“I sort of faded away, but I’m back,” says George Guggeis, the former owner of the much-fêted Mango, which shuttered in 2000 after four years in River North. Between then and now, Guggeis busied himself working behind the scenes—managing dinner cruise boats (Odyssey and The Ugly Duck), opening lounge-style movie theatres (Gold Class Cinema), and managing Dan Rosenthal’s Trattoria No. 10 (10 N. Dearborn; 312-984-1718). It was there that he met Doug D’Avico, the chef who will man Guggeis’s comeback kitchen, Bistro One West (1 W. Illinois, St. Charles; 630-444-0600), set to open early next month.
On the bank of the Fox River, Bistro One West boasts dark wood, a “lofty, factory-type feel” and a 60-seat deck mere feet from the water. And Guggeis is going back to the formula that made Mango a smash hit: an American bistro that isn’t afraid to push the envelope. “There are a lot of steak and potato restaurants,” he says. “I want something that’s got quality, approachability, and a little daring,” The menu will feature a dozen entrées with price points hovering near $20, plus three or four nightly specials. And that’s where D’Avico comes in. “You can’t take the Italian out of me,” says D’Avico. “That’s here to stay. I can do a lot of the regional specialties from Illinois and Wisconsin—a little bit of Italian flair in a more Midwestern fashion.”
As for Trattoria No. 10, after 16 years D’Avico cooks his last meal on Friday before a kitchen takeover by Laura Piper, a Kendall instructor who’s cooked at Francesca’s, Hugo’s Frog Bar, and Gibson’s.