By Penny Pollack & Graham Meyer of Chicago Magazine, June 2010
A mere three months after closing, the restaurant formerly known as Va Pensiero will morph into Pensiero Ristorante (1566 Oak Ave., Evanston; 847-475-7779). Michael Pure, who owns the Margarita European Inn, which houses the restaurant, took over the space after the April shutdown and hopes to reopen July 9th, with Alan Lake as the chef. Lake was a sous-chef at the East Bank Club in the early 1980s, and then he did stints as a percussionist in Los Angeles and again as a chef in south Florida before returning to Chicago in 2005. “The [Pensiero] menu is a little more regional and more approachable. Still solid Italian, but not completely based on Northern Italian cuisine,” Lake says. “We are trying to make it a place where you would dine six times a year instead of twice.” Ironic that we barely had time to get nostalgic about the closing of a restaurant named after a nostalgic opera chorus.