After a little more than two years, Theo Gilbert is switching gears. His Terragusto - above Geja's Cafe and next door to the Park West Theater - will serve its final meals this Saturday, then re-open next Wednesday, May 18th, as a more casual concept: pastaterra.
"The place on Armitage has never gotten up to speed where we wanted it to," Gilbert said. "I brought on a couple of different people I thought were going to free me up to work on some other projects, but that hasn’t happened."
Gilbert will continue to operate the original Terragusto in Roscoe Village, known for its wide front windows through which passersby could watch them make pasta everyday. But he says his Lincoln Park location was taking up so much of his time that he was unable to focus on his next project in the suburbs.
"I need to free myself up from the stoves, so we’re going to reconcept the one on Armitage. We’re distilling it into what everyone knows – the fresh pasta – and really just boiling it all down to that," he said.
That means there'll be about four antipasti items such as soup, salad and meat or vegetable plates; there will also be 13 homemade pastas. For dessert, just two or three items, like panna cotta or tiramisu in a cup.
The price points will be lower, and the whole concept will be more casual: you'll order and pay at the counter, then sit down and have your food delivered to your table. Pastaterra will be open for lunch Wednesdays - Saturdays, and will serve dinner six nights a week.
As for his suburban project, (Gilbert won't say where, exactly, but the restaurant's website says Glencoe) he's hoping to open in the Fall. He says it will be both fine-dining and family-friendly, with a fast-service aspect and a fairly developed local and sustainable market, which will be able to sell packaged wine.