The atmosphere at relaxed Avondale neighborhood eatery Pisolino may remind you of a charming, laid-back European bistro—and for good reason.

Chef and co-owner James De Marte spent over a decade cooking his way through Italy to craft and hone the skills on full display at the cozy restaurant today. “The restaurant is truly his dream-turned-reality and a showcase of his love for Italian cuisine,” says co-owner Rachel De Marte.

“It’s a neighborhood spot, so it’s quaint and feels residential. Pisolino—which means nap in Italian—has the perfect vibe to come relax, have a cocktail or some amazing wine, eat, visit and stay a while,” she says. Serving refined, yet hearty and comforting Italian classics, from pizzas and pastas to Negronis and Americanos, “we always joke that you come to eat at Pisolino and then you take a pisolino.”

Accommodating up to 40 guests seated and 55 for a cocktail-style reception with a full buyout, Pisolino is a popular spot for intimate private events from rehearsal dinners to surprise parties.

As a dedicated event planner and stylist who enjoys a creative challenge, De Marte can work with planners to customize everything from specialty cocktails and menus to décor. “I come from custom and I really want to hear what clients are looking for. Some want to relax with a classic pizza party while others are looking for a 12-course event and we’re happy to arrange all of it,” she says. “Whether that includes passed hors d’oeuvres and family-style dishes off the menu or an exquisite lobster risotto, I’ll sit down with our clients and chef to truly cater the dining experience to their original vision. Every event here is unique." 

Over the years, any corporate event planner can admit to spending countless hours researching the perfect venue or vendors for their gatherings. After attending or hosting hundreds of events, New York-based Daphne Hoppenot was no stranger to this research and was frustrated by its repetitive nature. However, it was planning her wedding in 2018 that pushed her to realize the lack of resources in the corporate events market compared to the wedding industry, and set out to see if other meetings and events professionals were struggling with the same problem.  

 

Freelancing has become a new ball game since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, as many companies cannot afford to keep full-time positions, but still need those tasks completed. Although many more professionals have had to join the freelancing community since March, Tracy Judge had the passion for the freelancing community two years ago–long before the pandemic hit–and founded her company Soundings Connect in order to directly connect meetings and events industry freelancers with customers. 

 

You may not have seen her name among Chicago’s James Beard award nominees or caught in the buzz of another trendy eatery opening, but the ripples of Rita Dever’s culinary creations have made an impact far and wide. After cooking around the world, the Pacific Northwest native put down roots as Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises’ (LEYE) associate partner and corporate chef where she collaborates in the company’s test kitchen to innovate new dishes for all LEYE restaurants.