LOGAN SQUARE — Walk by Osteria Langhe during operating hours and you’ll likely see owner Aldo Zaninotto greeting customers and passers-by on up-and-coming Armitage Avenue.
The Piedmonte-inspired restaurant turned a week old Monday after it opened in the former Brand BBQ, and Zaninotta said he and his business partner, head chef Cameron Grant, made the right choice locating their business in Logan Square.
“Since we opened a week ago the majority of people who have come to my door, I’ve been talking to them one on one [and] they love it,” Zaninotta said Monday. “This concept could only be done in a local area, in a neighborhood.”
That’s because the concept is based on a culture that “knows hot to eat, knows how to go out and knows how to drink,” according to Zaninotta, who visited the Piedmonte region in Northern Italy frequently before settling into Osteria Langhe, which began construction about a month ago and opened May 9.
The Italian-themed restaurant, 28224 W. Armitage Ave., eschews “the big bowl of pasta with red sauce” for locally sourced products and a full Piedmonte inspired menu — meaning there’s no spaghetti here.
Various dishes include ingredients like braised rabbit, frog legs, grilled octopus and snails fed on a steady diet of basil, alongside more traditional menu items, such as daily risotto specials and the pollo, Grant’s specialty and the dish that sold Zaninotta on their partnership.
The restaurant seats about 60 people, and Zaninotta said Osteria Langhe has been filling roughly half the available seats on average each night — a slow and ideal start for building a great reputation, he said.
An Italian native of Belgium, Zaninotta said he grew up around food, culture and travel. His mother was a chef and a love for food eventually led to love of wine and community.
A large selection of Piedmonte wines, local beers from Ale Syndicate and $8 cocktails are on the drink menu at Osteria Langhe.
“Piedmont is the mecca, for me, of gastronomy: the intersection of culture, food and wine,” he said. “And Logan Square, in the next couple of years, this place is going to be booming. People are going to come here from all over. It’s exciting, very exciting.”
I’m thinking of moving to Logan [from Bridgeport] to be closer to the rest and be on site,” he added. “This is a destination for people.”
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