Lupa, Mario Batali’s Roman osteria on Thompson Street, has a loyal following, so Steve Connaughton’s imminent departure likely won’t affect volume. (The customers barely twitched when former chef Mark Ladner left for Del Posto.) Co-owner Jason Denton says he has moved Connaughton to a new venture at 323 Third Avenue to open in March, but he’s quiet about other details. We hear from an industry source that Connaughton’s replacement will likely come from within the Batali-Bastianich family, if not from within Lupa itself. Who will be the lucky chef?