Sarah Grueneberg

Credit Brambilla-Serrani

Credit Brambilla-Serrani

Monteverde

1020 W Madison street
Chicago
United States
+1.312.8883041

One of our most interesting discoveries in Chicago is called Monteverde. It’s the totally-pasta-focused restaurant of volcanic Sarah Grueneberg (her surname means Green Mountain in German, hence  the Italian Monteverde). Born in 1981 in Houston («I’m from Texas, I don’t need a microphone when I speak»), she moved to Illinois in 2005 and worked for many years next to Tony Mantuano, her mentor at restaurant Spiaggia, where she became executive chef in 2010.

She had reinforced her love for Italian cuisine with a series of experiences in Italy. «It is in Nadia Santini’s kitchen», she recalls, «that I learnt to cook pasta risotto-style. It was our staff meal». So much so that in January 2016 she opened a “ristorante e pastificio” (it’s indeed written in Italian) in the West Loop, in the Illinois metropolis. It soon became a case study, seating 300 people per night, in a vertiginous turnover with high decibel, dim lights and the very luminous station of the rezdora (a real Italian woman from Bologna) who never stops rolling out pasta and filling tortelli and ravioli.

The menu is an ode to durum wheat and fresh egg pasta: there’s Pasta tipica (Sardinian gnocchetti, pumpkin tortelloni, spaghetti alla chitarra) and Pasta atipica (Arrabbiata with prawns or Cacio Whey Pepe). Plus a series of single-course-dishes to be shared, following the American imperative. A tribute to pasta that has no equal, not even in Italy. Why so? «Because I want to show Americans», Sarah says assertively, «that spaghetti and tagliatelle can be much more than easy food for many people». An ambassador. 

Meanwhile, she’s flooded with awards: Food & Wine’s "Best Restaurant in America" and in Bon Appetit’s American 50 Best.

by

Gabriele Zanatta

born in Milan, 1973, freelance journalist, he's been working as a co-author and coordinator of Identità Golose World restaurant guidebook since the first edition (2007), he is a contributor for several magazines and teaches Cuisine global trends into several institutes. twitter @gabrielezanatt