And here we were, assuming that when Joe Flamm opened his own restaurant, it'd be a classic Italian spot. After all, the Bravo's Top Chef Season 15 winner is just wrapping his stint as executive chef at Spiaggia, one of Chicago's most prestigious Italian restaurants. And he even once told the Robb Report: "My goal is to open my own Italian restaurant." But now we have more details on Joe's forthcoming spot — and it'll be a little different than we expected.
The new restaurant will serve Italian fare, but with a twist. Food and Wine got the scoop, revealing that the Chicago restaurant will specialize in Italian food with a major Croatian influence. Joe's wife, Hillary, is Croatian, and the couple traveled through the country shortly before they had their son, Luka. Joe told the magazine that he loved the food in Croatia, especially the bites that were cooked up over a charcoal grill. And so, when he opens his restaurant — probably sometime next summer — it'll feature a large charcoal grill.
Though menu details are still being finalized, the Top Chef alum hinted that there could be whole grilled fishes with crispy skin, clam dishes, lamb sandwiches wrapped up in fluffy pita, and a condiment inspired by a roasted-pepper sauce that's found in Croatia.
In terms of ambiance, Joe said: "I want this place to feel the same as if you came to a party at my house. Super approachable and comfortable, that’s the biggest thing. You eat the food and it’s really technique-driven, but it’s a place where anyone feels they could come in and have really great food and fun wine. That community party atmosphere."
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