Chicagoan Tony Priolo has known since childhood that he wanted to be a chef, he started cooking at the age of eight with his Sicilian grandmother at their northwest side home. His first restaurant job was as a 16-year-old prep cook in an Italian restaurant near his house. He went on to graduate at the top of his class from The CHIC in 1989, and quickly dived into Chicago’s competitive Italian restaurant scene.
Priolo’s style of simply prepared Italian food caught the attention of Chicago restaurant critics and diners in 1997 at Coco Pazzo and Coco Pazzo Cafe. Later he was made partner in both restaurants. Under Priolo’s direction, Coco Pazzo was honored by many leading local and national food awards Like Dirona, AAA and high ratings in Zagat, Fodor’s, Local magazines, and newspapers. In 2008, he left Coco Pazzo to pursue his dream of owning his own restaurant. He partnered with long time close friend Ciro Longobardo to open Piccolo Sogno, Nonnina and Maillard Tavern.
Both Piccolo Sogno and Nonnina have been awarded high marks in many local and National media. Priolo has also been a regular guest on Chicago television stations as well as on National TV. Recently he was on The Food Network’s “Beat Bobby Flay” show and ended up battling Bobby in the Pumpkin Challenge and Tony was one of the few that beat Bobby Flay. Tony is also known for his support of many local and National charities. His philosophy is to find the best ingredients possible for his guests, and sources specialty items From Italy and local sources to bring a true Italian dining experience at Piccolo Sogno and Nonnina. His newest restaurant, Maillard Tavern has already been recognized as a dining destinsation by winning the 2018 Hamburger Hop by Chicago Gourment wowing and winning the “people’s choice award” as well as the “judges choice” which was a first time in the history of the event that someone has won both in the same year.