Food & Drink

A taste of Italy near DePaul

A chance encounter can have major financial implications, although if you didn't expect to pay $100 to repair your Illinois Ave hotel, you shouldn't have made your way into real estate. For the dudes behind Forza -- a vacationing Aussie and an Italy-trained chef who became friends after meeting at a bar -- their chance encounter spawned a classic 75-seat restobar channeling the boot with a hostess stand made from a Vespa and a copper hued ceiling sporting cream-colored light fixtures, which may well illuminate the Sunchoke of Your Love.

Having worked in a number of decorated Florentine joints, the aforementioned chef grew tired of their lack of bacon-wrapped flatscreens and returned to his native Chi, then started working up small plates like fontina & saffron arancini, crispy garlic-parm bread w/ gorgonzola fondue, and mascarpone polenta poured tableside and covered with the sauce of the day. Primis count organic-duck-egg bucatini carbonara, and ricotta ravioli w/ brown-butter-sage sauce & white truffle oil, while Neopolitan-esque 'zas include an anchovy-topped white pie with aged caciocavallo/caramelized sweet onions/rosemary Nonno Peppino, not that you'll live long enough to be a grandfather if you keep eating them.

In the liquid department, the 50-strong wine list has a sparkling emphasis on Proseccos, while cocktails come from an ex-Mastro's mixmeister, who infused Don Julio w/ jalapeno to make the agave/pineapple/cider Caldo Labbra -- order too many for your date, and she may just show the community her chest.