MEET THE OWNERS
Born and raised in Italy, Dario Monni has been steeped in the rich Italian food culture from an early age. In his hometown of Venice, Monni learned the art of preparing handmade pasta from his “nonna” while listening to stories of his grandfather’s specialty food store. His summers were spent with relatives on his father’s side in rural Sardinia, where his family worked as shepherds, cheesemongers and butchers, imparting onto him the deep-rooted value of the region’s unique rituals, pristine ingredients and simple dedication to an authentic craft.
These early experiences fueled Monni’s passion for Italy’s revered cuisine and the culture of family-focused hospitality, inspiring him to pursue a career in the food and beverage industry. After obtaining a degree from Instituto Alberghiero Giuseppe Maffioli, one of Italy's most
respected culinary institutions, Monni left Venice for London at age 18 where he further pursued work within the city’s world-class mixology scene. With a keen eye for detail, he excelled behind the bar and held positions at some of the world’s most famed establishments such as Harry’s Bar, Gritti Palace, Cipriani and Soho’s LAB.
In 2009, Monni departed London and spent the next nine years traveling the globe, helming the beverage programs of top luxury restaurants and nightclubs in Dubai, Montreal and more. In 2012, Monni returned to London and landed at acclaimed Italian restaurant L’Anima where he worked alongside celebrity chef Francesco Mazzei, initially leading the bar program of the award-winning concept and quickly advancing to oversee front of house operations. During this time, Monni met his future wife, Jill Gray, a native Chicagoan, and the two spent several years together in London. Named one of Business Insider’s “Top 30 Women in Advertising” in 2015, Gray has gathered extensive experience in marketing and advertising, leading award-winning consumer brand campaigns at agencies such as Leo Burnett and Publicis. She then moved to Facebook where she spent five years, and now heads up creative operations at a creative tech startup called VidMob.
A desire to be closer to family led Monni and Gray to relocate to her Midwestern hometown in 2016, where the couple set about starting their own family and bringing his lifelong vision of owning family-run pastificio (fresh pasta shop) and restaurant to fruition. With the 2019 opening of Tortello, a charming neighborhood eatery offering a rotating menu of fresh, handmade pasta alongside a small but expertly curated selection of artisanal Italian goods, the husband and wife team is transporting Italy’s emphasis on simplicity through rich culinary and cultural traditions to Chicago. As the restaurant’s co-owners, Monni and Gray are committed to continuing his family’s legacy of cultivating fresh, honest ingredients, upholding rituals and preserving the craft of handmade pasta making.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Do you take reservations?
No, you can come on by and order at our counter any time. We'll bring your food to you and clean up your table.
Do you have outdoor seating?
Si, certo! Please enjoy our sidewalk patio and help yourself to some italian herbs when you buy our fresh pasta to cook at home.
Do you deliver?
Yes! See our online ordering links.
Can I take hot food to go?
Can I custom order fresh pasta and sauces to cook at home or for catering?
Si! Per favore! Many of our fresh pastas and sauces are available via our website for pickup or delivery. For any custom orders, please email us at 48 hours in advance with your request. And feel free to call us for ideas!
Do you have vegan or gluten-free options?
Si! We always have a selection of vegan and gluten-free starters and salads. A few of our pastas can easily be modified for vegans, and our zucchini "pasta" is gluten-free. We do not have a gluten-free kitchen.