Suburban restaurants are often doomed by the difficulties they have to overcome: lack of foot traffic, low customer counts, competition with the big-box chains that spring up on every major corner. But the one thing they have going for them? Their neighbors. Because when a great restaurant comes to a place previously served only by the mediocre and the lame, it can become the center of a community the way no urban restaurant ever can. Forno Antico is one of those places — a sprawling BYO that opened in a terrible location behind a jewelry store a few months back, but that’s been working hard to win over every single customer who comes through the doors. The pizzas come out of a traditional Neapolitan oven brought over from Italy (the name means “antique oven”), the alfredo tastes nothing like what you’ll get at the Olive Garden (meaning it’s wonderful and rich and buttery and creamy in the way that only a scratch-made sauce is), and the meatballs are huge, perfectly textured and delicious, even when, like me, you just ask for two orders to go so you can eat one in the parking lot before driving home.
Forno Antico [Foobooz]
Originally published in the September 2014 issue of Philadelphia magazine
Last week Jon Taffer broke Lickety Split into two concepts for his “Bar Rescue” show. Downstairs is now Alleged Pizza and upstairs is 2nd State Lounge. Last night Taffer and company revealed the remade Plush on Keswick Avenue in Glenside. That spot is now an Italian themed bar and cafe, Osteria Calabria.
A post on Plush’s Facebook page sums up the changes:
As the big reveal of our new bar approaches, I want to take the time to thank Jon Taffer and the entire Bar Rescue crew for this incredible opportunity. Aside from providing us with a new concept and look, they have touched us in the most profound way.I cannot begin to express my gratitude. I would also like to thank all of our loyal customers for nearly 12 years of support. Plush was a dream come true for us and could not have been possible without you. We look forward to another 12 years and truly hope the we can surpass all of your expectations. We launch our new bar Sunday night. Do stop by to see the amazing transformation of the bar. Menu provided by chef Nick Liberato. A true culinary professional. Drinks provided by Mia Mastroianni, mixologist extraordinare. Onward and upward. Hope to see a lot of faces, new and old….From the bottom of my heart, Thank you.
The new season of Bar Rescue begins October 5th. Look for the Philadelphia locations to be featured in late November.
More on “Bar Rescue” in Philadelphia.
Osteria Calabria [Foobooz]
You owe it to yourself to check out Bomb Bomb Italian Restaurant at 1026 Wolf Street at least twice. Once for the barbecue and another for the Italian food and one-of-a-kind atmosphere. And right now, the restaurant is celebrating Calamari Fest.
The restaurant is serving up fried, hand-stuffed, and sautéed calamari for a limited time.
Some of the specials include »
Jose and Jennifer Vargas of Leila’s Bistro in Jenkintown created a sophisticated yet comfortable sequel when they opened Forcella, serving authentic Italian cuisine, in downtown Jenkintown earlier this year. Recently, the BYOB has made some changes with chef Anthony Pasceri taking over the kitchen and adding a new seasonal menu.
Pasceri, formerly of Modo Mio and Popolino, has been on the Philadelphia restaurant scene for over 10 years. At his new home in Jenkintown, he will be serving house-made classic Italian pastas, breads, desserts and more.
Read more »
Palladino’s on East Passyunk | Rendering by Friday Architects/Planners
Last night Luke Palladino met his East Passyunk neighbors, showed off some renderings and got to cook some food as well.
Palladino’s, is chef Palladino’s first Philadelphia restaurant, he has five along the Jersey Shore. The restaurant will replace the long vacant Collombo’s at 1934 E Passyunk Avenue. The informational meeting was held at Noord and Passyunk Avenue Revitalization Corporation head Sam Sherman led the program and introduced Palladino, Tony Bracali from Friday Architects and Planners and interior designer Scott Eccard.
Renderings and notes »
On Wednesday, August 13th, Amis is hosting a Victory Brewing beer dinner. The four-course beer-centric feast is $65 and includes beer pairings with each course. Chef Brad Spence and his executive sous chef, Ned Maddock have created a menu focusing on the beer, barley and hops of Victory as an essential part of each dish.
The dinner was inspired by the pair’s time at Victory Brewing Co., when they were preparing a 200 pound mortadella for the Great Chefs Event.
The menu »
Chef Scott Calhoun has been announced as the chef for the upcoming Marc Vetri restaurant, Lo Spiedo. Lo Spiedo, which is Italian for “the spit” is aiming to open this September at the entrance of the Navy Yard in South Philadelphia.
On Tuesday, September 16th, Calhoun is hosting a preview dinner of what will be served at Lo Spiedo at Osteria. The four-course dinner is available for $175 per person and tickets are extremely limited.
If you can’t get into the Lo Spiedo preview, Vetri is offering a series of other classes in September at Osteria as well as in the new upstairs space at Vetri.
For reservation information email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lo Spiedo [Foobooz]
Starting this week until the end of the summer, Il Pittore will introduce a new menu dedicated to the hot season and all of its offerings. Chef Chris Painter, who was just awarded Best Chef by Philly Mag’s Reader Poll, is taking advantage of the summertime produce in his Pennsylvania and New Jersey Farmers’ Menu. Using products from Green Meadow Farms in Lancaster and other local PA and NJ farmers, Painter will create a 4-course tasting menu.
Guests will start with a Chilled Cucumber Soup, followed by Pennsylvania Pride Beef Ravioli (see picture), Striped Bass, and, to finish it all off, Peach Upside-Down Cake.
Guests are encouraged to make early reservations because each night, there are only 20 available dinners. The menu is priced at $45.
Il Pittore [Foobooz]
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.
Watch the video »
Throw on your favorite team’s jersey from the World Cup and head over to Bufad for the buy one Neapolitan pie and get the second for free deal. All you have to do is place your order, show up representing your team and you’ll walk out with two pies for the price of one. This special offer will be available Sunday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. until the final game on July 13th. So that means if you want to eat pizza in the comfort of your own home while watching the USA versus Germany on Thursday, this is an option.