When the Arcada Theatre reopens its doors, patrons may not recognize the building. That’s because the historic theater and its sister operation, Club Arcada, are undergoing a major renovation project that includes new eateries as well as hotel suites and additional bathrooms. The building has been closed since March because of the COVID-19 pandemic...

Rockford Public Schools will be open on Columbus Day this year, swapping the traditional annual day off for the state’s newly designated Election Day holiday on Nov. 3. Government entities and public schools across the state are adjusting their work and attendance calendars after Gov. JB Pritzker signed the legislation on June 16.  Some schools are...

Dick Nardini loved to play golf. Whether attending the annual Chicago Sun-Times golf outing to gain new advertisers for the newspaper to which he devoted his career or getting together to play 18 holes with a group of friends, it wasn’t uncommon to find Mr. Nardini out on the course. Mr. Nardini and some of his newspaper co-workers would frequent a...

La Fontanella’s owners are retiring and closing the restaurant’s doors for good after decades of serving authentic Italian cuisine on Oakley Street. For 34 years, husband-and-wife team Gianfranco “Franco” and Maria Gamberale served fresh, traditional Italian dishes like chicken Vesuvio, eggplant Parmigiana and lasagna Bolognese.  From the broths to...

What is symmetry? We all intuitively recognize it when we admire beautiful regular patterns in nature, but symmetry can actually be studied with mathematics! It turns out that, among all possible three-dimensional solid shapes, only five of them are completely symmetric. We will see the origin of this story in ancient Greece, where Plato thought th...

Anthony "Tony" Terlato, who devoted his life to bringing great wines to American consumers as a retailer, distributor, importer and winery owner, died early this morning. He was 86. "My brother John and I learned everything we know from our father. He taught us so much," said Bill Terlato, CEO and president of Terlato Wine Group, the company his fa...

“Sharing life over plates” — that’s the motto at Vai’s in Naperville. It’s on the backs of the servers’ shirts and hung on the wall inside. Co-owner Sandy Georganas explains it as coming together over food, over a meal: “Everything about it is inviting, nothing is pretentious.” “We like really good food. We like Italian food,” said co-owner A...

Nando Milano is a downtown Champaign staple offering classic Italian dishes. The menu  has antipasti (appetizers), insalate (salads), contorni (sides), primi piatti (pasta), secondi piatti (meat and seafood dishes), and dolci (desserts) in addition to family-style specials. I spoke with Nando Milano's Chef Alessio Vullo about where he's from, where...

Patrons remember Carlo Lorenzetti’s restaurant along Lincoln Highway in Chicago Heights as a place to gather and celebrate special occasions with great food and atmosphere. The Italian-American cuisine highlighted a fancy aura and recalled a bygone era of the south suburbs in their post-World War II heyday. “It’s like stepping back in time,” an onl...

The city’s Christopher Columbus statues have been repeatedly vandalized in recent weeks amid renewed calls the monuments should be torn down. The Christopher Columbus statue in Little Italy’s Arrigo Park recently had the word “killer” sprayed on it, and someone dumped paint on it. In Grant Park, another Columbus statue was spray painted with the wo...