Pasta, Pizza and the 1893 World's Fair
But ask yourself this: what has it done for you lately?
Starting this evening, it gives you Ristorante Al Teatro, a Chicago World's Fair–themed trattoria making its long-awaited bow tonight in Pilsen.
Think of Al Teatro as the restaurant version of The Devil in the White City. Taking over 18th Street's historic Thalia Hall, the landmark 1892 opera house that Chicago's Czech immigrants built with their bare hands, Teatro offers you your own gilded age—stepping inside, your eyes will feast on brass cash registers, golden railings, hand-painted murals (racy ones at that) and an Antique Roadshow's worth of 1893 World's Fair posters.
Meanwhile, you and your date will feast on house-made pasta, gnocchi, lasagna and glasses of Chianti. Or better yet, grab a seat at perhaps Chicago's most beautiful pizza bar (it's a trompe l'oeil of the original Thalia stage) and marvel as a pizzaiolo stretches the dough of your wood-fired, goat-cheese-and-pesto-topped Pizza Al Galletto (one of 20 authentic pies offered).
Finish things off with a house-roasted espresso, or maybe some spumoni cheesecake. The owners are the same ones behind Wicker Park's Caffe Gelato, so they know their way around a chocolate-dipped cannoli.
Which is always a good thing.