- Neighborhood: East Passyunk
- 1927 East Passyunk Avenue, Philadelphia, PA
- Phone: 215-271-5626
- Website | Facebook | Twitter
- Cuisine: Italian
- Price: $$
- Accepts Credit Cards: Yes
Philadelphia ain’t exactly Miami Beach, but when the sun comes out, we’ve got no shortage of places to eat (and drink) outdoors. As a matter of fact, with the city’s recent beer garden obsession (like a million of them have opened in the past couple years) and projects like Morgan’s Pier (which opens for the season this week), there are now places where the ability to have a snack and a cold beer outside are the primary reason for them existing.
So with so many options available to you, how can you possibly choose? Don’t worry. We’ve assembled a list of new places and old favorites which have never let us down once the sun starts shining.
So here’s something you don’t get to eat every day: Stewed gourds.
Or rosewater ravioli. Or dessert made of mozzarella cheese.
But that’s exactly what you’re going to get if you show up to Le Virtu on February 23 for their (somewhat clumsily, but accurately, named) Pre-Columbian Medieval And Renaissance Dinner.
See, owner Francis Cratil is a man who loves history. The kind of guy who, with a little bit of time to kill, goes flipping through ancient cookbooks like Apicius (from the 4th or 5th century, full of marvelous and ridiculous rich-people foods from an Italy before the coming of the tomato) or Bartolomeo Scappi’s Opera dell’Arte del Cucinare (from the 16th century) looking for interesting historical tidbits like how Jewish communities in Italy were fattening goose livers for a kind of foie gras, or the first actual picture of a fork–which is found in Scappi’s book.
But he’s also a guy who owns a couple of excellent Italian restaurants, and a curious sort besides. So here’s how his thought process went…
Look, there’s a long story to this and there’s a short one. A complicated one and a simple one.
The short, simple version is this: On March 15, Le Virtù is hosting a dinner to benefit PAUWR (Popular Alliance for Undocumented Workers’ Rights), a group working toward gaining legal status for this group. Chef Joe Cicala and his sous chef, Poli Sanchez, will be working together to create a four-course “Sanctuary Supper” with a menu where each course includes both a Mexican and an Italian component. The dinner, including a wine pairing, starts at 6:30pm and will cost you $120 per person (not counting tax or tip), and all profits will go to PAUWR as part of a national fund-raising campaign to help them continue to fight in what is becoming an increasingly adversarial political environment.
You wanna help? Go eat dinner. That’s the simple version. But like so many things these days, the motivations behind it are complicated. Why Le Virtù is doing this dinner, how they got connected with PAUWR and why owner Francis Cratil Cretarola thinks that this kind of event at this time in history is so important? That’s the long story.