La Macchina Café sold to new owners, undergoing changes


Daily file photo by Brian Lee

The interior of La Macchina Café. The store closed recently after seven years in Evanston.

Sam Heller, Reporter

La Macchina Café, located at 1620 Orrington Ave, is undergoing changes and will feature new menu items after being sold at the end of last month.

The biggest changes include the addition of a pizza oven — which the restaurant has already begun to use — and a revamped brunch menu.

Beyond being just an Italian restaurant, La Macchina is also a space for student groups to host late night parties and events. Since opening La Macchina’s doors in 2013, founder Marco Ferrarini has cultivated a network of students who reach out to him to use his space for parties.

The new owners —Andrea Sappia and Emanuele Bianchi — also plan to start serving pizza at these after-hour events, Bianchi said.

“It could be a fun thing to have drinks but also snacks that are true Italian,” Bianchi said.

Bianchi and Sappia are also hosting an event this Thursday from 5 to 10 p.m. for people to get a pizza for $4.99. Those who come with a friend also get a free dessert. Bianchi and Sappia also plan to open up the downstairs area for people to dance and drink.

“It’s a perfect location, and who wouldn’t take a very well made Italian pizza for $4.99?” Bianchi said.

Beyond just adding a pizza oven, La Macchina also plans to completely change its brunch menu. While the owners haven’t finalized this change, their plan involves naming dishes after locations. They also plan to add items such as thick-cut bacon, waffles, eggs Benedict, Italian cold cuts and even ribeye steak.

They will also add a few new higher-end items onto the dinner menu, such as dry age Florentine steak and whole fish dinners.

Because it is under new ownership, La Macchina has to apply for a new Class C liquor license. During Tuesday Liquor Control Review Board meeting, their application passed unanimously for introduction to City Council. Mayor Steve Hagerty advised the new owners to operate responsibly under the liquor license.

“It is a privilege to have a liquor license,” Hagerty said. “My understanding is there has been one citation for underage drinking. I am not happy about that and obviously you are good for this license, but I have zero tolerance for underage drinking.”

The bartenders have all been trained to serve alcohol responsibly.

Ferrarini started considering selling the restaurant six months ago, as he is looking to go back to his previous career: engineering. Before opening La Macchina in 2013, Ferrarini was a corporate engineer, and he said he feels now is the time to re-enter that field.

Bianchi and Sappia said they began considering buying La Macchina about a month ago. They had both been long time customers, along with having previous experience in the restaurant industry.

Like Ferrarini, both Bianchi and Sappia come from Italy, although they all come from separate corners of the country.

“We are trying to create a fusion of the three regions,” Bianchi said about the new menus.

Email: [email protected]