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What's on the Menu at Ombra, Opening Tonight

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At night, the cases are filled with cicchetti like roasted beets, eggs tonnato and calamari salad
At night, the cases are filled with cicchetti like roasted beets, eggs tonnato and calamari salad

[Photo: Jason Little]

When you have a restaurant that's just too big, don't close it. Just break it up into two spots. That's what Marty Fosse and Tim Rasmussen, who also own Anteprima up the street, did with Acre. What emerged is Ombra, a vibrant space that took over the north side of Acre. And just like finding something new from something old here, the design does the same.

Fosse and Rasmussen enlisted Davide Nanni, who also did the eclectic design for Ruxbin and Simone's, to create the welcoming and energetic (if not slightly difficult to navigate) Ombra. For anyone who ever visited Acre, the room is now unrecognizable. Before it was one large space with muted colors, banquettes along the wall and wood tables in the middle. Now, it resembles more of a saloon with reclaimed wood, booths that line up like stage cars featuring leather seats made of vintage jackets, found objects throughout and a lengthy countertop case to showcase the variety of cicchetti (essentially Italian tapas) that make up a majority of Ombra's menu.

The ornate booths offer more of a private dining experience while the wide open back room offers communal seating beneath an intricate art display. Throughout the restaurant, old Italian newspapers have been made into wallpaper. And where the 78-seat room itself is definitely a showpiece, the menu offers an array of fresh, seasonal food (that will likely often change as things do at Anteprima) that will keep you returning to discover new tastes.

Chef Carlos Ysaguirre and chef de cuisine Pedro Aguilar have created a seasonally focused menu based on the cuisine of Tre Venezia (Veneto, Friuli, Trentino with a touch of Piedmont tossed in for fun) broken into 11 categories including cicchetti, insalate, panini, tramezzini (Italian finger sandwiches), fritti, crudi and others (see the full menu below). Where Anteprima is a classic trattoria, Ombra is the opposite. "The idea is that it's really a neighborhood place where people can stop in for a quick snack and a glass of wine and move on," Fosse said. "With this, it's more about sharing."

Ombra will focus on dinner service for the time being, but Fosse said they're targeting late February or early March to launch lunch Friday through Sunday. He said they may eventually open up the space during weekdays as a coffee bar with pastries and other bites, but for now, that's just something Fosse is still formulating in his head. Let's hope it comes together soon.

Ombra's Menu

Anteprima

5316 North Clark Street, , IL 60640 (773) 506-9990 Visit Website

Acre

5308 N. Clark Street, Chicago, IL 60640 (773) 334-7600 Visit Website

Ombra

5310 North Clark, Chicago, IL 60660

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