14 Surprising Restaurants to BYOB in Philly


Garces Trading Company may now have a bar but you can still BYOB.

Philadelphia is rightfully known for its BYOB scene, but it also seems an increasing number of restaurants with liquor licenses are offering corkage-free days as well. Why? Well as Petruce et al’s Tim Kweeder tells us, sometimes diners want to open a special bottle on an anniversary that they brought back from their honeymoon, or they might have something that’s just not available in Pennsylvania restaurants. Kweeder also shares that sometimes he hits it off with some diners, and they want to show off a bottle from their collection with him.

So if you have a special bottle you want to uncork, or if you just want to save a few bucks (and who doesn’t), here’s a whole slew of restaurants that offer at least one night of corkage free BYOB.

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Brigantessa’s New Tasting Menu Offers A Tour of Sicily

BrigantessaThis week, Brigantessa premiered their new series of Southern Italian Tasting Menus, “Cucina Tipica,” created by chef and co-owner Joe Cicala.

Each month, he plans to focus on traditional flavors from a different region of Italy including, Sicilia, Sardinia, Campania, Puglia, Basilicata and Calabria.

Cicala’s first tasting menu will offer a four-course culinary tour of Sicilia for $45 a person with an optional $20 beverage pairing including selections from the restaurants cellar full of regional Italian wine, beer, grappa and amari.

We’ve got some details on the menu below.

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Brigantessa Introduces New Chef de Cuisine

Julia Robinson, chef de cuisine at Brigantessa

Julia Robinson, chef de cuisine at Brigantessa

Chef/Owner Joe Cicala and Brigantessa are officially welcoming Julia Robinson as chef de cuisine to the East Passyunk restaurant with a  wine dinner. Robinson started at Brigantessa in June after two years as chef de cuisine at the White Dog Cafe in University City and a six-year run at Vivere, a third-generation family-owned Italian restaurant in Chicago.

The Delaware native is showing off her work with a chef’s tasting menu with unusual Italian wine pairings on Wednesday, September 16th. The four-course, three wine and one digestivo dinner is $75 per person.

Summer additions and wine dinner menu »

Instagram Roundup Of The Week: Prepare For Insta-hunger (Snacks Recommended)

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You know what’s hard? Picking the best ten of about a zillion awesome food instagrams from this past week. You know what’s even harder? Trying to do that without snacks (I couldn’t make it– thankfully the office has cake today).

Moral of the story? Have something delicious by your side before you look at these. You’ll thank me later.

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And A Few More Italian Themed Fourth of July Meals In Case You Still Need Plans


Dinner at Amis this Saturday.

There’s a lot of food stuff for this holiday. Free lobster tacos? Check. Shake Shack cornucopia of goodness? On the list. Lobster bake? You betcha. Free water ice? No kidding.

So, if somehow none of that has yet made it onto your festivity plan, here are two more ideas to eat deliciousness in celebration of independence, summer, and good food.

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6ABC’s Alicia Vitarelli to Spotlight 3 Philly Restaurants on The Chew


Alicia Vitarelli with Le Virtu with a cameraman and Brigantessa chef Joe Cicala (far right)

Set your DVR: At 1 pm this afternoon, 6ABC Action News anchor Alicia Vitarelli will appear on The Chew, where she’ll take the show’s crew to three local restaurants with family-influenced recipes on the menu. The segment will find her visiting South Street West dessert queen Holly Ricciardi of Magpie, a Jose Garces spot and Joe Cicala of East Passyunk’s Le Virtu and Brigantessa.

Foobooz has more on the actual food they’ll be preparing here.


Vitarelli with Magpie owner Holly Ricciardi (center).


Brigantessa Is Rolling Out New Pizza Shapes

brigantessa-secret-pizzaBecause round is boring? Joe Cicala is rolling out an “underground” selection of his Neapolitan pizzas that will come in playful shapes at his Brigantessa. These pizza shapes are kind of the Lucky Charms marshmallows of the pizza world. Check out Brigantessa’s video where chef Cicala creates the Stella (star shaped) pizza with points stuffed with sheep’s milk ricotta and the Racchetta rolled on one end and stuffed with ricotta. Both of these odd shaped pizzas appear on the menu. Other shapes are only available by customers who are in the know.

More on the secret shapes »

Spring Events At Brigantessa and Le Virtu

Photo by Emily Teel

Photo by Emily Teel

It’s proving to be a busy month at Le Virtu and Brigantessa, especially for chef Joe Cicala. For the start of the spring season, the two restaurants are hosting a variety of events lasting until April 30th. We already mentioned the Scott Schroeder spuntini takeover happening on April 2, but here’s a round-up of what else is happening at the sister restaurants.

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