When David Ansill got his first cooking job at Queen Village’s Judy’s, serving up plateloads of meatloaf and apple pie, he never thought he would be pushing open-faced osso buco sandwiches and oxtail tureens in the same space a quarter-century later. But five years after opening his popular South Philly Frenchy BYOB Pif, Ansill is about to debut a second, eponymous spot in the former Judy’s space, transforming the once funky-kitschy neighborhood landmark into what he calls an “adult-focused” restaurant, much like nearby Southwark. Although Ansill was able to acquire a liquor license — his main reason for opening, he says — he’s dead set against appletinis and cosmopolitans. “We are a European snack and wine bar for food-conscious adults,” says Ansill, himself a certified adult at 47. His chef, Kibett Mengech, a graduate of Striped Bass, Le Bec and Rouge, oversees a menu of $2.50-to-$18 small plates, though Ansill says if you want to try just a bite of bone marrow or a nibble of razor clams on crostini, he’ll sell you one piece. “That’s the way I eat — a bite of this, a bite of that,” says Ansill. “It gives people the opportunity to try a bunch of different things, little snacks. So if you’ve never had caviar, you can try some without spending 40 bucks.”
Ansill, 627 South 3rd Street; 215-625-2923.
Originally published in Philadelphia Magazine, February 2006