Chicago Cubs manager Joe Maddon and Spiaggia’s Michelin-starred chef Tony Mantuano are teaming up to open a casual bar and restaurant near Wrigley Field focusing on Polish and Italian immigrant fare—Maddon and Mantuano’s roots. Levy Restaurants will operate the new venture.
The two met when Maddon and his wife, Jaye Sousoures, began dining at Spiaggia. Just before Christmas, Mantuano and some Levy staff flew to meet Maddon in his hometown of Hazleton, Pa. Maddon took them to a dive bar where he ordered food and Crown Royal shots and took them to a few other spots to give them the feel of the blue-collar town where he grew up with Italian and Polish grandmothers. Mantuano’s Italian roots growing up in blue-collar Kenosha resonated with Maddon and the restaurant idea took off.
That connection created the basis for the as-yet-unnamed, two-floor restaurant being designed by Rachel Crowl’s FC Studio that is slated to open during this baseball season at the southeast corner of Clark and Waveland in the Plaza Building at the Park at Wrigley. The area just outside Wrigley Field comprises Budweiser Brickhouse Tavern, Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams, Lucky Dorr, Starbucks Reserve Bar and the forthcoming Hotel Zachary, which will feature restaurants such as Mordecai, Smoke Daddy, Big Star and West Town Bakery.
The new venture will feature Italian and Polish charcuterie platters; Haluski-style papardelle with cabbage, bacon and onions; Mantuano’s sausage and escarole pie; and wood-oven roasted pierogi with butter and herbs. The kitchen will have a wood oven, wood grill and a custom-made smoke box.
“Our grandparents cooked on fire and that’s a lot of what we’re going to be doing,” Mantuano said. “The more Joe and I started talking and learning about food from our childhoods, it struck a chord. It’s food that comes from the soul more than anything.”
Maddon, a wine aficionado, has been putting together ideas for the list, which will include plenty of bottles around $25, including Italians and Spanish varietals.
Expect to see Maddon in the restaurant after games greeting fans and also hanging out on the second floor, doing live radio shows with the players and Cubs celebrity fans like Eddie Vedder and Bill Murray, he said.