Just a couple months after adding an expanded dining area as well as a walk-in wine cellar, La Piazza, 410 Circle Ave., has converted its previously vacant basement into Forest Park’s first and only live jazz club.
The new room, which seats about 60, serves as a permanent venue for the “jazz Wednesdays” the restaurant has been holding in its upstairs dining area each week since October ” as well as jazz Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays.
According to La Piazza Manager Tracy Cammack, the jazz club will host a wide variety of musicians, many of whom regularly perform at premier downtown Chicago jazz clubs like the Green Dolphin and the Blue Mill.
A full listing of performers is available at the restaurant’s web site, www.piazzacafe.com, in the events section.
“(Chef and co-owner) Gaetano Di Benedetto is a huge jazz fanatic, who also plays the guitar. He really wanted to do something with music…it’s a passion of his,” said Cammack.
The club has been in planning for about 6 months, said Cammack, with Di Benedetto handling the scheduling and co-owner Robert Marani overseeing the renovation of the basement.
The club will feature its own food menu starting in February, but for now, visitors are able to enjoy appetizers from the La Piazza menu while watching the performances. The club also features a full bar.
For now, there is no cover charge, but Cammack said that starting in January the cost of admission will be $6 on weekdays and $8 on weekends.
In August, La Piazza, which first opened in May 2003, added a new dining area for walk-in customers as well as a private party room and a walk-in wine cellar. The restaurant held a free open house to celebrate the expansion.
“I think now we’re going to take some time and get it all situated…and then we’ll be able to relax for a while,” said Cammack.
The jazz club is open from 7:30 p.m. until 12 a.m. on Wednesday and Thursday and 7:30 p.m. to 1 p.m. on Friday and Saturday.