Owners Jeff and Maureen Muldrow closed Va Pensiero in early April, leaving an uncertain future for the 21-year-old Evanston fine dining fixture. Today, the building’s owner, who also runs the Margarita Inn above the restaurant on Oak Avenue, tells us he has purchased Va Pensiero with plans to rename it “Va P” and open it as a “more accessible, less stuffy” incarnation of the restaurant. ”
Jeff basically abandoned the restaurant,” says Pure. “He handed me the keys and walked.”
Pure decided to take on the task of “refreshing” Va Pensiero, keeping most of the veteran kitchen staff including the sous chef and grillmaster who have been in the kitchen for 12 and 20 years, respectively. He is currently searching for an executive chef, but has retained all of Muldrow’s recipes. He plans on‚ integrating‚ sustainable menu items and‚ bringing the wine list “back to where it was.” Pure says Va Pensiero’s food was always phenomenal, and he wants to continue that tradition while revamping the “too formal” dining room.
There’s no opening date set for the new Va P while Pure files the requisite permits with the city.