The former Standard Market Grill space on the northwest corner of Fullerton and Clark will soon house a new Italian restaurant featuring thin-crust pizzas from a longtime employee of Phil Stefani’s Signature Restaurants. Casati’s should open in early August at 444 W. Fullerton Parkway.
Stefano Casati is a native of Florence, Italy and has worked at various restaurants during his time in America. The pizza he’ll serve is a variation of Neapolitan; he said it’s a style he hasn’t seen in Chicago. It won’t have the soft, doughy feel Neapolitan pies have, he said. It’s thin and crispy throughout and garnished with traditional toppings. It sounded similar to the pizzas at Pisolino, the Avondale Italian gem. Customers will be able to hold a slice in the air and the crust won’t sag. They’ll be baked in a hybrid gas/wood oven. The inspiration from the pizza actually comes from a California restaurant where Casati worked.
Casati’s most recent job was managing Stefani’s Bar Cargo in River North wich serves square-cut Roman-style pies. He sees the connection between culture and food and hopes his restaurant can enhance that bond. Through his Italian accent, he talks about wanting to create a modern Italian kitchen: “To eat the way Italians eat in Italy right now.”
The 65- to 75-item menu will be massive with appetizers, pastas, and a steak prepared “like where I’m from.” The desserts will be simple: tiramisu, panna cotta, and profiteroles. Casati’s will start with dinner service and hopefully add weekend brunch. Casati mentioned he may also open for lunch on select dates to offer specials. It’ll have a bar with Italian and local beers, as well as wine and cocktails.
Before Standard closed in August, the large space — which also features an outdoor patio — called Zapatista and Emilo’s Tapas home. Casati is busy at work with his team on construction and hopes to share more details in the coming months.