The announcement was made last night: After 7 years, award-winning chef Joe Cicala was no longer the man in the kitchen at Le Virtù and Brigantessa. This follows an announcement on Tuesday by Angela Ranalli-Cicala that she was leaving her position “with a semi-heavy heart” and months of rumors and speculation about troubles behind the scenes at both restaurants.
The good folks at Brigantessa already know how to make Tuesdays — one of the most mediocre days of the week — a little bit special with their late-night Family Meal partnerships. And now, they’re offering a super sweet deal on pizzas that night, too.
Brigantessa has some fun stuff going on in the next week: A craft spirits night with Manatawny Still Works tomorrow and their monthly industry night, featuring Amis chef Brad Spence and Dock Street Brewery, on May 30th.
It can sometimes be hard for even the most dedicated gastronauts to keep up with all the changes happening in Philly’s restaurant scene. And when it comes to Italian food — where we change so fast and so fundamentally that entire neighborhoods can turn over from one month to the next — it’s almost impossible.
What you need is a guide. A list of places to eat right now. And we’re here to help. Below is a list of the Italian restaurants that matter most in Philly right now — the best, the newest, the most interesting, and those that have recently gone through some major changes. They’re in no particular order, but every single one of them is worth your time and attention.
I don’t know if brunch has a season, really. But something about the warming temperatures and the clearing skies makes me think about lazy Sunday mornings full of waffles and liquor.
What’s more, there’s been a significant amount of movement in Philly’s brunch scene lately — the sense of an entire section of the restaurant industry gearing up for those same sunny days. We’ve got new brunches, updated brunches, bottomless brunches, all sorts of things. So for those of you out there for whom brunch is a vital part of the weekend routine, we’ve got some suggestions. A list of Where To Eat Brunch Right Now. And it begins with…
Brigantessa has two things going on right now that you should pay attention to — the first if you’re a drinker with a social conscience, the second if you’re a drinker with a thirst.
“Family Meal” is an institution at restaurants. It’s that meal, put together by the kitchen, for the entire staff, front and back of the house. In some places, it is a leisurely thing–eaten either before or after service, while sitting, with friends and comrades. In others, it’s a fast thing bolted down in the mad moments before the first tables are seated.
But once a month at Brigantessa, it’s something else completely.
With the devastating earthquake that struck central Italy earlier this week, more than 600 restaurants have begun donating €2 euro towards earthquake relief for every plate of the region’s signature dish, Bucatini all’Amatriciana sold.
Closer to home, Francis Cratil Cretarola, Cathy Lee and Joe Cicala are likewise donating money to the relief effort for dishes sold. At Le Virtu, ordering Bucatini all’Amatriciana or Spaghetti alla Gricia (from Grisciano, also badly damaged) will send $3 for Italian earthquake relief. At Brigantessa, Pizza all’Amatriciana will also trigger a donation.
The bucatini for the pasta has been donated by Marcelli Formaggi, the cured guanciale has been donated by Salumificio Cicala and 1732 Meats. The specials will run from now until through the holidays.
Additionally, on Thursday, September 22nd, Le Virtu will host a fundraiser featuring products from Marcelli Formaggi, 1732 Meats, Salumificio Cicala, and others. The restaurant will serve a four-course dinner ($125/person) featuring dishes from Amatrice, Norcia, and Castelluccio, as well as southwestern Marche, all towns and regions that were badly affected by the earthquake. Cookbook author Domenica Marchetti will also be donating books for sale, with all profits being donated to earthquake relief.