Convito Café & Market outdoor Café

About Us

Convito Cafe & Market Mission Statement

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Convito is an ancient Italian word, not used in the current Italian language, that signifies a banquet or feast.

Since its inception, Convito Café & Market’s (formerly Convito Italiano & Betise) mission has always been to foster enjoyment of the gourmet foods, wines & spirits of Italy & France whether through dining in our cozy art-filled cafe, or through purchasing product in our market for home enjoyment.

Nancy Brussat Barocci

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Nancy Brussat, Proprietor

Founder/Proprietor, Convito Café & Market
Nancy Brussat is the founder and moving force behind Convito Café & Market which opened its first location under the name of Convito Italiano in 1980 in Wilmette. A long time interest in Italian food blossomed during a three-year residency in England. Brussat made frequent trips to Italy, becoming increasingly enchanted by the regional wines, cuisine and character of the country.

When Brussat moved back to America in 1980, she decided to open Convito Italiano, a shop which would be part grocery, part pasta and sauces, part education center, part wine center, and part deli.
By 1982, the shop was too small to contain all of Brussat’s ideas, so she moved Convito to larger quarters in Wilmette’s Plaza del Lago, with three times the space and three new features; hot foods, an on-the-premise Italian bakery, and a 28 seat Italian cafe serving lunch and early dinner.

In October of 1984, a second Convito location opened in the Chestnut Galleria on Chicago’s near north side: a post-modern, Euro-style shop on two levels, that included a 62 seat white linen tablecloth restaurant and a 35 seat wine bar. The new location was larger (10,000 square feet) and grander than the Wilmette store, but was every bit as dedicated to presenting fresh, authentic dishes in the great Italian regional tradition. The Chestnut location has been closed (Spring 1994). A fire occurred in the kitchen in November of 1993 making it difficult to continue operation.

In 1992, Brussat opened a new, casual Riviera-style Bistro, Bêtise, in Plaza del Lago. It featured fresh and unpretentious dishes transported from the Cote d’Azur and the lively Bistros of Paris to a warm, honey-colored art-filled suburban setting.

Barocci was chosen to serve on American Airlines’ Chef’s Conclave in 1989, a group of 10 chef’s from around the country who strive to improve and maintain the quality of dishes offered on first and business class. She is also an active Past President in Les Dames d’Escoffier, an international women’s food & wine organization.

Candace Barocci Warner

Managing Partner, General Manager & Business Controller
Candace is the daughter of Nancy Brussat. Though she had grown up working at Convito, both after-school and during the summers, it was not until 1996, that mother and daughter’s professional paths merged and she joined the family business as General Manager.
Though mother and daughter’s day-to-day responsibilities and management styles are often different, their similar work ethic and high-energy approach to the business has created a wonderful team.
Candace’s experience at a French University, and living abroad as a child and in college allows her to apply a worldly perspective to her operational and business management skills.
Nancy and Candace recently combined their bistro and food & wine market in 2007 and opened Convito Café & Market; a handsome, chic gourmet market, wine department and upscale restaurant combining the best of both Betise and Convito Italiano.

Plaza del Lago
1515 Sheridan Rd
Wilmette, IL 60091
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