News for People Who Like Bad News: New Year’s Edition

The New Year is never kind to restaurants.

il-pittore-dining-room-940While we were on our year-end break the hospitality industry saw several closures and changes.

The biggest news is that Il Pittore will close after service on Saturday, January 9th. The restaurant has been a partnership between Stephen Starr and Starr’s former culinary director, Chris Painter. The restaurant has received critical acclaim since its 2011 opening and was recently included in Philadelphia magazine’s 50 Best Restaurants for 2016. According to Alex Tewfik of Eater, Painter is planning to leave the Starr universe and to go it alone. As for the Il Pittore space, which was formerly Noble, Eater says plans are already in motion to reconceptualize the space.

Brian Sirhal and Tim Spinner are now 0-2 in non-Mexican concepts. Pizzeria Felici in Horsham is reconceptualizing as a new Taqueria Feliz. Sirhal and Spinner closed Beast & Ale in Manayunk last June. But in Mexican concepts they’re going strong with Cantina Feliz, La Calaca Feliz and another Taqueria Feliz in Manayunk.

Circles comes full circle as Alex Boonphaya is closing the dining room at 1512 Tasker Street. Boonphaya will keep the original location at 1514 Tasker for takeout and delivery, which was the original concept of Circles Thai.

Marabella Meatball Co. has closed at 1211 Walnut Street. Owner Gabe Marabella is retiring to Florida and maybe in the nick of time as the Fergie Tower promises to just about kill foot traffic at that location for the foreseeable future.

BlueCat in Fairmount has closed its doors. Owner Luli Canuso left a message on Facebook that the restaurant had closed and has no plans to open in a new location.

Also closing over the holidays was Cisco Bar & Grille on Bethlehem Pike in Flourtown. Owners Bernie and Joanne Cisco Olszewski are retiring. I was lucky enough to get there before they closed and tried their unique and tasty riff on the cheesesteak hoagie. Cicso’s version starts with American cheese, salami, tomatoes, raw onions and is then topped with chopped steak and melted American cheese. It’s similar to a Schmitter but served on a long roll and without any special sauce. It was a real treat.

And in bad news for a restaurant that never even opened, Gus’s World Famous Fried Chicken is not coming to Washington Avenue. After getting through the zoning, the much acclaimed Southern fried chicken spot could not comes to terms on a lease at 20th and Washington. More details are available over at Naked Philly who report that there will be a Baker Street Bread Company at the location.

UPDATE: BlueCat and Gus’s World Famous Fried Chicken news added.

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