Turney And Safran Watch: Little Nonna’s Now Officially A Thing


So we’ve been wondering for a while now what, exactly, Marcie Turney and Valerie Safran were going to do with the space-formerly-known-as-Fish at 1234 Locust Street. We knew they’d taken the address to add to their already significant 13th Street holdings. We knew that work there had already begun, and that a lot of it was focusing around the kitchen area. But what we didn’t know was what, exactly, the to of them had planned for the space.

Until now.

At some point this summer, the space will become Little Nonna’s–a straight-up red gravy neighborhood ristorante in the Italian immigrant style, heavily informed by Turney’s research into the family traditions of Italian friends and fellow chefs, and served in a 37-seat room evocative of an Italian grandmother’s living room, including lace curtains, hanging copper pots, and fake flowers but probably not a hundred cats.

The menu, obviously, is still coming together, but Turney is already thinking along the lines of oysters oreganata, grilled bread from Liscio’s with house-stretched mozzarella, stuffed artichokes, meatballs in red gravy, stuffed shells with goat’s milk ricotta in a baby tomato sauce and crabs and spaghetti. What’s more, she’s also planning on crowd-sourcing a piece of her board by having guests share their own favorite recipes via cards on each table. If she finds a good one, she’ll work it into the menu.

So what else? Well, there’s going to be patio seating. An all-Italian wine list. Negronis served in mason jars, meats and cheeses hanging in the open kitchen and an $8-$25 price range that will put Little Nonna’s right smack in the comfort zone of the average Philly diner.

No specific opening date has been given yet, but the team is saying it’ll be some time this summer. We’ll let you know more as soon as we hear it.

All Turney and Safran News [Foobooz]

Around The Web

Be respectful of our online community and contribute to an engaging conversation. We reserve the right to ban impersonators and remove comments that contain personal attacks, threats, or profanity, or are flat-out offensive. By posting here, you are permitting Philadelphia magazine and Metro Corp. to edit and republish your comment in all media.

  • La nonna

    Exploit your guests family recipes for your own personal financial gain. That’s low.

  • Paul

    Hey, you know what Philadelphia needs, one more boring, uninspiring take on American Italian. Please stop opening restaurants, or telling people you care about food, culture or society- this is about money.

    • scotty

      I’m not a fan or a hater of this group…however, it’s the restaurant BUSINESS. Foodies get so freakin’ wrapped up in the culture that these places bring to neighborhood or a food scene. Relax. Perhaps these ladies are looking to retire someday and trying to build a fat bankroll to do it.
      Let them open and run their business before you take shots whether it worth enough of Nonna or Mimi or Granny or Boppi or whoever’s name. Taste the food, experience the service and then decide if it just another medicore Italian American or a cash grab or both or neither….
      Foobooz reader are the worst….
      Philadelphia is not nearly as bad as Philadelphian’s say it is.

      • Dan

        Yes, I imagine paul is so principled that he works on the barter system.

  • Frank

    We already have Scannichio’s, Criniti’s, Tre Scalini, Chiarella’s, La Stanza, Stogie Joe’s, Popi’s, Pesto, Villa di Roma, Dante and Luigi’s, Ralph’s, Mr. Joe’s Cafe, Momma Maria’s… that’s just off the top of my head. All do variations on the “authentic recipes from an Italian grandmother” theme (and some of these restaurateurs have Italian grandmothers, not friends and anecdotes about them). They run the gamut of quality and price points.

    In short, there is no need for this fake Nonna. I wondered how long it would take the Turney/Safran empire to succumb to pure hubris. I guess that happened.

    • barrygster

      …none of which are in Center City, a short walk from the Convention Center and the hotels. Turney and Safran said long ago that they are ditching cash only and BYOB to chase tourist dollars. Weird that people are criticizing business people for trying to make money.

      Also I don’t think any of the places you mentioned are stretching their own mozzarella and few if any are using goat’s milk ricotta.

      • Dan

        Agreed, I live in the area. I can’t think of a similar place. Maybe Giorgio’s would quialify? But it is a BYO. All of the places listed (that I recognize) are in South Philly. That ain’t close.

  • bob newhart

    My Nonna just turned over in her grave with these white broads. #desgraciad

    • TomS

      Would have sounded better if you said “turned over in her gravy”. Haha. And she didn’t. It’s fine. It will be a fun place to eat and drink. Think of all the shitty Italian restaurants in philly that serve frozen crap. Would you rather have that, than what these two chicks put out?

  • Starla

    Turney and Safran are the two smartest people in the Philly restaurant scene. They took people out of the line for El Vez into Lolita and turned that idea of riding a wave into all their other concepts. People in the Philly food scene mostly have blinders on to anything outside their own city, even to NYC. Bindi doesn’t work? Boqueria is smashing NY. High margins on fried stuff and things on bread, small plates, wines and sherry people will feel fancy ordering= money. Before that, they got the Barbuzzo space and capitalized big time. The cash you make on pasta and pizza is outrageous. I love Barbuzzo, but if people think they didn’t find any “inspiration” in Barbuto, you are on something. And good for them.

    This Little Nonna’s? It’s Frankie’s Sputino 13th St. The outdoor patio is exactly like their 457 spot. Right down to the twinkle lights. I have no doubt it will be packed every night for a year. That’s what these girls do. They are hit makers. Good for them.