New Oak Park eatery boasts tribute to Nonna

A new Italian restaurant in Oak Park is a labor of love for its Italian-born chef and owner. Ciro Parlato hails from Corbara, a town near the Amalfi Coast, and moved to the United States in 2012. He first settled in Miami Beach, Florida, without knowing a word of English. He started taking classes at an international school and fell in love with Oak Park through his English teacher and her son, who lived there. “I visited, and I loved Oak Park so much,” says Parlato, who moved to the Chicago suburb in 2016. He decided to open a restaurant …

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Land, sea meet at new North Loop spot

Growing up in Detroit, Noah Zamler learned to make pasta beside his mother and grandmother. Now, Zamler is living out his childhood dream as co-owner and head chef of Terra e Mare (Land and Sea), an Italian restaurant that opened at 404 S. Wells St. in Chicago’s South Loop neighborhood, Block Club Chicago reported. Zamler partnered for the venture with Cristian Mendoza and Petros Papatheofanis. Terra e Mare features “the best of the land and sea,” according to the restaurant’s website, including fresh seafood dishes, house-made pasta and bread, and locally sourced ingredients. A beverage menu includes cocktails, Italian wines …

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New Aurora ristorante and bar serves up NYC homage

Amore Mio has opened in downtown Aurora. Roberto Avila, the owner and chef of the Italian restaurant and piano bar, learned about Italian food while living in Venice, Italy, more than a decade ago. He is also chef and owner of the Latin fusion restaurant Altiro, with locations in Aurora, Geneva and Wheaton. Amore Mio “pays homage to the essence of the great Italian-American restaurants of the mid-20th century in New York City,” according to the restaurant’s website. Its menu includes antipasti, salads, pasta, and meat and fish dishes. The latest planned addition is Roman-style square pizza made in an …

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Tievoli’s Labbate triumphs at West-Coast pizza contest

Giovanni Labbate, owner of Tievoli Pizza Bar in Palatine, triumphed in the “plant-forward” category of the 5th annual Real California Pizza Contest. The competition pitted 12 professional chefs against each other in a quest for the most innovative pizzas, Food Industry News reported. Labbate took home a $5,000 prize for his “Sunset in Sonoma” recipe, featuring a garlic-confit cream sauce, sharp California cheddar, purple potato slices, caramelized onions and mushrooms. Tievoli, at 44 W. Palatine Road, has a menu with 13 types of wood-fired pizza, along with salads, pasta, sandwiches and panzerotti. For more, click here.

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From Napoli to Chicago via Venezuela

Marcial Bereciartu, owner of the newly opened Strapoli Pizza in Chicago, grew up in Venezuela, where he was inspired by his parents’ belief that one can work, not just for money, but also to have fun with family, serve the community and make good pizza. That’s what Bereciartu intends to do with Strapoli Pizza, 545 W. Diversey Parkway, which serves Neapolitan-style pizzas based on his family’s recipes. The business’ name is a combination of strada (street) and Napoli. Bereciartu’s parents operated a pizzeria for a few decades in Merida, Venezuela, and their children pitched in by making dough, preparing pizza …

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Arancini with a multicultural twist at Amici

If you thought arancini only showcased the flavors of Italy, think again. Amici restaurant, which opened recently at 3933 N. Broadway in Chicago’s Lakeview neighborhood, serves classic Italian arancini stuffed with meat sauce and prosciutto, plus a variety of other flavor profiles, including Mexican, African, Indian and Thai. The eatery’s tagline is “five different cuisines in the palm of your hand.” “A lot of people assume we’re an Italian place, but we’re not,” owner Alfio Sciacca told Block Club Chicago. “The idea came from Italy because the arancini are from Italy, but we stuff them with different cultures.” The menu …

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Cucina Bella opens second Algonquin location

Brittany and Tony Colatori, owners of Cucina Bella restaurant in Algonquin, have teamed up with Jose Moreno to open Bella’s Wood Fire Pizzeria, also in the northwest suburb. The Cary-Grove Area Chamber of Commerce recently hosted a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new pizzeria at 123 S. Main St. in Algonquin. The menu draws inspiration from Tony Colatori’s family roots in Sannicandro, in Italy’s Puglia region. “You can expect nothing but the finest in Italian cuisine,” Brittany Colatori said in a chamber news release. Moreno and Tony Colatori worked together in the restaurant industry for 20 years. For more, click here.

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Ferrara acquires Jelly Belly

Two legendary Chicago-area candymakers have joined forces. Ferrara Candy, a business unit of Ferrero SpA, agreed to acquire Jelly Belly Candy Co., Crain’s Chicago Business reported. The seed for Ferrara was planted at the Original Ferrara Bakery on Taylor Street, which blossomed into Ferrara Pan Candy in Forest Park. The business unit now employs 7,500 worldwide, including 2,200 in Illinois. Jelly Belly began as Goelitz Confectionery Company in suburban St. Louis and later moved to California. It has about 800 employees and operates a plant in North Chicago. Ferrero SpA is a multinational company headquartered in Luxembourg with roots in …

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Spacca Napoli ranked among world’s best pizzerias

A beloved Chicago pizzeria was recently ranked among the 100 best in the world by the Italian culinary website 50 Top Pizza. Spacca Napoli (1769 W. Sunnyside Ave., Chicago) came in at No. 93 on a list that included pizzerias from France, the Philippines, Spain, Japan, Denmark and more. Diego Vitagliano Pizzeria in Naples and I Masanielli in Caserta shared the top spot. “It’s always nice to be recognized,” Spacca Napoli owner Jonathan Goldsmith modestly responded. Goldsmith has won a slew of awards for his Neapolitan pizza over the years. He learned the trade from master Neapolitan pizzaiolo Enzo Coccia, …

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Panettoni, pandori abound at Eataly

  Eataly now has its own global line of artisan panettoni developed by its team of gastronomical experts. The line features four flavors — classico, pistachio cream, orange and chocolate, and pandoro — all based on a traditional recipe of lievito madre (mother yeast), free-range eggs and Madagascar vanilla. Located at 43 E. Ohio St. in Chicago, Eataly offers 50 panettoni and pandori from various brands, with flavors such as limoncello, chestnut, tiramisu, apricot, salted caramel, and more. Italians typically bring a dessert or sweet treat when they are invited to someone’s home, and during the winter holidays, that’s panettone …

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