Pane e Vino opened Wednesday in The Astor Hotel, 924 E. Juneau Ave.
The spaghetteria – yes, that’s a word and isn’t it fun to say? – offers, not surprisingly, almost entirely pasta dishes, from tortellini to linguine to spaghetti. There are about 15 different sauces and specials every night.
Starters like calamari and goat cheese balls are also on the menu. There’s also a good selection of wine and martinis.
Entrees start at $9.95 with nothing over $14.95. Keeping prices low is important to owner Andreas Protopapas.
"We have very authentic recipes and very affordable prices," says Protopapas, who also owns Vino Cappucino in Brookfield.
Protopapas, who is originally from Greece and has an Italian mother, is also the executive chef. He studied food and cooking in Italy for numerous years.
"The recipes are very authentic," he says.
The environment is inviting with warmly painted walls, ambient lighting and black and white photographs. The concept, according to Protopapas, it for the space to look and feel like "very old Italy."
Sinatra, Bennett and Martin playing quietly on the stereo offers the perfect soundtrack for the space.
Pane e Vino is open Tuesday-Sunday at 5 p.m. for dinner. It closes at 9 p.m. every night except Friday and Saturday when it's open until 10 p.m. This summer, Protopapas says he might open the spaghetteria for lunch.
From 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. every day (except Monday) the restaurant serves classic diner breakfasts – eggs, omelets, pancakes and waffles – that start at just $3.95 a plate.
"We have breakfast every morning and pasta every night," says Protopapas. "People are going to feel like they are at home here."
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