Note: First Looks give previews of new dishes, drinks, and menus we're curious about. Since they are arranged photo shoots and interviews with restaurants, we do not make critical evaluations or recommendations.
I was sad to hear about the closing of Ciao Napoli Pizzeria back in July, even if I was kind of ambivalent about the food. It served some solid pizza in a neighborhood (Logan Square) that didn't have many other pizza options. But when I found out that the space was purchased by the folks behind the excellent wine bar Telegraph (which is located just around the corner) all worries disappeared. Called Reno, I knew that it would be impossible to ambivalent about this place.
As for the what Reno would be, that was a different story. I knew that the restaurant would keep the wood-fired oven, and that pizzas would be involved. But then came news that there would be bagels. And pastries. Have I mentioned the house-made pastas? Oh, there are those, too.
I should also note that all of these items aren't served at the same time. Written large on Reno's paper menu is "morning, noon, and night," and the restaurant certainly takes those words to heart. Sure, there is coffee and a full bar, but this is a place that puts obvious effort into everything.
Take the bagels. Each and everyone is formed by hand and cooked in a wood-fired oven. They are small and chewy, not oversized and doughy. But the bagels are just one of a dozen breads and pastries available in the morning, where you'll also find muffins, quiche, tarts, and brownies behind a glass case.
The lunch menu adds some sandwiches to the mix, but it's not until dinner the next big transformation happens. That's when the oven starts to cook pizzas. They are very thin and blistered with char marks. Dinner is also when you can order house-made pasta, along with a whole range of other appetizers.
It was exhausting trying to chronicle it all. But click on the slideshow to get a peek at what Reno is up to.