Chef Fabio Viviani already had three restaurants when he appeared on season five of Bravo’s “Top Chef.”
Viviani, who grew up in Florence, Italy, and moved to the U.S. in 2005, finished fourth in the competition and was named “Top Chef Fan Favorite” by viewers in 2008. He returned in 2010 to appear in “Top Chef: All Stars.”
“Being on TV and being exposed to that kind of publicity helps,” said Viviani, who lives in Chicago. “If you have a good business or a product and location that people can come to see you, it helps. It’s the kind of exposure you can’t really pay for. I was still planning to open a lot of restaurants, no matter what. The exposure made me a little busier. It didn’t take me to a different path.”
This fall, Viviani will open Osteria Carmel in Market District, 11505 Illinois St. The restaurant, which Viviani describes as a rustically refined Italian eatery, is looking to employ more than 50 people for its chef team, management, front-of-house, servers, bartenders and more. It will be open for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
“The food is priced well and made with premium ingredients,” Viviani said. “It’s not a fancy restaurant. It’s not the place you go just for a special occasion. We are supposed to be a fixture in the neighborhood. We are trying to create a kind of ambience that brings you back multiple times in a month.”
Viviani said he has worked with Market District, whose parent company is Giant Eagle, with his products before, but this will be his first restaurant connected to the store.
“We’re very familiar with the store and we love the location,” Viviani said. “It’s very high traffic. We think it’s one of the nicest grocery stores out there.”
Since 2005, the celebrity chef and cookbook author has opened more than three dozen food establishments, including restaurants, bars and event spaces. He also regularly appears on several TV shows as a cooking segment guest.
“My daytime job is running restaurants, it’s not being on TV,” Viviani said. “We have to be the operator if our name is on the door. I’m on the road about 300 days a year.”
The restaurant replaces Table by Market District, which closed in March 2020 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
For more, visit fabioviviani.com.