Test. Zia's Trattoria is one of those spiffy Chicago Italian restaurants that consistently turns out excellent Italian cuisine under a canopy of great service and comfortable surroundings. The rustic wood floors, crisp, white tablecloths, exposed brick walls and appealing nooks and crannies add extra touches of charm to this 11 and 1/2 year-old Edison Park gem.
The inspiration behind Zia's Trattoria -which in Italian means Aunt's Table - derived from executive chef Joe Calabrese's culinary adventures to Italy and two of its most well-known regions: Tuscany and Liguria. Joe picked up quite a few cooking techniques and recipes while there which, to the benefit of diners from all around Chicago, eventually made their way to the tables of Zia's.
One of the charming features of Zia's Trattoria is that each room presents its own unique personality.
The inviting bar area is accented by rich wood appointments, a wrap-around, u-shaped bar, and several comfortable seating areas, each with a good view of bustling downtown Edison Park. It is spacious enough for an after-work gathering of co-workers or a cozy, light lunch with a friend. The rest of Zia's is comprised of several dining areas - some of which could be called nooks instead - including an intimate room partially ensconced by velvet curtains (a perfect spot for a surprise party or a holiday get-together with old friends from the neighborhood). The open kitchen area in the back of the restaurant adds another dash of charm and comfort.
And now, a few details about the owner and general manager:
Joe is Zia's Executive Chef and owner. He was professionally trained at the prestigious Culinary Institute of America located in New York State. Before opening Zia's Trattoria in 1997, he was sharpening his professional - and knife - skills at several well-respected Chicago dining establishments including Ambria, Spiagia, and the Park Hyatt.
Joe lives in Park Ridge, a few short miles from Zia's Trattoria, so you can be assured that your dinner will always be served on time.
When he's not in the kitchen crafting new dishes, Joe is probably at home with his wife, Mary Kay, and his three rambunctious boys, Joey, Michael, and John Taylor.
Ryan has been with Zia's Trattoria since 2001. He is frequently found wearing several hats to meet the demands of this thriving Edison Park Italian Restaurant. While oftentimes Ryan is the first friendly face you'll see after entering the restaurant, he has two important 'official' roles at Zia's as well: The first as General Manager and the second, as Banquet Manager.
***Before he settled in the Chicago area, Ryan used to live on the scenic New Jersey shore and in Florida, among other places. When the weather is cooperative and Zia's is running smoothly on auto pilot, Ryan can be spotted on Fox Lake, a small lake that makes up the larger Chain-O-Lakes system in the northwest suburbs of Chicago, sporting around in his boat looking for the days 'fresh catch'.