Scott Harris announced the location of the city's second Davanti Enoteca yesterday: River North, inside the Marriott Courtyard at State and Hubbard. Although the second Italian chain from the Mia Francesca owner started on Taylor Street, until now its expansion has been focused in the suburbs and in San Diego and Scottsdale. But this second location which will be paired with another Glazed and Infused doughnut location will put him head to head with another Italian food neighborhood, just steps from Piccolo Sogno Due, RPM Italian and Siena Tavern, among others. As it happens, we were at Davanti when the news appeared in Crain's, shooting an upcoming episode of the Reader's Key Ingredient... with the chef who will be boots on the ground for the new location, Aaron Arnett. Though Davanti's recipes are developed by, among others, corporate chef Jaysen Euler, Arnett's background demonstrates what sets Davanti apart from similar Italian concepts (including its Francesca siblings).
Arnett most recently spent seven months at The Gage, but before that he worked for three years at The Purple Pig (in which Harris is a partner), and that restaurant's whole-animal-cooking, rustic-and-offal approach to cooking permeates Davanti's menu as well in a way that it doesn't other Italian concepts. Watch for Arnett espousing this approach in his Key Ingredient episode in about two weeks at the Reader.
Harris told Crain's he anticipates late July to early August as an opening, and if it's successful in the Marriott location, that could lead to substantial expansion with the hotel chain. The new location's menu will be largely the same as on Taylor Street, but will expand the cocktail menu and add breakfast seven days a week for the hotel, naturally.