Italian food fans will soon have another option in Oak Park with the news that the owner of La Notte Café in Berwyn will be opening a second location in Downtown Oak Park.
Owner Giovanni Matteo Mancini said in a telephone interview that the new location – which is expected to open as early as late July – will operate under the name La Notte Ristorante Italiano and will be located at 118 N. Marion St. in the location formerly occupied by Aripo's Venezuelan Arepa House.
"I want to kind of duplicate what I did in Berwyn for the past 10 years – fine Italian with a casual atmosphere," Mancini told the Oak Park Board of Trustees on June 6, just before the board unanimously approved a liquor license for the establishment.
"The menu is going to be a little bit more reduced from what I have right now, but it's going to have a lot of the same things," Mancini said.
He noted that like with his Berwyn location, the menu at La Notte is flexible.
"They can actually change the menu and ask for things that are not on the menu, and as long as I have the ingredients, I will make them whatever they want," he told the board.
La Notte Café has operated in Berwyn for the last 10 years, but Mancini, an Oak Park resident who was born and raised in Italy, said he looks forward to opening a location in his hometown.
"I've been in the business all my life," he said. "I'm coming back home to where I belong."
He said the new location is about 1,900 square feet, including the kitchen and will seat approximately 60-65 people. Mancini also hopes to include four to five tables in a sidewalk dining area.
The new La Notte is slightly smaller than the Berwyn location, which seats 85 and includes an outdoor deck.
Mancini said almost everything at the restaurant is handmade fresh and cooked to order.
He said the Berwyn restaurant has grown a reputation that draws patrons from Oak Park, River Forest and other cities in the western suburbs as well as Chicago. He expects the Oak Park location to have a similar draw.
"A lot of people come from the outside because the name is pretty well-known," he said.
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