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3. Eggplant Stack.jpg Rosebud Restaurant Group
The eggplant stack appetizer with breaded eggplant, tomatoes and fresh mozzarella.

Chicago’s Rosebud Restaurant Group expands south with Mia Rosebud in Boca Raton

Mia Rosebud is the group’s 10th restaurant and its first outside the Chicago area

The Rosebud Restaurant Group — founded by restaurateur Alex Dana in 1976 with the first Rosebud location in Chicago’s Little Italy —operates nine Italian restaurants in the Chicago area spanning three concepts, Rosebud, Carmine’s, and Rosetta. In late February, the group debuted its 10th restaurant, and first outside of Illinois: Mia Rosebud in Boca Raton, Fla.

The South Florida market is new for the restaurant group, but not for Dana, who has split his time between Chicago and Boca Raton since the 1980s.

“This has been my home just as much as Chicago — I love the people down here,” he said.

Now, he’s giving Floridians a taste of the family recipes that his restaurants have been serving for nearly 50 years.

Mia Rosebud’s menu has a few variations from other Rosebud locations, but it hews closely to its predecessors, with sections for antipasti, salads, pastas, prime steaks, and Italian specialties.

“We use the best ingredients available,” Dana said. “We have been testing out the food here for years, and we have been able to replicate our great recipes from Chicago. We will be incorporating some of the local favorites, but Chicago Italian is what we do.”

Diners might choose a meal beginning with fried calamari or steamed mussels, before moving onto a Caesar or Caprese salad, or the eggplant stack featuring breaded eggplant, beefsteak tomatoes, and fresh mozzarella.

Pastas include Rosebud’s famous square noodle pappardelle with a rich tomato-basil sauce, rigatoni ala vodka, linguine and clams, and tortellini carbonara. Heartier plates include a 24-ounce Delmonico steak, a bone-in veal chop, lamb chops, and petite filets, while Italian specialties range from veal or eggplant Parmesan to chicken Vesuvio (Chicagoan bone-in chicken dish), and chicken Milanese.

The wine list leans Italian, with additional options from California and France, while the cocktail menu features a few original drinks, alongside riffs on classics like the Negroni, Cosmopolitan and Tom Collins.

Mia Rosebud spans 7,700 square feet of indoor space, with an open kitchen design, a dining room that accommodates 164 guests, and a bar with seating for 30 more. The restaurant takes advantage of Florida’s climate with a 32-seat outdoor terrace an a 12-seat al fresco bar. There’s also a private dining room that can be configured for a variety of gatherings and has space for up to 30 people.

Since its opening back in 1976, Rosebud has been known for classic red sauce Italian food, generous portions, and cozy environments, and the Little Italy original was a frequent haunt for celebrities like Tony Bennet, Frank Sinatra, and Robert De Niro. The simple formula has also been a hit with locals and propelled the restaurant’s expansion for the past five decades. Now fresh off the group’s first out-of-state opening, Alex Dana is still looking forward.

“We are going to keep expanding,” Dana said. “We are always looking to introduce our concepts, food and hospitality to different and new markets. Boca is just the beginning.”

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