Bar Siena heads to the suburbs

When a restaurant group has a popular franchise, as is the case with Siena Tavern and Bar Siena, two popular Italian-American restaurants in River North and West Loop, expansion seems the next logical step. The owners of DineAmic Hospitality had been considering a second Bar Siena for several years, but the pandemic thwarted and then delayed their plans. But now it’s finally opening, not in the city, but in the Westfield Old Orchard shopping center in Skokie.

“A lot of people who live in the suburbs want an urban dining experience at a brand in the city they’ve been to before, but they don’t want to go all the way to town,” says Lucas Stoioff, co-owner of DineAmic. .

Several other restaurants and restaurant groups, including Le Colonial and Ballyhoo Hospitality (Sophia Steak, Pomeroy), have recently announced suburban adventures to cater to customers who, for whatever reason – working from home, road building, sheer laziness – no longer want to go to town for dinner. DineAmic itself will open a second location of its new Mediterranean restaurant Lyra in Oakbrook in the fall, and Old Orchard is already home to outposts of Hampton Social and Uncle Julio’s. But Bar Siena Old Orchard has special sentimental value for Stoioff: it was the mall where he hung out as a teenager. More precisely: it’s only a few steps from the movie theater where he spent most of his time.

The Siena Old Orchard bar will have the same menu as the West Loop location to begin with.

In many ways, Bar Siena Old Orchard is not much different from the original Bar Siena. The pasta, steak, pizza and bomboloni menu for dessert will, for now, be exactly the same, although Stoioff and chef Fabiano Viviani plan to add special venue-specific dishes in a few months once they will have a better idea of ​​their customers. ‘ tastes and preferences. “We don’t like opening prototype restaurants,” says Stoioff. “We try to bring a personal touch for a specific market.”

But the restaurant’s design capitalizes on the suburban virtue of the space. It spans 8,500 square feet with two entrances, one from the mall itself and one from the parking lot. The entrance to the mall will lead directly to a wine bar with a patio and lounge seating that Stoioff envisions as a haven for weary shoppers who just want a glass of wine and a quick bite. The parking lot side, meanwhile, will feature a 3,000-square-foot pergola that seats 100 people, a living wall with flowers and ivy, and a retractable roof and heaters where, according to Stoioff, guests can dine at outdoors all year round.

A group of tables next to a brick wall with a mural of an Aperol bottle.

The mall entrance leads to a wine bar.

A marble bar in front of a selection of wines and spirits.

A patio with pendant lights and tables and chairs in the foreground and an ivy covered wall in the back.

The entrance from the parking lot has a large patio covered by a pergola with a retractable roof and walls and heaters for meals in all seasons.

A patio with wooden tables and chairs, glass ceiling and walls.

The main dining room is, like its downtown counterpart, decorated with exposed brickwork and hand-painted murals and a huge sculptural iron tree decorated with LED lights that forms a canopy over the entire restaurant, giving the impression of a festive garden. At the heart of the space is an open kitchen with a handmade brick pizza oven.

A man uses a paddle to remove a pizza from a red tile dome pizza oven.

The open kitchen has a handmade brick pizza oven.

Strands of wrought iron covered in lights climb a pillar and arch above tables and chairs and curved banquettes.

Much like at the original Bar Siena in the West Loop, an iron shaft forms a canopy over the dining area.

A large dining room with tables and chairs, lit by LED lights hanging from an iron tree.  An open kitchen is in the background.

Already, says Stoioff, Bar Siena Old Orchard has received overwhelming support from the North Shore community through social media. As a sign of goodwill, the restaurant will donate 100% of its opening weekend proceeds to a GoFundMe to support the victims of last Monday’s shooting in Highland Park and their families.

“We built our business in the city,” Stoioff says, “and now we’re opening a place for people who have been some of our biggest fans. It means something to us.

Scroll down to see some menu highlights.

Bar Siena Old Orchard, 4999 Old Orchard Road, Suite A2, Skokie, open 3-10 p.m. Sunday-Thursday and 3-11 p.m. Friday-Saturday, reservations via open table.

A plate with charred tentacles and a squeezed lemon.

Grilled octopus.

A grilled chicken spread on a plate with greens and potatoes and a charred lemon.

Brick chicken diavolo.

A Neapolitan pizza sprinkled with parmesan cheese.

Burnt pepperoni pizza.

A plate of small potato dumplings and green vegetables topped with grated parmesan.

Sausage and rapini gnocchi.

A meatball covered in tomato sauce and a dollop of ricotta.

Roasted meatball.

Two people clink glasses together.

There is a full cocktail menu at the bar.

1146 Wilmette Ave, Wilmette, IL 60091

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