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Chef Lee Wolen
Photograph: Eric Kleinberg

Boka Group plans new Italian restaurant in former Bellemore space

Alla Vita will bring classic Italian dishes to the West Loop this summer.

By
Emma Krupp
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Bellemore, the new American restaurant helmed by Boka Restaurant Group and chef/partner Jimmy Papadopoulos, is closing permanently—and a new Italian-American venture from Boka Group is taking over its West Loop digs at 564 W Randolph St.

The restaurant, Alla Vita, has been in development since before the pandemic, according to a representative from the restaurant group. (Its name means "to life" in Italian, a nod to overcoming the struggles of the past year.) Chef Lee Wolen (of Boka fame) is serving as executive chef, while Meg Galus (also of Boka) will be the restaurant's pastry chef.

Unlike its luxe, sleek-looking predecessor, Alla Vita will aim for a more approachable and group-friendly vibe: The restaurant's menu is still in development, but you can expect a roster of classic, unfussy Italian-American dishes, from garlic knots and chicken parmesan to housemade pastas and ricotta dumplings. It's the first Italian restaurant in Boka Group's portfolio to open since Balena closed permanently in 2019 following a 2017 fire.

Alla Vita is set to open in late summer 2021—the restaurant's website is still pretty bare bones, but you can follow its social media pages for updates. 

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