While I am very sad to see home design store Willow close its doors to go exclusively online at the end of the month, I’m happy that Piccolo across the street seems to still be going strong since its 2007 opening. Every time I walk into the bright, clean space, its hard to believe it used to be Lava Lounge, cast in dark, hazy red and stuffed with smoke-embedded couches and walls, a huge wooden bar and bottles $2 Red Stripe on Tuesdays. The tamale guy or bread lady may have swung through with snacks, but you never would’ve pictured paninis, subs and killer gelato served up in a clean bright space. Now as Piccolo, and you still might hear reggae or see hipster artwork on the walls, but there’s a full delicious menu of great paninis, sandwiches, bruschetta, gelato and a random smattering of candy. I know asparagus season is right around the corner with the crunchy, bright green stalks stuffed into the thick proscuitto, fontina and asparagus sandwich served on grilled Fulton Street Bakery ciabatta and served with a tangy and light artichoke salad on the side. The caprese is a filling combo of tomato, buffalo mozzarella and fresh basil while the roast turkey offers an interesting combo of turkey, Brie and cranberry preserves. Bruschetta bites offer tastes of brie, honey and proscuitto as well as white anchovies with basil-infused oil. And the housemade gelato (not yet in effect on a recent visit) includes flavors like chopped mint, espresso and peanut butter (is peanut butter anything ever bad?), and should be thawed out and ready to serve in the next couple of months. In the meantime, head into Willow for the store-closing sale (ends March 31) and celebrate your funky finds with big sandwiches and little bruschetta across the street. Piccolo, 859 N. Damen, 773.772.3355.