After more than three years of serving traditional Italian cuisine in the West Loop, Viaggio Ristorante owner Sam Villardito is getting ready to branch out to Lincoln Park. He's planning to open Cafe Viaggio at 403 W. Fullerton around April 1 at the base of a 265-unit residential building just off the park.
The 68-seat restaurant (with another 18 at the bar and a 50-seat patio along Fullerton in warmer months) will feature more or less the same menu as Villardito's West Loop haunt, but with some exceptions. "You can't have West Loop chicken or veal when you're in Lincoln Park." He added there may be fried calamari instead of grilled, but that the signature meatball salad will still be the staple dish. Other specialties from chef Vic Perdue coming over include the rigatoni with pork gravy and the pork chop parmesan, which, according to Villardito is "to die for."
The create a party ambiance, Villardito plans to show classic black-and-white gangster films in the restaurant and sync them up to '60s and '70s Motown hits. "Everybody loves gangster movies," he said. "They love The Godfather and have fantasies about being a ganster themselves. Everyone loves Motown music. You can go into a restaurant and have fun and here you'll see movies and you'll hear it throughout the restaurant. It builds excitement." Too bad you have to wait until April.