The Return of One of Chicago Dining's Oldest Names, at J. Rocco Italian Table & Bar

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Steven Chiappetti Photo: courtesy Isabelli Media Relations

Steven Chiappetti literally has one of the oldest names in Chicago food— his family's business, Chiappetti Lamb & Veal, is the last remaining slaughterhouse in the Stockyard District. But he also made the name stand out in the 1990s with some of the key restaurants of that era, most notably Mango, which he described to Michael Nagrant in 2006 as "one of the only ones with a chef-driven concept, besides Scott Harris. There was a need for it in the market. People wanted that simplicity and freshness. By 2000, chef-driven restaurants were everywhere." He competed in the Bocuse d'Or, he opened Rhapsody, which had a decade-plus run next to the Symphony Center, and most recently had Viand in the Courtyard by Marriott, but he also took time out of restaurant kitchens to launch a line of gourmet products and to pursue photography. And now he's back to River North— a block from where Mango was— with J. Rocco Italian Table & Bar in River North, at 749 N. Clark. In a neighborhood of grandiose concepts, he's aiming for a relaxed Italian restaurant— with a hydroponic greenhouse where he plans to grow his own herbs and microgreens. It's set to open in May. [Dish]