If nothing else, Italian food entrepreneur Scott Harris keeps Taylor Street guessing with his blizzard of concepts. Besides his long-running Francesca on Taylor, he had the very authentic, very short-lived Aldino’s (a block or two off the main strip) and will shortly have its successor, the CooKoo Room, in the same space. In the meantime, the former La Vita space at 1359 W. Taylor appears to have been the intended location for an announced Neapolitan pizza place along the lines of Lincoln Park’s Nella Pizzeria Napoletana, but that project ground to a halt even before Harris and co-owner/pizzaiolo Nella Grassano had a messy falling-out.
Now the La Vita space is going to be Davanti Enoteca, described as “a rustic wine bar and restaurant that will feature shareable Italian plates.” The name, he says, roughly translates as “joint across the street” (from Francesca on Taylor). The menu will include “small plates of vasi (jars of spreads), boards (tableside presentations of dishes such as the mascarpone polenta and ragu of the day), classic antipasti and salads.” Most interestingly, the wine bar will also offer bottles for retail sale, which can be consumed with your meal for a $7 corkage fee. Even with the corkage, that could make for significant savings and should help attract the student crowd.
Harris seems determined to make it clear that this won’t be another Aldino’s, too purist for the tourists: “Davanti’s menu is really inspired by the dishes that we’ve discovered from our travels across the country. The Francesca’s chefs and I have been traveling from New York to Los Angeles to San Francisco and all over the country to get a complete vision of how chefs are defining rustic, Italian cuisine.” Hmm, what Italian-food-producing region of the globe is missing from that list?
Davanti Enoteca will open Wednesday, September 8th for dinner, and begin serving lunch the next week.