Pizzeria via Stato (River North)

Pizzeria via Stato

620 N State



This casual sister restaurant to the popular Osteria Via Stato is a must-visit if you are in the mood for delicious Roman-style pizza in a comfortable setting.  Located just to the north of the Embassy Suites lobby on State in River North.  I am often skeptical of restaurants that are part of a large chain or company, but Lettuce Entertain You delivers on this venture.  We have dined with Pizzeria Via Stato three times in the last two months and have had three great experiences.  The pizzas are paper thin, flavorful, and seem to always be cooked perfectly.  The appetizers are delicious, the ingredients are fresh, and the menu items are very creative.  Favorites thus far are the Roasted Garlic, Sweet Onions, and the Classico Cheese Pizza (add Pepperoni of course).   I know these items don’t sound very fancy, but hey, it’s pizza, it should be simple.  The wine list is worth mentioning as well.  It is a basic representation of popular Italian varietals, all priced very reasonably, which really surprises me for LEY.  The last piece of the puzzle is the service.  The staff is very well trained, courteous, and works hard to make sure you feel as though you are a valued guest.

If you are one of the tens of thousands of people that call the River North neighborhood home, or if you are looking to move there, you should know that this area is a bit complicated with regard to Real Estate.  This location is pretty complex, with just a block making a huge difference in value, and the buildings are very different in terms of amenities, financial health, etc.  Values vary from building to building and you should be certain you are working with a Real Estate Professional that understands this market.  (Hint: we do!)

In general, this market is comprised of high-rises with several other options available in small quantities.  Check out these stats on available condos:

1 bed / 1+ bath: 233 units, $135k – $1.5M

2 bed / 1-2 bath: 213 units, $249k – $1.25M

3+ bed / 2+ bath: 84 units, $460k – $5M

Terragusto (on Armitage)

340 W Armitage



“We are proud to use the freshest local and sustainably grown ingredients, the best of which we professionally craft each day into great things to eat.”


Well, they should be proud, because that is just what they do.   This organic Italian neighborhood eatery is delightfully different, yet critically the same as it’s Roscoe Village sister.  The pasta is handcrafted daily and the menu is carefully chosen each month based on what is fresh and locally available.  Isn’t this the way it should be?


A true neighborhood spot, terragusto is a home run every time.  For those of that love the BYO factor at the Addison location, Armitage allows you to bring your own as well.  If perhaps you don’t have time to stop and pick up a bottle or two, they have a short, well written, and affordable list at this location only.


In case I forgot to mention, the menu does change monthly, so each visit is sure to be a fresh and new adventure.


This past Thursday I was dining with my friend and client Becky to celebrate the purchase of her new condo.  Our favorites from the November menu are:

tortelli di patate con funghi di bosco e origano fresco

pasta filled with potato in a rich mushroom ragu scented with fresh oregano, topped with parmigiano

tajarin d’alba

egg pasta ribbons tossed in a rich albese meat ragu with white wine & parmigiano reggiano


Don’t forget to make reservations.  Armitage is adding a second floor dining room right now, but I don’t imagine it will make it easier to walk in.


What is there not to love about Lincoln Park?  It’s not surprising this is on of Chicago’s most popular neighborhoods, offering everything from Architecture to retail, restaurants to parks, and let’s not forget, some of Chicago’s most expensive Real Estate.  As of today there are 172 Single Family Homes on the market priced from $530k to $10M.  If condos are more your speed, there is a wide range of building styles and sizes to choose from.  This is the breakdown of what is available:

1 Beds – 152 available, $105k – $526k

2 Beds – 304 available, $240k – $1.25M

3+ Beds – 247 available, $300k – $7.6M

Ryan’s Chili Recipe


3 Tablespoons Olive Oil

1 2/3 Large Chopped White Onions

1+ lb Ground Round

1 teaspoon Lawry’s Salt or Seasoned Salt

2 teaspoons Black Pepper

8 Cloves Garlic Finely Chopped

1 Habanero or Scotch Bonnet Pepper finely chopped (use gloves)

1 Hungarian Hot Pepper or Anaheim Pepper Deveined and Finely Chopped

1 Jalapeno Pepper Deveined and Finely Chopped

1 28 oz Can Muir Glen Chunky Tomato Sauce

2 15oz Cans Spiced Diced Tomatoes

1 15 oz Can Dark Red Kidney Beans (Drained and Rinsed)

1 15 oz Can Light Red Kidney Beans (Drained and Rinsed)

1 15 oz Can Butter Beans (Drained and Rinsed)

2 teaspoons Kosher Salt

1 teaspoon Ground Cumin

3 Tablespoons Chili Powder

4 Tablespoons Ancho Chili Powder

1 Tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce

1-3 (to taste) Tablespoon “Buffalo” Chipotle Pepper Hot Sauce

1 Teaspoon Paprika

1 Tablespoon Granulated Garlic

1/3 Finely Chopped White Onion

1 Cup of Jack/Cheddar Cheese Grated


  1. Begin by prepping all ingredients as indicated above.  This will help make assembly easy and stress free.
  2. In a 7+ L Stock pot, heat your pot on Med/High Heat.  I like to place my hand just inside the pot, DO NOT TOUCH THE POT, and when the heat is quite immediately apparent on your palm, add oil.  Add your Large Chopped Onions and cook for about 15 minutes, stirring every 3 minutes.  Depending on your heat, you are simply looking for the onions to appear somewhat translucent.  At this point, add your Ground Beef, Seasoned Salt, Black Pepper, Chopped Garlic, and Peppers.  Fold into onions and push around until beef is brown and no pink bits remain.  TRY TO BREAK BEEF INTO VERY SMALL BITS.
  3. Add remainder of ingredients thru Granulated Garlic.  Stir gently until well mixed.  Place Lid on Pot and cook on Medium, stirring every 5 minutes until boiling.  Once boiling, reduce heat to low, replace lid, and cook for 30 minutes.
  4. For best taste, prepare chili the day before, cool, and place in fridge over night.  Reheat on low heat.  If eating the same day, prepare chili early and allow to cool and reheat.
  5. Serve in big bowls topped with fine chopped onions and cheese and a big spoon.  I like to throw 5 or so townhouse crackers in the bowls as well.

Tallulah – Lincoln Square – Sarah Lawrence

4539 N. Lincoln – www.tallulahchicago.com

One of the great things about Chicago summers is eating out for brunch on the weekends. Tallulah just started serving brunch recently (they used to only serve dinner). This Lincoln Square restaurant pairs together interesting combinations to create delicious brunch dishes. The two entrees that I tried were the lobster eggs benedict and the braised rabbit skillet. Both were delicious, and not a morsel was left on the plate.
The service was wonderful, and the ambience sheik and inviting. They offer seating on an indoor/outdoor patio out back, which I highly recommend. Brunch will run you about $15/person and is well worth it.

The neighborhood: Lincoln Square. It’s boundaries are Foster to the north, Montrose to the south, Damen to the east, and the Chicago River to the west.

This is a wonderful area that’s comprised of both single family homes as well as condos. There are currently about 130 active condo listings ranging from $135k to $600k with the median being a 2 bedroom/2 bathroom home priced around $400k. There are currently about 40 single family homes on the market, ranging from $300k to $1.7M, with the median home priced around $750k.

Spacca Napoli – Ravenswood – Ryan Gossett

1769 W Sunnyside Ave – 773-878-2420 – www.spaccanapolipizzeria.com

Don’t miss this Ravenswood Italian Pizzeria offering a simple menu of light and airy pizza’s, tasty salads, and affordable yet delicious Italian wines.  Situated in the Ravenswood area of Lincoln Square, the location of Spacca Napoli has a very calm and inviting neighborhood feel.  The inside of the restaurant is tastefully designed with an open air space leaving the kitchen exposed to the dining room, allowing the aroma from the oven to tease your appetite.

With about a dozen Antipasti and Pizza choices the menu is easy to follow and the food is all delicious.  The dining room easily accommodates groups of all sizes, but as usual, the larger the group, the longer the wait.  All of the food items are very affordable ranging from $7 – $15 and wines in the $20 – $40 range making this a comfortable and inexpensive place to enjoy the company of your better half or a group of friends.  If you are one of the many Chicagoans who rely on public transportation, Spacca Napoli is easily reached by taking the Brown Line to the Montrose stop and walking west to Ravenswood, then South to Sunnyside.  Look to the west and you will see your destination.  Total walk time from the train will be less than 5 minutes.

Every wonder which way is up when you hear about one of the Chicago neighborhoods with “Ravenswood” in the name?  Well this one is simply “Ravenswood”.  Its boundaries are officially, Foster to the North, Montrose to the South, Leavitt to the West, and Clark to the East.  It is a beautiful community that is both family friendly and great for singles as well.  Getting to work is easy by both CTA and Metra.  Housing is comprised of a healthy blend of single family homes, condos, townhomes, and apartments.  Right now there are about 50 single family homes on the market priced from $300k to $3.3M with a median price of $870k.  The condo market is offering 150 active listings priced from $135k to $615k with the median condo being a 2 bed, 2 bath home priced at $299k.

Tapas Las Ramblas – Andersonville – Sarah Lawrence

5101 N. Clark

This wonderful tapas restaurant is brought to you by a former partner of Twist. After studying in Spain for a summer in college, I become intimately familiar with good tapas-style eating. While there are many tapas options in the city, I found Twist (in Lakeview/Wrigleyville) to be my all time favorite for its quality, price, and ambience. A friend who lives in Andersonville turned me onto Tapas Las Ramblas, and now it’s right there up there on my list of favorite tapas spots.

Tapas Las Ramblas has a menu with wide variety. Some favorites among my group of 4 included: baked goat cheese, grilled vegetables, bacon wrapped dates, and grilled lamb chops. We finished the meal with the carmelized banana and ice cream, which was heavenly.

This restaurant has it all – it sits amid the hot Andersonville strip, has a fun and inviting atmosphere, is a great value, has great service, and serves consistently delicious fare. You can expect to pay about $25 – $30 a person with alcohol.

The neighborhood: Andersonville, an old Scandinavian neighborhood, lies just north of Uptown.  Its borders are loosely defined by Lawrence Avenue on the south, Peterson on the north, Broadway on the east, and Damen on the west.

Andersonville is comprised of restaurants, boutique shopping, bars and both walk-up condos and single family homes.

There are currently 65 2 bedroom/2 bath units on the market that range from $229k to $479k, with the average being $350k.

There are currently 47 single family homes on the market that range from $449k to $2M, with the average being $700k.

Mixteco Grill – Ravenswood – Ryan Gossett

1601 W Montrose



Excellent, creative, and affordable Mexican food! Mixteco Grill, while packed every weekend, is still undiscovered in my opinion. They have recently expanded into the space next door to accommodate the drones of people that flock there every weekend, but I am afraid the word is continuing to spread.

We have been there three times now and the food is phenomenal. It would be great to have some Margaritas with the food, but the current BYO policy certainly makes this place a great value. From what our server told us, most of the folks in the kitchen have spent some time working for Rick Bayless, so that certainly explains the quality of the food.

The appetizers range from $6 to $8 and we normally get pretty full on 3-5. My favorites are the Tacos Ensenada, Uchepos Gratinados, and the Trio De Empanadas. I have had the Cochinita Pibil, slow roasted pork with an amazing orange sauce, from the entrée list, and it was also amazing.

The only negative is the interior, which appears to still be under construction, but quality of the food and service will leave you very pleased and excited to watch the ongoing development of the establishment.

If you are interested in living on the border of Ravenswood, Uptown, and Lakeview, within .5 miles of Mixteco, there is virtually everything available from size, style, quality, price, etc. For 1 bedroom condos, there are 34 available, ranging from $150k to $280k. For 2 and 3 bedroom condos, there are 188 on the market, ranging from $165k to $800k. If you are interested in single family homes, there are 46 available ranging from $390k to $2.5M.

  • Ryan Gossett

  • Sarah Lawrence

  • Nadine Shehaiber

  • Emily Gossett


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