This past weekend marked the one year anniversary of my latest favorite Italian spot in Chicago: Siena Tavern. And though the restaurant has not been around for long, it has quickly become a Chicago staple in the minds and bellies of Windy City foodies. I spoke to Lindsay Rosen, Marketing and Brand Manager at DineAmic Group about both of our favorite dishes, and the future of Chef Fabio Viviani’s hot spot…
“We pride ourselves not only on our food but our service and I think that’s something to be said. Siena Tavern is a part of everyone… we are all proud to work there. From Fabio to the servers – it trickles down and you can’t help but feel it. It’s only year one but I know we have many more in front of us.” – Lindsay Rosen
Walking into Siena Tavern always makes me feel like I’ve somehow gotten into an exclusive Italian dinner party, and all of the delicious pizza, pasta and dessert options make that inviting experience all the more welcome. Rosen sums up the goal and the reasoning behind the success of Siena Tavern better than I could ever have hoped, and it seems to be just the beginning for Fabio Viviani and his DineAmic Group team.
After only a year in Chicago, they are expanding the Siena Tavern brand to include another restaurant in Miami, Fla. and are continually “evolving and modifying the dishes to be the best they can be,” according to Rosen.
Some of my personal menu favorites here in Chicago are the epic meatball (so delicious it has it’s own Twitter), the potato gnocchi and seasonal specials like the Butternut Squash Tortellacci, which I am still praying will become a full-time addition. Rosen also acknowledges the popularity of the tortellacci, but says her favorite is the fresh Farro Salad.
“My favorite dish at Siena? EASY. The Farro Salad! It is the best salad in Chicago, hands down. I know, a bold statement, but it is. […] The Farro Salad is a salad in nature but it’s a satisfying meal. I am a very clean eater and this just hits the spot – you get your veggies, your carbs, and your protein in one bowl. Really. Lunch or dinner… it works!”
Aside from that, Rosen stands by the great wine list at the restaurant, and would choose the Pistachio gelato over any other. There will be new gelato flavors coming in the springtime, as well as some new seasonal menu items including more salads, but she is tight lipped about specifics. Also upcoming, aside from the launch of the Miami restaurant in late summer 2014, will be another Fabio LIVE! cooking demonstration. After the success of the fall brunch event, where Viviani cooked some of his favorite dishes for a packed house of diners, the spring one will be even bigger and better.
Rosen praises the man behind Siena, calling Top Chef-contender Viviani “sincere, sweet and super hardworking.” It has been he who helped the Chicago team “to keep creating experiences for people to remember forever,” whether that’s a great custom cocktail after work, having an exceptional encounter with one of the Siena Tavern staff, or stuffing your face with their now famous Pasta in a Jar. No matter what you are looking for as a Chicago patron, Rosen promises that Siena Tavern will deliver.
“Siena Tavern can be a bar, a lounge, an oven coalfire pizza restaurant, a dining experience, a private dining experience, a late night drinking scene, a patio to relax for happy hour. The flexibility and ability to be whatever you want it to be makes Siena Tavern unique.” Time to jump on board and eat up Chicago!