A silver anniversary is definitely a cause for celebration, especially in the culinary world. So many restaurants open today and close for good tomorrow, and even fewer manage to forge a culinary identity and to become a household name. Maggiano’s Little Italy is one of the few remarkable success stories. Since 1991, Maggiano’s restaurants have consistently delivered staple Italian dishes in a friendly and relaxed atmosphere – always reinventing, always passionate about food.
After serving millions of gnocchi and manicotti and tons of prime New York steaks and chicken marsala, it was time to take a break and to celebrate – and what better place to throw a party than the original Maggiano’s restaurant, on Clark&Grand in downtown Chicago? I answered yes to Maggiano’s invitation and brought my friend Marina along, as a guest. 🙂The party was just getting started when we arrived, and we had a blast having our pictures taken in the photo area. I was particularly impressed with the ice sculpture in the hallway, which I thought was a very cool way to celebrate Maggiano’s 25 year milestone. That was real ice, and it looked absolutely gorgeous!
On the food front, the burrata ravioli were my favorite. Creamy and succulent, the ravioli exhibited a lightness which made me come back for more. I also enjoyed the roasted vegetable pasta (chock full of delicious carrots and mushrooms) and the roast pork loin, which was served with a side of iron rings and with various home made dressings.
Can a truly authentic Italian dinner ever be complete without cannoli? The answer is no, of course. The cannoli I tried at Maggiano’s celebration were light and had a wholesome mascarpone filling, and the shells were crispy, yet they also miraculously melted in your mouth. The cannoli shared the menu with a quintessential American dessert: mini cheesecakes, perfumed with vanilla and enriched by dollops of whipped cream. I have a very sweet tooth, and the desserts at Maggiano’s did not disappoint!
My friend Marina and I had a great time at Maggiano’s Little Italy celebration in downtown Chicago. Throughout the evening we learned interesting facts about the story – and history! – of this restaurant from Maggiano’s President and Vice Presidents, as well as from former and current employees. This was also a good opportunity to socialize in an informal environment and to try out flavorful food, which tells a story. Last but not least, I was over the moon to travel downtown and to check out Chicago’s night skyline, as beautiful as ever. Life in a cosmopolitan city clearly has its perks 🙂
*Disclaimer: I was not financially compensated by Maggiano’s Little Italy for this post. All opinions expressed here are my own.