WEST LOOP — The West Loop is welcoming a third "Top Chef" alum this week — this time on Madison.
Two years after leaving Spiaggia, "Top Chef" runner-up Sarah Grueneberg opens Monteverde, featuring traditional Italian "with a modern hand," at 1020 W. Madison St. in the West Loop Wednesday. Italian makes sense — Grueneberg spent eight years at Spiaggia, being promoted through the ranks to executive chef.
Inspired by her family's heritage and her own trips around the world, Grueneberg's Monteverde aims to highlight traditional dishes alongside dishes that feature adventurous flavors and cooking methods not native to the Italian kitchen.
Montverde's menu centers on handcrafted pasta showcased in two distinct ways: pasta tipica, classic Italian pastas, and pasta atipica, which includes innovative combinations like wok-fried arrabbiata and cannelloni saltimbocca with prosciutto and lamb. Complementing the restaurant's pasta are stuzzichini (snacks), prima (before pasta), dopo (after pasta), and sweet offerings.
With help from wine consultant Robert Mosher, Grueneberg and managing partner Meg Sahs sourced wines from across the globe to complement a specialty cocktail menu. The restaurant also offers draft and bottled beers, a selection of amari and other after-dinner drinks, non-alcoholic offerings, custom-blended Sparrow coffee and teas from Rare Tea Cellar.
The restaurant aims for the average check to be $38, according to a spokesman.
Designed by Karen Herold of Studio K, the Madison Street restaurant channels a rustic Italian home, featuring natural woods, plasterwork from Northern Italy, custom tables with armchairs and handmade industrial lighting fixtures. Behind the butcher block-style bar, an open area features a large pastificio surrounded by traditional drying racks draped in pasta.
The dining room seats 50 and a bar area adds another 43 seats to the restaurant. Grueneberg also plans to add patio dining in spring 2016.
In addition to dining, a selection of Monteverde's handmade pastas are available for sale in the restaurant along with pasta accessories and a selection of balsamic vinegars from Andrea Bezzecchi’s Acetaia San Giacomo.
In 2011, Grueneberg competed on Season 9 of Bravo's "Top Chef: Texas," where she was named runner-up. Two other standout "Top Chef" chefs call the West Loop home, too: Stephanie Izard, who opened Girl & the Goat on Randolph in 2010 and has plans to open Duck, Duck, Goat on Fulton Market in 2016; and Fabio Viviani, who opened Bar Siena on Randolph this summer.
Monteverde is open 5-11 p.m. Tuesdays-Saturdays. Street and valet parking is available.
Former Spiaggia executive chef and 'Top Chef' runner-up Sarah Grueneberg brings regional Italian to the West Loop with the opening of Monteverde. [Galdones Photography]
For more neighborhood news, listen to DNAinfo Radio here: