Arturo Aucaquizpi has spent his last 20 or years as executive chef at Chicago steakhouse stalwart Gene & Georgetti. The Ecuadorian native is now heading out on his own, taking over another Chicago classic, the Mirabell. In about three weeks, he said he’s opening Mirabella Italian Cuisine inside the space at 3454 W. Addison St.
He’ll focus on Italian food from the Tuscan region and serve a few different steaks which will differ from Gene & Georgetti. Expect to find gluten-free pastas and his new signature dish: Chicken Mirabella—half a chicken roasted with pickled sweet peppers and pepperoncini. Aucaquizphi arrived in America in 1992, and his desire to open his own restaurant has grown with age.
"This was my first goal when I come to America when I was 16," he said.
Aucaquizpi also worked at the Golden Ox, the classic German restaurant that stayed open for 77 years at Clybourn and North avenues. It’s only coincidental that his new restaurant will be inside another classic German spot, Mirabell, which closed last year. They’ll have TVs for Cubs fans coming to and from Wrigley Field along Addison Street. It’s been a family affair getting the space ready, with relatives chipping in to help renovate the space. They haven’t done major work, as the space was already spruced up when Mirabell shifted to M Pub.
Aucaquizpi said he has about two more weeks working at Gene & Georgetti. Management has been supportive of Aucaquizpi. Gene & Georgetti managing partner, Michelle Durpetti, provided a statement:
"Here at Gene & Georgetti and in the spirit of founder Gene Michelotti’s pursuit of the American Dream, we cultivate the essence of entrepreneurship and are proud when our employees seek to pursue their dreams. Arturo came to us asking for our blessing with his new venture and we are proud to stand by him and his decision."