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First Look: RPM Italian

By Molly Durham in Food on Feb 21, 2012 5:00PM

At this point, who aren't the Melman siblings partnering with? Bill and Giuliana Rancic (of The Apprentice and E! News fame, respectively) have teamed up with the Lettuce Entertain You family to open RPM Italian.

The name of this Italian restaurant in the old Ben Pao space comes from the last initials of the partners: Rancic, Chef Doug Psaltis and Melman. Psaltis (Paris Club, L20) is on board as chef, and Giuliana Rancic promised that some of her mom's own recipes will be featured on the menu. Expect plenty of pasta dishes and desserts that could include chocolate-covered gelato balls and cannoli. Strangely, there's no menu yet, despite the pre-opening party; apparently, the focus is meant to be on the celebrity owners and the new chef.

The place is huge, 10,000 square feet, and the sleek and modern interior definitely fits in with the neighborhood. Filled with two bars, huge round booths and a section of standing tables, it seems to be fit for both diners and bar-seekers.

The Rancics, along with Giuliana's mom, mama DePandi, say they'll frequent the restaurant, which you'll probably be able to see featured on their Style Network reality show Giuliana and Bill.

The opening date is yet to be announced, but according to their Twitter, they should be announcing it soon, and reservations will be available on OpenTable.

RPM Italian is located at 52 W. Illinois St.