Sarah Grueneberg

Chef Sarah Grueneberg prepares pasta at Monteverde.

The host thought the large sheets of pasta that felt silky smooth would be good for pajamas.

With that affable introduction, Phil Rosenthal helped chef Sarah Grueneberg shape ravioli at her Italian restaurant, Monteverde, in the West Loop for a recent episode of his Netflix show, “Somebody Feed Phil.” With its third season premiering in late May, the show follows Rosenthal, creator of “Everybody Loves Raymond,” as he travels to major world cities to sample cuisine.

It’s not surprising Monteverde, 1020 W. Madison St., was chosen for the Chicago episode. The pasta-focused restaurant, which Grueneberg owns along with business partner Meg Sahs, has racked up accolades since its opening in 2015. Grueneberg has been recognized by the James Beard Foundation for “Best Chef: Great Lakes” and the restaurant has been proclaimed one of America’s best restaurants by Food & Wine magazine, one of “America’s 38 Essential Restaurants” by Eater and won “Restaurant of the Year” at the 2018 Jean Banchet Awards.

In the “Somebody Feed Phil” segment, Rosenthal joins Grueneberg at the pastaficio, which translates to pasta factory, where she or others make fresh pasta in view of the patrons. As they make pork and ricotta ravioli, Rosenthal notes it’s like “dinner and a show.”

“Everyone calls this the Pasta TV,” Grueneberg said.

Seated at the bar, Rosenthal samples tigelle, an Emilian bread. Grueneberg slices a piece and stuffs it with burrata cheese, melon, prosciutto butter, and San Daniele prosciutto.

“This is my ‘I’ve died and gone to heaven’ dish,” Grueneberg said as Rosenthal takes a bite.

“This is, like, the world’s best sandwich,” he enthuses.

They then sample some pasta with a soppressata meatball, sausage and a pork shank. Rosenthal hits the table in excitement as he takes a bite of the meatball.

“This is killer,” he says to Grueneberg. “This is holiday-good.”

“I want to come here in my pajamas,” Rosenthal said.

“My pasta pajamas,” they both say in unison and laugh.

Grueneberg, a Texas native who moved to Chicago in 2005, said the episode was filmed last September during normal operating hours. She believes John Harris, a friend who was on a New York episode of the show, recommended Monteverde to the producers.

Grueneberg is a fan of “Somebody Feed Phil” and said the experience of being on an episode was fun and her staff loved it. She said Monteverde was the last filming location for the Chicago episode, so the crew stayed for a meal after they finished filming.

“He’s great,” she said of Rosenthal. “His personality is so amazing. He’s so welcoming and charming.” 

Since the episode premiered on May 29, Grueneberg said many customers have mentioned seeing it.

“Our ragu sales have gone up,” she said. “Everyone wants to try it, and the burrata ham.” 

Monteverde had been closed for two months due to the pandemic, but started offering takeout in May and opened the patio and limited indoor dining in June.

“It’s nice to have guests back in the restaurant,” Grueneberg said. “We’re doing OK. We’re stable.”

She enjoyed watching the episode and thinks the show is fitting for these home-bound times.

“Everyone, given the pandemic, is at home watching TV,” she said, “so what a fun show to travel through your television, in a way.”

Still, one thing remains to be fulfilled from the show, Grueneberg said.

“I gotta figure out a way to make those pasta pajamas.”

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