Club LagoRiver North | Website
Club Lago has been a part of Chicago history since 1952, when original owners Gus and Ida Lazzarini came to town from Lucca, Italy (near Florence), and used their savings to open an authentic Italian restaurant. The couple originally aimed to appeal to WWII servicemen who had been stationed in Italy and had vivid memories of the food. Eventually, even Hollywood caught on: Scenes in the Robert DeNiro-Bill Murray film "Mad Dog and Glory" were filmed here. Today, grandsons GianCarlo and Guido Nardini carry on the family tradition with a Northern Italian menu including favorites such as baked clams, eggplant parmigiana, lasagna, veal saltimbocca, chicken cacciatore and scampi Italiani. The kitchen and bathrooms were fully remodeled in 2009 after a nearby chimney collapse left the rear of the space in ruins. The necessary renovations also provided the Nardini brothers with an opportunity to add draft beers and some new (and aptly named) dishes such as the Exploding Eggplant, a humorous tribute the chimney accident.