Bar Roma is now open on the corner of Clark and Carmen in Chicago's Andersonville neighborhood. The new restaurant and bar, located at 5101 North Clark Street, showcases the cuisine of Rome, Italy and specialty meatballs. The concept behind Bar Roma was inspired by The Meatball Shop in New York City and the great neighborhood restaurants of Rome, Italy. The restaurant serves dinner seven nights a week and plans to add weekend brunch service.
Bar Roma is led by proprietor Julia Zhu (Oysy South Loop). Zhu immigrated to Chicago in 1983 as a foreign student and fell in love with the Chicago restaurant scene, especially the bevy of Italian options. Her longtime companion, Howard Davis (Gioco), is a consultant on the project.
Executive Chef Fred Ramos (Printer's Row; Gioco; Angelina Ristorante) is at the helm of Bar Roma's kitchen. Ramos brings extensive knowledge of Italian cuisine and presents classic Roman dishes like cacio e pepe (spaghetti alla chitarra, pecorino, fresh ground black pepper), carciofi alla giudia (fried baby artichokes) and abbacchio scottadito (wood-grilled lamb chops), in addition to an array of polpette (meatballs), hot and cold antipasti, house made pasta, seafood, steak and chops, sides and dessert. The open kitchen with cured meat and cheese slicing station sets the stage for an entertaining and lively dining experience.
Beverage consultant Bob Bansberg crafted the wine, beer and cocktail program for Bar Roma. Bansberg's storied career includes a James Beard nomination; Jean Banchet Award for Culinary Excellence as "Best Sommelier"; "The Best Sommelier in Chicago" by Food & Wine; "Best Sommelier" by Chicago magazine; professor of wine at Kendall College; among other achievements. Bansberg has built a pan-Italian wine list that showcases 50 regional selections and a reserve list. Craft cocktails incorporate Italian bitters, amaros and digestivos, while beers are sourced from Italy and Chicago's local breweries. Bar Roma also offers a late night bar bites menu.
The dual room space, seating approximately 120, was designed by Chicago's own Frank Fontana (HGTV; WGN radio; FYI network). Fontana's vision for the 3,100 square foot venue is a merger of rustic Italian and industrial Chicago. The bar and dining room incorporate local reclaimed wood, Chicago bricks, dramatic light fixtures, herringbone pattered wood bar, distressed bar stools, communal tables and grand leather banquette. Original penny tile and wood flooring found in the 1914 building is be patched with concrete, similar to a Roman ruin.
Bar Roma is open Sunday-Wednesday, 5 p.m.-10 p.m.; Thursday, 5 p.m.-12 a.m.; Friday & Saturday, 5 p.m.-1 a.m. The complete dinner, dessert, drinks and bar menus may be viewed here.
5101 N. Clark Street
Chicago, IL 60640
Twitter and Instagram @BarRomaChicago