photo: courtesy of Macello
Macello isn't a meat market, but it used to be. The meat hooks hanging from the ceilings in the lobby aren't just there for show. In its first life, the small, warehouse-type building was a small butchery and meat processing plant. A fire shuttered the place, but it's back in business.
The strange space has a lot of charm. The open, flowing dining area is framed by tall ceilings, exposed brick walls, and what would appear to be some of the original cooler doors, stressed, now, by time to shabby-chic perfection. The furniture evokes the feeling of sitting down to dinner in some rustic, Italian cottage while the brightly colored beach ball lamps hanging over the bar remind you that you're in the West Loop.
The wood-fired oven serves up pizzas and brings the heat to other entrees as well, notably the Risotto Torre a Mare, the delectable rice served over fresh mixed seafood with just the right amount of white wine sauce.
Macello also has a full bar and a decent wine list, with the focus on wines from the Puglia region, the Italian peninsula where the inspiration for these dishes originates.
Macello is a unique bright spot on the Italian sseafood and steak scene here. Regulars rave about the casual, inviting service, the ample street parking, and recommend you end your night with a glass of limoncello. It's wise to take that advice.
Average cost: $10-$20
Centerstage Reviewer: Bill Burman