The people of East Passyunk must have a boundless appetite for pizza, because despite the proximity of Slice, Santucci’s, Marra’s, and Francoluigi’s (and I’m sure you’ll let me know if I’m forgetting somebody…), opening night at Brigantessa yesterday was bumping. Cocktails were flowing, as were wines on tap and by the carafe, and the high-tops and bar seats were loaded. But the warm dining room upstairs will ensure plenty of space for Passyunk’s pizza lovers as the restaurant hits its stride.
Brigantessa opens this evening on East Passyunk Avenue. The second restaurant from chef Joe Cicala and his partners Cathy Lee and Francis Cratil-Cretarola will focus on Southern Italian cooking and a menu built around the restaurant’s wood-fired oven. The bar and open kitchen take up much of the first floor with a dining room upstairs. Cicala will also have a rotisserie and grill at his disposal in the kitchen.
The bar will offer sixteen beers on draft, including several craft Italian beers as well as US craft options as well. Wine will also be available on draft and will focus on wines from Southern Italy.
Brigantessa will initially be open for dinner seven nights a week and lunch will be added later. It is walk-in only for now, OpenTable reservations are available as of Monday, October 20th.
Joe Cicala is getting close to opening his second restaurant, Brigantessa on East Passyunk. How close? He estimates his menu is about 80% done, which is about how much of it we can decypher in this blurred photo that Cicala posted on Instagram.
Most visible, the annotation “more salumi.” And who can’t get behind that? Cicala, who is also the chef at Le Virtu will be serving flavors of Southern Italy at Brigantessa.
We’re happy to see Joe Cicala standing next to just delivered wood-fired oven. The video that Cicala posted of the delivery guys attempting to get the behemoth into the open wall at Brigantessa didn’t exactly inspire confidence.
The wood-burning oven will be at the heart of Cicala’s new East Passyunk restaurant that will focus on Southern Italian cooking and pizzas. The oven was manufactured to order in Italy for Briganessa and is hand-made from volcanic ash. Brigantessa is aiming to open this August.
Brigantessa, Joe Cicala‘s follow up to the excellent work he’s doing down at Le Virtu, has been in the works for some time now. We know that it’s going into the East Passyunk space that formerly held Karina’s, and that the centerpiece of the two-story bar and restaurant will be an imported, wood-fired pizza oven, and that the menu will lean heavily on the cuisine of Southern Italy, with pizzas, house-made pastas, roasted meats and fish and fresh breads being the focus. But other than that, we don’t really know much in the way of specifics.
But that should change when Brigantessa takes its first steps out into the public sphere with a combined pop-up (along with the Pitruco Pizza Truck) on Sunday, June 1st. Cicala just tweeted about it an hour ago, and we’re already excited to see what he has in store.
Joe Cicala [Twitter]
Karina’s, which is making way for Brigantessa, the new concept from the Le Virtu crew, on East Passyunk isn’t moving far. The longtime South Philly Italian BYOB will be opening next to door to Fond at 1535 South 11th Street.
Karina’s is open for the time being and is looking to a March opening at the new location.
Passyunk Avenue Revitalization Corporation [Facebook]
Posted LIVE from Foobooz on Location at McGillin’s.
The Le Virtu crew of Francis Cratil Cretarola, Catherine Lee and Joe Cicala are opening their second restaurant on East Passyunk. Brigantessa will be a moderately-priced Italian dining spots focusing on pizza and the cuisine of southern Italy. The restaurant will replace Karina’s at 1520 E Passyunk.
At a presentation last night to neighbors at Le Virtu, the team revealed their plans for the restaurant that will combine a wood-fired pizzeria with an enoteca and birreria.