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05.14.2010
Open> Restaurant
Accanto by Maria Rubino and Miller + Miller
STEVEN JOHNSON

Accanto
2171 North Milwaukee Avenue
Chicago
Tel: 773-227-2727
Designers: Maria Rubino and Miller + Miller

In the corner of an industrial-looking block in Logan Square, a new high-end Italian eatery is combining sparse minimalism with Tuscan building traditions. Evoking the ceilings of the villas of the region, large custom-made plywood beams define the top of the triangular room. Dark wooden tables, brown leather banquettes, antique mirrors, and panels of white, textured linen enhance the rustic quality of the space. On a tiled wall, a flat screen shows old Italian movie posters, and behind the waiter’s corner, a large wooden panel recalls Tuscan millwork doors. Owner and first-time restaurateur Maria Rubino aimed for a “simple and elegant” atmosphere that was “comfortable, but not stuffy.” In collaboration with architect Ashley Miller, principal at Miller + Miller, Rubio added stainless-steel elements for a contemporary finish. Among these are four drum-shaped pendants with a burnt orange finish on the inside, creating an amber glow in the evenings. Frosted windows and a tiled floor further add to the cosmopolitan character. “We wanted to pull the Italian traditions into the city, and give the restaurant a modern flair,” said Miller. The result is a sleek and congruent space that allows the experimental dishes of the Michelin-starred chef to be the center of attention.

Rebecka Gordan