The 800 Hillgrove Ave. restaurant suite in Western Springs will welcome its third new restaurant since 2008 in late March when Italian restaurant and wine bar Davanti Enoteca plans to open its fifth franchise at the site.
Though fate has been unkind to 800 Hillgrove’s last two dining occupants —neither 800 West nor La Dolce Vita saw a third year—Davanti Enoteca opens with formidable momentum. It went from being a newcomer in Chicago’s Little Italy in 2010 to having locations in San Diego, Scottsdale and Del Mar by the end of 2012.
“We knew the concept was a good concept,” said managing partner Chris Elsey of Davanti, who has worked with executive chef Scott Harris for two and a half decades. “Incredible vision and attention to detail with the food, wine, service and ambiance—all those things are making it [happen].”
Elsey, Harris and their team are overhauling the site to fit the Davanti profile: an Italian-style wood, brick and mortar interior with wine-covered walls, wooden tables and soft lighting. The restaurant will also feature a prominent wine, beer and vodka bar that will retain 800 West’s two TVs.
The Davanti cuisine focuses on small plates and boards, as well as large sharable entrees. A brick pizza oven for baking their “incredible” handmade pizza will be the centerpiece of the dining room. Other menu highlights Elsey noted include the truffle egg toast, polenta and ragu, focaccia and award-winning Davanti Burger, which includes bacon jam, roasted tomato, arugula, cheese curd and garlic mayo.
“You’re going to be blown away by the setting itself, by the beautiful restaurant that we're going to be providing,” pledged Elsey, an Elmhurst resident. “There’ll be overly friendly staff, welcoming you like you’re coming back home. And once the food and wine begins, the servers take over and will make your experience just wonderful.
“Our philosophy is: We treat our staff like gold, they treat our guests like gold, and everyone’s happy and everyone returns.”
Davanti will also feature a few communal tables—good for large groups, or making new friends—kid-friendly options, a brick-and-wood party room, unique and inspired cocktails and infused vodka on tap. Jonathan Beatty will serve as the location’s chef.
“We have a lot of repeat customers who just can’t wait to get back,” Elsey said. “We look forward to the town embracing us, and having a good time.”
Check out Davanti Enoteca’s current web site here. The restaurant is scheduled to open in Western Springs in the second half of March 2013.
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