomato-braised chickpeas, lobster butter, mint, and pistachio; Pan Roasted Filet Mignon with Gorgonzola-Mascarpone “Busta,” pancetta green beans and brown butter; and Braised Short Rib and Caramelized Onion Sandwich with truffled taleggio fonduta and housemade giardiniera.
Labriola Ristorante’s bar offers a wide selection of drinks, including craft beers and wines, perfect for a quick break from shopping or a nightcap following dinner. Additionally, guests may order dishes from both the café and ristorante menus to be enjoyed at the bar, the only place where both menus are offered.
The bakery café features a similar menu as the restaurant’s sister location in Oak Brook, IL (Labriola Café & Neapolitan Pizzeria), with sandwiches, pastas, salads, and pizza, all made with the highest quality ingredients and the attention to detail that has made Labriola famous. For those seeking sweets, the café offers freshly baked Labriola bread, pastries, and Stan’s Donuts (also owned by Rich Labriola), in addition to Intelligentsia coffee drinks. The 300-seat space boasts a slightly edgy and urban vibe with design materials like subway tiles, dark wood, and leather. Lighting complements the engaging ambience, setting aglow the pewter, gunmetal, deep jewel tones and marble accents. A 60-seat sidewalk patio off the café will open in spring/summer 2015.