Three local Italian culinary powerhouses are joining forces to open a nostalgic neighborhood restaurant this month in Little Italy. Peanut Park Trattoria, perched on the corner of Taylor and Loomis streets, aims to establish itself as a cozy, casual haven serving handmade pasta and traditional favorites from Italy’s many regions. The new collaboration is born of old bonds: the father and son behind top-notch deli Tempesta Market and classical suburban stalwart Ristorante Agostino, as well as the owner of wildly popular thin-crust pizzeria Coalfire.
At the helm is Tony Fiasche, Tempesta’s resident salumi expert and son of Ristorante Agostino owner Agostino Fiasche. The younger Fiasche is eager to offer an experience akin to that of dining at his mother’s kitchen table. Joining them is longtime friend Dave Bonomi of Coalfire. The trio hope to reinvigorate Chicago’s historic Italian-American enclave. Davanti Enoteca spent 10 years in the space before closing in 2020.
“A lot of the Italian restaurants are kind of gone, so we want to bring that true Italian neighborhood place back to Taylor Street,” Tony Fiasche says. “It’s not pretentious, it’s not fussy — it’s a place where people can have a date on a Friday night or families can came in with their kids, where everyone feels welcome.”
Fiasche is a first generation Italian American who grew up in the kitchen of his father’s restaurant, founded in 1985 in on the Northwest Side in Montclare. Known for generous portions and a lively atmosphere, Ristorante Agostino is now temporarily closed for repairs after an electrical fire in June. The father-son duo garnered local acclaim when they opened Tempesta Market in 2019, successfully marrying modern sensibilities to the family’s 75-year salumi-making legacy. The deli in West Town has quickly cemented its reputation for creativity and excellent technique with thoughtful sandwiches, a popular brunch, and a robust retail section.
Peanut Park will feature a tight menu that’s focused on simplicity and isn’t restrained by regionality, in an approach Fiasche says is perhaps best encapsulated by its linguine alle vongole, made with just a handful of high-quality ingredients. “We’re not adding cream or wine, there’s no butter,” he says. “If you were to go to my mother’s house for lunch, that’s how you would eat it, so it’s special to us to showcase those simple, delicious things.”
Other kitchen specialties will include laminated and stuffed pastas made in house, a robust selection of salumi served with airy gnocco fritto, and hearty entrees such as whole branzino and bone-in ribeye with rapini gremolata. Despite the acclaim of Coalfire’s blistered thin-crust pies, the restaurant won’t debut with pizza. Fiasche still reserves the right to add it in the future as an appetizer or child-friendly option but doesn’t want to spread his team too thin. A finalized menu isn’t yet available, but would-be patrons can get a sneak peek at possibilities on the restaurant’s Instagram page. Diners can also expect a full bar and a list of domestic and Italian wines.
The restaurant’s corner space at 1359 W. Taylor Street includes a first floor dining room that seats 80 to 90 and is designed to exude rustic warmth with dark wood and exposed red brick. There’s also a rooftop deck with a retractable enclosure that fits up to 30, and though it won’t open in December, Fiasche envisions it as a cool spot for cocktails or parties once operations are running smoothly. The partners aren’t prepared to announce an opening date but expect to start serving before Christmas. They continue to search for employees.
Peanut Park Trattoria, 1359 W. Taylor Street, Scheduled to open in December.