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OSTERIA VIA STATO – David DiGregorio

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Osteria Via Stato
620 N. State St.
Chicago, Illinois 60610
(312) 642-8450

Hours:
Mon – Thu: 5:00 pm – 10:00 pm
Fri – Sat: 5:00 pm – 11:00 pm
Sun: 5:00 pm – 9:30 pm

About:
(OH-STEH-REE-YAH) A casual Italian tavern where people gather to enjoy antipasti with wine, a plate of pasta or Italian feast, all served with the warmth and hospitality of family.

Osteria Via Stato captures the best of Italy with seasonal dishes, an all-Italian wine list and a la dolce vita spirit of hospitality.

Benvenuto.

Chef David DiGregorio

We were lucky enough to spend some time with David Digregorio, Partner and Executive Chef of Osteria Via Stato and Pizzeria Via Stato. Learn more about David and his recent RJ Grunts collaboration here. For an album of David’s Italian adventure, please click here.

Why Chicago?
I was born in Providence, Rhode Island, and I was interested in food at a young age. One of my favorite experiences in my life was my time at the mobil four-star Swiss Chalet Restaurant. I remember reading an article about the restaurant and thinking that is where I want to work. I asked for an interview with the owner and was hired. I literally jumped for joy! It was a small group of us that worked there. We came in early to make the bread and take care of all the preparation, then work dinner service together. We spent all day together and grew very close. A couple of years later the owner decided to move to Chicago for another opportunity and asked me to join him. I said yes; that was 30 years ago.

You recently went to Italy, was this for business or pleasure?
For me, and it has always been this way, my business is pleasure. Obviously there are parts of running a business that are challenging, but I love the whole process. One of my favorite parts is researching and resourcing great food. I read about the areas I would be visiting to understand the culture of the area. I am always thinking about food and products. It is a passion through and through.

How has Italy inspired your cooking?
I have been to Italy quite a few times. The first couple of visits it really inspired me more as an Italian American (versus a chef) when I realized this culture had always been with me. Now, when I travel to Italy, even though there is a language barrier, I feel like I am home…the mannerisms, the food, the culture, it all makes sense to me. Italians eat and drink in a very common sense way. The ingredients around them today are what they eat today. The “now” inspires them. I can really relate to that as a chef. The food culture is simple, and there is a natural progression of why they are eating what they are eating. This is how I create my menu, with this “now” in mind.

You visited several vendors; any new-found appreciation?
This is their life and it is handed down through many generations. Its rooted in tradition. When I go to Italy and see these families producing Parmigiano Reggiano or Prosciutto di Parma, you can see it is their life. They have the product from beginning to end, including, in some cases, raising the animals themselves. They are not just producing to produce. The things they are doing are very special. It is quite amazing to witness.

What is the perfect five minute meal?
It’s always pasta. Whatever is in season, I will incorporate into the meal. Sometimes roasted eggplant and tomato sauce or at other times broccoli rabe with toasted garlic in olive oil and chili flakes. A perfect quick meal is homemade pesto using basil from the garden. One of my favorite things to do is to make pesto toward the end of the growing season and freeze it in a mason jar with a little olive oil on top. It can be used all season at a moments notice, and it is delicious. It’s a favorite in my family and super quick to make.

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