The past, often misconstrued as a simpler time, can take on a potent allure during these recent chaotic times and escapism is well-trodden ground for restaurants where elaborate pop-ups themed around long-canceled TV shows and a regular rotation of speakeasy-style bars that invoke Prohibition-era mystery are the norm.
While some prefer to dip their toes into this nostalgia, DineAmic Hospitality co-owners Lucas Stoioff and David Rekhson dive in. The duo behind more than a dozen spots including Radio Room in River North and Greek restaurant Lyra in West Loop, will next week raise the curtain on Fioretta, a luxe mid-century Italian steakhouse on the ground floor of 320 N. Sangamon Street in Fulton Market.
Fioretta, which means “little flower” in Italian, has been in the works for more than a year but cascading supply chain issues pushed the opening date and forced significant changes in DineAmic’s plans. Top Chef competitors and brothers Michael and Bryan Voltaggio were originally slated to run the steakhouse kitchen but the delays made the partnership impossible. Stoioff and Rekhson say they remain friendly with the Voltaggios and hope to work together in the future.
Stoioff and Rekhson say their distinctive approach to both steakhouses and Italian restaurants is what the neighborhood lacks: a highly stylized reimagining of a 1950s venue where one might encounter Mad Men’s Don Draper, Old Fashioned in hand. The owners of two other Fulton Market steakhouses, BLVD Steakhouse and Swift & Sons, may have something to say about how unique the concept is, and Stoioff says it was challenging in creating something different.
“There are so many old-school Italian restaurants,” Stoioff says. “There’s a wealth of history and nostalgia from this type of project, and we’ve created our own narrative and voice within that larger context.”
For Italian American chef Joe Rizza, a partner at DineAmic steakhouse Prime & Provisions, it’s a story he knows well. A Bridgeport native, his menu includes Southern Italian dishes that balance opulence with lighter fare like savory appetizers inspired by Italian pastries like a parmesan rosemary zeppole with caviar. The team is extruding pasta in the kitchen but diners should expect delicate dishes meant to complement, not replace, a hearty steak cooked among the embers inside a solid-fuel open kitchen.
“The beef will spend a lot of time among the embers and wood, which will give it that flavor and nuance,” Rekhson says. “In some cases it will take 30 to 40 minutes, but the result is going to be worth the wait.”
The 8,200 square-foot space is lined with walnut paneling with eye-catching details in nearly every corner. Toward the north, there’s a sunken bar section featuring an Italian marble chess board floor and green mohair booths, all flanked by a large curved bar, DJ booth, and stage for live music. On the south side lies the dining room, aglow in rose and lavender tones, spacious plush booths, dark leather chairs, and granite-inlay tables.
Look around Fioretta and explore its menu in the photographs below.
Fioretta, 320 N. Sangamon Street, scheduled to open Monday, April 17.