Melissa Elsmo

Executive Chef Gaetano Di Benedetto, part food historian and part flavor hunter, has proudly run the kitchen at his namesake restaurant, Gaetano’s, in Forest Park for nearly a decade. He refers to his personalized approach to classic Italian dishes as “regional fusion” and delights in surprising guests with unexpected spice combinations. Despite taking occasional creative liberties, Chef Gaetano’s restaurant consistently delivers flavorful and traditional Italian dishes to Forest Park locals. 

Last month, Italian Expo, an interactive source of information about everything related to Italy, revealed their list of the top five Italian restaurants in Chicago, according to Italians. Gaetano’s earned a spot on the list in the number two position falling just behind Coco Pazzo in Chicago’s River North neighborhood. The recognition celebrates Gaetano’s as a standout among all Chicagoland Italian restaurants for offering the high-quality fare Italians crave and expect.

Chef Gaetano feels honored by the nod from Italian Expo. “There are so many Italian restaurants in Chicago that Forest Park can seem out of the picture,” says the proud chef, “but this recognition helps change that perception.”

Chef Gaetano’s menus feature passionate riffs on regional classics and folks clamor for a meal in his restaurant, but he has a lesser-known love for artisan charcuterie. Speaking about his house-made sausages, the chef says, “I love to make it, I love to eat it, and I love to share it.”

Savvy restaurant insiders know Gaetano’s salame felino, and other house-made artisan salamis can be purchased in the restaurant to enjoy at home. Chef Gaetano is using an authentic method and putting his personal touch on his pork sausages; the aged salame felino is prized for its delicate flavor and soft texture. Each salami, no matter the size, comes wrapped in beeswax and can be resealed for months of safe storage. 

Get in on the best kept Salami Secret in Forest Park: Gaetano’s House-Made Salamis regularly sell for $28/pound, but mention Oak Park Eats at the time of purchase and pay $20/pound through April 22nd. 


7636 W. Madison Ave

Forest Park, IL 60130


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