Sarah Grueneberg is a traditionalist with a flair for breaking the rules. As the chef behind Monteverde Restaurant & Pastificio, the West Loop Italian spot that’s winning the hearts of Chicagoans, she wears her heart on her sleeve—you can taste it in her dishes that honor family, like her Acqua Pazza, on the menu for her late uncle. Even if your childhood wasn't spent catching red fish off the Texas coast with your uncle (like Grueneberg), you'll still feel all the feels.
Recently, the Top Chef alum and self-proclaimed lush told us where we can find her when she isn’t firing up the oven in her Italian kitchen. Here are some of her favorite fall-inspired fares along with some year-round musts:
On the autumn classic, pie: If she can’t get her hands on her grandmother’s homemade dewberry pie, Bang Bang Pie and Biscuits will satisfy her sweet tooth. She also loves the royal meat pies at Pleasant House Pub.
Spot to kick back after a long shift: “Beer Bistro. It’s right down the street, they are so nice and really hospitable.”
Favorite drink: “Anything! Especially anything with green chartreuse.”
Off the beaten path: Xi’an Cuisine for a cheap flatbread while watching Asian soap operas.
Classic night off hang: “The oyster bar at Shaw’s Crab House. The service there might be some of the best service in the city. If you go, watch your water glass—it will never go below three-quarters. Never. One time I tried to drink it really fast and he was right there pouring it again. And the martinis are delicious! The oysters are shucked right in front of you. I love their clam chowder. That’s my happy place.”
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