Pizzeria Portofino, the latest concept from the RPM Restaurants crew, transports Chicagoans to the Italian Riviera—one slice at a time.
July 15, 2019 10:00 AM
In a city known for deep-dish pizza that can practically be found at every corner, it seems ambitious to even think of entering the pizza arena. But a group of Chicago’s favorite food entrepreneurs feel otherwise. The RPM team of partners including R.J., Jerrod and Molly Melman of Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises (LEYE), acclaimed Chef Doug Psaltis, and celebrity couple Bill and Giuliana Rancic aren’t reinventing the pizza space. Rather, they are setting out to complement the great pizza that already exists in Chicago.
Pizzeria Portofino opens this month on the Chicago riverfront. This casual Italian-Riviera inspired restaurant is a welcoming sun-drenched space with greenery overhead and floor-to-ceiling windows opening up the restaurant to the Riverwalk. Throughout the year, it will also offer expansive patio seating on its 130-foot outdoor terrace, offering Aegean cotton blankets from Serena & Lily during the cooler months.
Expect Chef Doug Psaltis to bring hand-stretched pizzas, fresh vegetable antipasti and creative artisan pastas to the menu. RPM Beverage Director Richard Hanauer will offer a robust and unique program of spritz drinks—the fizzy wine cocktails native to Padua, Italy—and approachable Italian coastal wines.
Psaltis is thrilled to be working with amazing salumi artisans in town, including Tony Fiasche from Tempesta. They’ll also be sourcing ingredients directly from Italy. “We depend on our great purveyors like Viola to provide imported fior di latte (cheese) we use for our hand-stretched pizzas. Two menu standouts for me—I love the simple Margherita with crushed Campania tomatoes, imported bufula fior di latte and fresh basil leaves. Also, the hand-stretched Focaccia di Stefano, a cheesy flatbread,” Psaltis shares. “It’s our take on traditional Focaccia di Recco, a regional specialty of Liguria where stracchino cheese is sandwiched between paper-thin sheets of focaccia and baked until crispy.”
Here are a few other menu standouts:
When people talk about spritzes, they can never quite recall what was in the drink; however, they remember where they had it. This is Hanauer’s goal. His spritzes, using Giuliana Rancic’s Giuliana Prosecco of course, are very creative, and he shared a few we definitely look forward to enjoying:
As for wine, this wine program is best enjoyed along the (Chicago) river and with food; they are very complementary to one another.
And later this fall, within the same space at Pizzeria Portofino, RPM Events On The Water will open its doors as a premier location for private events. RPM On The Water restaurant will open shortly after. Designed by award-winning architecture and design firm Rockwell Group, RPM On The Water will build on the culinary successes of RPM Italian and RPM Steak, and offer Chicago the world’s best fish and seafood paired alongside the RPM’s well-established steak program, award-winning wine lists and incredible service. All providing a waterfront backdrop from practically every vantage point.