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 time-honored rituals and preserving the treasured craft of handmade pasta making.
MEET CHEF DUNCAN BIDDULPH
Featured in Best Chefs America 2013, a peer-review based “chefs guide to chefs,” and named one of Time Out Chicago’s “20 Chefs to Watch” in 2011, native Chicagoan Duncan Biddulph joins husband and wife team Dario Monni and Jill Gray as executive chef of Tortello, a modern pastificio (fresh pasta shop), café and artisanal goods shop.
Biddulph acquired his formative training in the kitchens of industry favorites like Lula Café in Logan Square—one of the original Chicago restaurants grounded in the local/sustainable ethos. Working his way up from brunch cook, Biddulph honed his instincts and sharpened his unique cooking sensibilities under the guidance and mentorship of Lula Café owners Jason Hammel and Amalea Tshilds to become sous chef of the popular eatery. At Hammel’s urging, Biddulph then took time to
travel throughout Europe, soaking in new cooking techniques and flavors. Spending six months in Italy, he immersed himself into the local culture and learned the artisanal craft of pasta, olive oil and cheese making while working in authentic Italian restaurants.
Following his travels, Biddulph worked his way through some of Chicago’s top restaurants, serving as executive chef at Rootstock Wine & Beer Bar, Kinmont and The Winchester before spending two years as sous chef at The Publican. In 2018, he landed at Chef Hammel’s Marisol where he gained experience in front-of-house operations before becoming chef de cuisine at French comfort food institution, La Sardine.
Now at Tortello in Wicker Park, Executive Chef Biddulph brings with him a portfolio of knowledge of Midwest ingredients and purveyors to aide in Monni’s dream of bringing traditional Italian handmade pasta to Chicago. Drawing from his personal experiences in Italy’s rich culinary traditions and using Monni’s treasured family recipes, Biddulph presents simple, delicious food highlighting the very best locally-sourced ingredients.
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 pre-order fresh pasta and sauces to cook at home or for catering?
Si! Per favore! Please email us at at least 24 hours in advance with your order. Check out our menu to see what you can order. Currently our filled pastas are only for dining in, but feel free to request them in advance for fresh pasta orders and we'll do our best to accomodate.
Do you have vegan options?
Si! We always have a handful of vegan starters and a few pastas that are easily modified to be vegan. As our menu changes slightly from week to week, feel free to email us at if you'd like more specifics.