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Coda di Volpe Will Do Southern Italian on Southport

Plan for lots of antipasti and regionally appropriate wines this summer.

Billy Lawless, Chris Thompson, and Ryan O’Donnell   Photo: Courtesy of Coda di Volpe

The Southport Corridor will get a taste of southern Italy when Coda di Volpe (3335 N. Southport, Lake View, no phone yet) opens in early June.

Co-owners Billy Lawless (The Gage, The Dawson) and Ryan O’Donnell (Gemini Bistro) enlisted Chris Thompson (The Nickel, Denver; A16, San Francisco) as executive chef/partner to head the kitchen at this Lake View newcomer that aims to bring an element of “casual sophistication” to the nabe.

“We are trying to become a neighborhood go-to spot,” says Lawless.

The menu will take a lighter approach than most other Chicago Italian restaurants to the city’s darling fare.

“The thing we will be doing differently is bringing a focus on the southern hemisphere of Italy,” says Thompson. “We’re bringing lighter fare, vegetables, and more olive oil-based [sauces], and lighter braises.”

“Approachably priced” highlights include a “good-sized” antipasti and shared-plate section featuring house-cured meats, Neapolitan-style pizzas cooked in an oven imported from Naples, a pasta section, and a selection of braised and grilled meats and seafood entrées.

In keeping with the Italian way of eating and drinking things from the same region, the wine list will also lean southern Italian.

The name, which means “tail of the fox” in Italian, is also a nod to the white grape varietal that’s indigenous to the Campania region of Italy.

The 100-seat space, designed by 555, will have a casual, midcentury modern Italian vibe, ballooning by 60 additional seats when the sidewalk patio opens for warmer months. Dining on southern Italian al fresco in Chicago summer? That’s a tale we’d like to hear more about.

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