Loyal Dish readers have probably noticed that Scott Harris, the owner or partner in something like two dozen restaurants, including all the Francesca’s locations, tends to have a lot of news. The red phone rang again this week, bringing Harris’s report of four new restaurants, three opening December 14th and one December 8th.
First, continuing with the naming formula of Italian locator word plus “Enoteca” that seems to work at Davanti Enoteca, Harris plans DiSotto Enoteca (200 E. Chestnut St.; 312-482-8800), using the Italian word for “underground.” Starting on the 14th, DiSotto will be downstairs from Francesca’s on Chestnut, in a brick wine cavern. On offer will be about 12 to 15 different bruschettas, along with cheeses and charcuterie, and maybe the truffle egg toast from Davanti. “I’m looking to go for late-night industry, all those late-night restaurant and hotel people,” Harris says. He could probably create a market just from his own employees.
Second, Harris told us about the December 14th opening for the reincarnated Gennaro’s (626 S. Racine Ave.; 312-226-9300) around the same time that his partner in this venture, Jimmy Bannos Sr. (Heaven on Seven), was telling David Tamarkin of Time Out Chicago the same thing. When the original Gennaro’s closed last year, it was a 50-year institution in Little Italy. The new version brings Mary Jo Gennaro back as a partner and her family’s recipes back to the menu.
Third, next door to Gennaro’s in the space that briefly housed Aldino’s Market, Harris plans Doughboys (624 S. Racine Ave.; 312-226-9300), a counter-service and delivery pizza place, also for the 14th. “I’ve got a couple good pizza guys,” Harris says. “We are doing thin crust. We are doing deep dish. We’re actually taking deep dish to another level.” Better ingredients and a more perfect crust, specifically—the work of Leo Spizzirri, a competitive pizza maker who worked as Giordano’s corporate chef. Harris says Spizzirri is organizing to break the Guinness world record for world’s longest pizza, after a group of Poles tried a 1,000-meter pizza last summer. He hopes to make the attempt at Soldier Field, with the pizza stretching to the lakeshore. If they actually pull this long-pizza stunt off, we can’t help but notice the marketing tie-in to the long pizza they will sell at Doughboys—Harris says you’ll be able to buy a three-yard pizza, which comes in a three-yard box. “It’s huge,” he says.
Fourth, Fat Rosie’s Taco & Tequila Bar (1890 W. Main St., St. Charles; 630-762-0200) will open December 8th where T-Bones Steakhouse flared up briefly like the barbecue under a fatty steak. The menu will feature inexpensive Mexican from the Mixteco and Platiyo alumnus Raúl Arreola. But—so far as we know—no attempts at the world’s longest chimichanga.