Todd Stein, executive chef at Cibo Matto

Cibo Matto, the gilded Italian spot in The Wit hotel, is a bona fide destination. But for Todd Stein, who left his post as exec chef there to open The Florentine (JW Marriott, 151 W. Adams St.) with the BLT Group in October, the destination was a steppingstone.

1 What can you tell us about The Florentine?
It will be a modern Italian restaurant in the vein of Cibo Matto. A touch more rustic but still comfortable and hip. It will have a great lounge/bar area, a wood-burning pizza oven. There will be a few dishes [from Cibo], I’m sure.

2 Will it have Cibo’s luxury prices?
We want it to be an everyday place for people to come for a snack or for a full meal. I will take what we’ve done at Cibo . . . not to a higher level, but keeping it honest and true to the roots of Italy, with an American touch.

3 How did this come about?
Rodelio Aglibot [BLT’s executive corporate chef] and I are good friends. We started talking about the project, and it interested me. Cibo got nominated for a James Beard for Best New Restaurant in 2009 and we didn’t win, so I figured I had to do that again next year.


Photograph: Anna Knott