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updated: 3/18/2014 2:16 PM

Italian, French food and wine share spotlight at Roselle's 1913

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  • Kathy Labbe, left, of Elgin and Toni Ballentine of Roselle enjoy glasses of wine at the 1913 Restaurant and Wine Bar in Roselle.

       Kathy Labbe, left, of Elgin and Toni Ballentine of Roselle enjoy glasses of wine at the 1913 Restaurant and Wine Bar in Roselle.
    Mark Black | Staff Photographer

  • Roselle's 1913 Restaurant and Wine Bar opened in January.

       Roselle's 1913 Restaurant and Wine Bar opened in January.
    Mark Black | Staff Photographer

  • Wines from France and Italy share the spotlight at 1913 Restaurant and Wine Bar in Roselle.

       Wines from France and Italy share the spotlight at 1913 Restaurant and Wine Bar in Roselle.
    Mark Black | Staff Photographer

  • John DiBuono, left, of Elgin and Ed Culleeney of Palatine talk over glasses of wine at 1913 Restaurant and Wine Bar in Roselle.

       John DiBuono, left, of Elgin and Ed Culleeney of Palatine talk over glasses of wine at 1913 Restaurant and Wine Bar in Roselle.
    Mark Black | Staff Photographer

  • Roselle's 1913 Restaurant and Wine Bar focuses on Italian and French food and wine.

       Roselle's 1913 Restaurant and Wine Bar focuses on Italian and French food and wine.
    Mark Black | Staff Photographer

 
By Samantha Nelson
Daily Herald Correspondent

When new owners took over Impecca's space on Main Street in Roselle, they started tearing down the decor, peeling off layers of carpet, tile and concrete to reveal the original floor from when the space was built as a dairy in 1913. The spot reopened in January as 1913 Restaurant and Wine Bar, a tribute to the building's long history, and in a few short months it's managed to find welcoming crowds.

Motif: The walls are a mix of exposed brick and red and gold hues and are decorated with large bright-colored portraits. The dark wood tables are set with matching chairs with cream cushions. The lounge offers a comfortable place to wait for a table or just have a drink, with stained-glass lamps overhead, two TVs tuned to sports and Italian movie posters on the walls. During the spring, the restaurant will cut some of the seats inside and open a patio.

Liquid consumption: The wine list here is entirely Italian and French, but servers will be happy to guide you if you're not as familiar with European varietals. Glasses are poured in little carafes so the size is kept consistent. There's also a nice selection of craft beers by the bottle. Plenty of guests also go for cocktails, taking advantage of the bar's selection of small-batch whiskeys and gins. In the spring, the restaurant plans to change the menu to offer lighter options and also start hosting wine and beer dinners.

Food: Like its wine list, 1913's menu is a mix of French and Italian fare. You can start with escargot, served in a rich buttery sauce with crispy bread. For a lighter starter there's the pizzette, a very crispy pizza paired with a variety of toppings like house-made ricotta, thin slices of crunchy asparagus and some shredded parmesan cheese. The focus on small plates encourages sharing, but there are also delicious entree options like the strozzapretti, a long twisted pasta tossed in a creamy sauce with big chunks of savory sausage. Take some home so you'll have room for the warm, gooey banana bread pudding, which is served topped with a light custard sauce and a scoop of gelato.

Crowd: The place was bustling when we arrived at 6:30 p.m. on a recent Saturday, with nearly every table in the dining room filled. The space draws a mostly 40 and older crowd, though, you'll find some younger diners and families taking advantage of the kids' menu. Visitors are almost all local, but the spot has been getting plenty of guests staying at the bed and breakfast at Lynfred Winery.

Service: Our friendly and exuberant server was quick to rattle off recommendations and pairing ideas. The owners also like making the rounds, checking in with nearly every table to chat about their experiences, and the chef will occasionally come out to deliver a dish. The restaurant doesn't serve dinner in the lounge on the weekends to make sure the kitchen isn't so overwhelmed with orders that dining room service lags behind.

Parking: The restaurant has a small free lot.

Overall: Excellent food and service makes 1913 Restaurant & Wine Bar a charming destination for a date night or for a nice dinner and drinks with friends.

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