Ralph’s is celebrating its 115th anniversary tonight with a collaboration dinner with Marc Vetri and his team. The dinner is a complete sellout but it’s still fun to see what happens when one of the best chefs in the country cooks at the oldest Italian restaurant in the country.
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The Triangle Tavern has reopened in South Philadelphia and not much has changed. Yes, it is now owned by David Frank and Stephen Simons, who own the Khyber Pass Pub, Royal Tavern, Los Caballitos and Dos Segundos, but other than that, the space feels similar to what was there for the better part of the 20th century. It’s the same bar. Suzanne O’Brien, who consulted on the project (as well as redos at Trestle Inn, Jerry’s Bar), told me that the gum still remains on the underside. I took her word on that.
The reboot is rooted in the Triangle Tavern’s historic position as a neighborhood eatery. Refreshingly, affordability seems to be a key tenet in the redo. Entrees are all under $20, the house wine is $7 and there are even $6 cocktails on the list. The idea is that the 85+ seat bar and restaurant can be a frequent dinner destination for people living on and near Passyunk Avenue.
At Ralph’s Italian Restaurant, where a century’s worth of footsteps have buffed the dining room’s floor mosaic as smooth as the inside of an oyster shell, the idea of a regular customer takes on a genealogical hue. Five generations of the same family have owned and operated the place, which was founded by Francesco Dispigno in 1900 and has occupied its current location for 100 years. But one of their biggest points of pride is a clientele whose claim on the tables is almost as ancestral.
“We have three and four generations of families as customers,” marvels Jim Rubino, the 53-year-old great-grandson of Francesco, and grandson of Rafael Dispigno, whose Anglicized name the restaurant bears. “It’s a remarkable thing.”
On Saturday May 9th, il Pittore and Malvira Wines will join forces to host an Almost Midnight Madness dinner at the restaurant. The dinner will include four courses prepared by chef Chris Painter paired with wines produced by Winemaker and Owner, Roberto Damonte, who will be on hand.
What makes this wine dinner a little different is that reservations begin at 11 pm and il Pittore will seating until midnight. Space is limited and guests should call to reserve their seats: 215.391.4900.
The cost of the dinner is $110 per person (not including tax/gratuity).
Peter McAndrews’ (Paesano’s, Modo Mio, Monsu) first cooking job in Philadelphia was at Bridgid’s more than 20-years ago. And now he’s back in charge of the Fairmount mainstay. He’s installed Patrick Collins as the chef. Collins has worked on 13th Street for Valerie Safran and Marcie Turney as well as for George Sabatino. This isn’t the first time McAndrews has turned back towards Bridgid’s. The chef consulted there in 2012. But this time he’s taken over the whole operation.
The menu is Italian, offering a menu of Chichette, small plates for just $5 each, 3 for $13. The new Bridgid’s will also offer a selection of ten-or-so house-made pastas for $10 to $12 a plate. Entrees will have a seafood focus and top out at $18 per plate. As is McAndrews m.o., expect bold flavors and wine friendly dishes. Speaking of wine, McAndrews is offering 8 white wines and 11 reds by the glass. McAndrews says he wants Bridgid’s to be a “true Italian restaurant, intriguing and affordable,” a place to have a good time with a good glass of wine or two.
With all due consideration for sore thumbs and Kim Kardashian’s badonka-donk, nothing sticks out from its surroundings quite like Palladino’s on Passyunk.
The Italian chophouse rears up over the Avenue’s Broad Street gateway like a wedge of layer cake iced by an architectural prankster. Its banded black and white facade serves up an allusion to the medieval tower of Siena’s Duomo atop the Streamline Moderne curve of a sidewalk-sheltering hip roof, and the whole thing is capped off with a sky-scraping signboard that broadcasts the restaurateur’s name in lipstick red.
And you can hear Luke Palladino’s Philadelphia debut from nearly as far away as you can see it. Saxophone-rock solos and Super-tramp reverberate on the covered curb with a brashness compounded inside by crowds that can be as boisterous on a Wednesday evening as on a Saturday night. You can take a chef out of Atlantic City, but apparently you can’t take Atlantic City out of this chef. Read more »
Roberto Cafe at 2108 South Street has closed and is under renovation. The BYOB will reopen under new management and with the name Ti Penso which, according to Google Translate, means “I think of you” in Italian.
When we get more details, we’ll be sure to let everyone know.
Ti Penso [Foobooz]
Last month we told you about Drexel University’s Center for Hospitality and Sport Management’s spring series of dining events. Surprisingly, tickets actually remain for some of these events, including the Arcobaleno Pasta Dinner, featuring six courses for just $75.
But now we have the full menu from chefs Stephanie Raetano (Cappofitto), Brad Daniels (Osteria), Joe Cicala (Le Virtu, Brigantessa), Michael Rouleau (Sbraga), Tod Wentz (Townsend) and Damon Menapace (Kensington Quarters).
Check it out and forget about that low-carb diet for a night.
Tonight, Little Nonna’s on Locust Street is hosting Lobster Spaghetti night. For $25, you can get a one-pound lobster with spaghetti in a San Marzano tomato sauce. Now there’s a way to take the Monday out of Monday.
Little Nonna’s [Foobooz]
As the trees turn green once again, so do our dinner plates as restaurants transition their menus to lighter and brighter fare.
Mercato, the longstanding Italian BYOB on the 1200 block of Spruce Street, just introduced its spring menu, with new appetizer, pasta and meat dishes.
The new market salad includes ricotta salata, shaved asparagus, fava beans, strawberries, bibb lettuce and balsamic. Their pasta dish is a spinach cavatelli with veal ragu, pecorino romano, cream and fava beans. They also have a grilled spring onion risotto with (you guessed it) fava beans, mint, fennel, meyer lemon and pecorino romano.
Mercato also recently left OpenTable for Yelp’s reservation system. You can make reservations on their website here or give them a call at 215-985-2962.